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Birmingham has been in a constant state of buzz and excitement since they were picked to host the   Commonwealth Games this year. Taking place all over the Black Country, some parts of the Midlands and Birmingham itself there are various sports with many sportspeople in attendance from the Commonwealth countries vying to win medals. 

For those who live locally, the Commonwealth Games 2022 organisers has been oordinating  community street games and there were a pre-opening ceremony warm up  event that took place which was hosted by the Autindt Dance Theatre in Victoria Square. What was different about this event was that they asked a Deaf Black Country resident Sean Noone to be part of their hosting team to create more of an inclusive event for all which was a first of its kind. 


Sean is well known for his sporting achievements as a wrestler, a keen football fan who now is a qualified Level 7 FA referee and is part of the England Deaf Football organising team that recently had their league finals shown on BT Sports which was the first EVER Deaf football match to be screened LIVE!

The Pre-opening games was divided in different segments throughout the afternoon and was taken from different Commonwealth countries such as Bula! (Hello!) from Fiji, which was a numbers game linked to movements, Elonti Belonti (Musical Statues) from Bangladesh, Riverbank from Sri Lanka (similar to the traffic lights game) and the UK game was the pillow game which was trying to knock off a piece of fabric off the other person’s hand without having any contact. All this was accompanied with the DJ Eif Sound and Music providing the music in-between the games. 

Sean did an excellent job being a host, along with Emma and Rachel who interpreted with him and for the 2 other hosts Hank and Gemma, Sean was able to move around freely and interacted with the crowd encouraging them to get involved with the games. The crowd reacted very positively to him and there were some young deaf children right at the front watching him. People naturally gravitated toward Sean and followed his direction as he was naturally more visually clear to follow. 

We really enjoyed the afternoon because there was someone we could engage with at a public event which made a huge difference. 

One of the highlights was this huge puppet called Eko the Sea Giant which was made from foam that was managed by a crew of people moving him along the crowd that had gathered in the square. 


There was some excitement that there would be a VERY special guest due to appear at Victoria Square- it was His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. Our Community Development Officer Deirdre along with Deaffest Co-Founder Nikki Stratton and Deaffest PR Liaison Officer Lou Parrott were lucky enough to meet him and were featured on ITV News later that day! 

Deirdre also was featured on His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales’ official Instagram stories (@ClarenceHouse) 

Barry Hughes, one of our Black Country residents took this great photo



The pre-opening games was ended by the official Opening Ceremony shown on the big screen where many people stood for hours watching mini coopers, a raging bull, dancers and so much more come to life telling the story of Birmingham. 




It was a very exciting day and evening! 

The Commonwealth Games run from 28th July to 10th August 2022- for more details have a look at their website, Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022



With the support of funders such as the National Lottery's Community Fund, BFI, Foundations, Trusts and so on, Zebra Access CIO provides a range of free services and support to Deaf, Deafblind, Hard of Hearing and Deafened people and communities. Zebra Access staff, volunteers have the right to work in a safe and abuse free environment alongside with service users. The organisation will not tolerate any kind of abuse against its staff, volunteers, service users or property.

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