Multiculturalism, sport and new transport links: Why the Midlands has plenty to shout about

The Bull Ring, Birmingham
The Bull Ring, Birmingham

Meet Balvinder Sidhu, our Midlands Reporter

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I was born and raised in the Midlands and have always felt a deep connection to the region. Growing up I felt I had the best of both worlds because as a family we celebrated Christmas and Sikh festivities including Vaisakhi and Diwali.

The street where I grew up in Smethwick in Sandwell was predominantly Bengali Muslim and every Eid it would be full of people in their finest Asian clothes celebrating the end of Ramadan.

Birmingham Library
Birmingham Library

The diversity in this region is what makes it special because there are so many different communities and cultures living side by side.

I have worked as a TV reporter and presenter in the Midlands for nine years most notably during ITV’s Good Morning Britain. I have worked hard to tackle stories that matter and that are often controversial but make a real difference to the lives of our viewers.

They include the row over teaching primary aged school children about same sex relationships and the grooming and sexual exploitation of Asian girls by gangs of men. There are many issues and events happening in the Midlands that do not get national coverage and I am hoping GB News will change that.

I am committed to giving people who feel under-represented from across the region a voice.

Going forward the world’s eyes will be on Birmingham next summer as it will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.
The Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.

It’s an incredibly exciting time for the region which needs to recover from the effects of a Global Pandemic.

The Birmingham Commonwealth Games which will start on July 28 to August 8 is expected to reach a global audience of 1.5 billion people.

It's hoped the event will play a key part in the recovery plan for the West Midlands over the next two years by bringing communities together after the coronavirus pandemic.

Work is ongoing to improve transport links both within and the outskirts of the city to allow visitors easy access to key venues during the games.

The Alexander Stadium which will host the opening and closing ceremony is being prepared ahead of the games and a state-of-the-art Olympic aquatics centre is being developed in my hometown of Smethwick.

As well as the Games the city is planning to host a six month long cultural festival ahead of the Games from March to September 2022.

Many are optimistic that local people and businesses will look back at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with pride and see the positive changes it brought to the region.