Dating back to 1930, the Commonwealth Games has been an international multi-sport event involving athletes all across the Commonwealth. Events such as aquatics, athletics, netball and table tennis have occurred with thousands of spectators supporting competitors and providing an energy that can only be found amongst competitive sports. But before the Games commence, the Queen’s Baton Relay will occur which involves the specially designed baton travelling to all 72 nations of the Commonwealth, culminating in a 294-day journey and 90,000 miles.
The 2022 Games will be hosted in Birmingham, with the Opening and Closing ceremonies taking place at Alexander Stadium. The stadium will also host the highly anticipated sprinting finals, as well as other athletic and para-athletic events. If you are a fan of gymnastics - be it artistic or rhythmic - Arena Birmingham is the place for you. Lovers of the outdoors and natural world can take a trip to Cannock Chase Forest, Sutton Park, Warwick, or West Park to catch sight of the cycling events and triathlon.
Specifically chosen individuals have the privilege of carrying the baton across the nations. Among the 8,000 nominations submitted, writing coach, entrepreneur, and multi-award-winning writer CJ Lloyd Webley has been chosen to represent the West Midlands in the Queen’s Baton Relay. To be considered for the honourable role of Batonbearer, the nominees had to have an inspiring and unique story and be willing to take on a challenge. A meaningful contribution to the arts, education, culture, charity, or sports had to have been made, along with challenging others to do their best in all things. By making a positive impact in the community, CJ Lloyd Webley was the perfect candidate to be a Baton bearer.
Born and raised in an Erdington council estate, CJ has always taken a liking to the arts. Throughout the years and having support from family and friends, as well as gaining two degrees, CJ has written various productions such as Shadows, Brake Lights, The Fishmonger, and White Spirit. As leader at the Lightpost Theatre, he supports over 30 young black men with their mental health, and with this in mind, CJ’s play ‘Constructed at the Rep’ raised £7k during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting the need for more mental health services at the forefront. CJ has continuously supported the creation of safe spaces for black men to speak on mental health, consequently building a place of inclusion and comfortability. He has also invited the NEC Youth Director Pastor Micah Campbell to speak at events supporting young black men’s mental health.
Advocating for disadvantaged children and youth, CJ facilitates creative writing workshops and fundraises to buy school equipment for them so that they can be prepared and ready for education. As a reflection of his hard work and dedication to the youth of today, CJ received £30k for his project which aims to break down inequalities and celebrate black British history.
As a founder and mentor of the Black Pounds Project, which was created in 2020, CJ has established a business support platform that connects successful professionals and experts in the field with upcoming and experienced entrepreneurs from black and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Through a programme that provides marketing strategies as well as mentorship opportunities and financial education, CJ has created and developed a platform that is ever-growing and educating over 1.5k Midlands-based businesses on being successful within the sector. To serve the community even more, the Black Pounds Project will be supporting a fundraising Jubilee Party taking place at Aston-Community SDA Church on the 5th June 2022.
CJ has been a member of Aston-Community SDA Church since birth and has played an active role throughout the years. His artistic skills have led him to play music and lead a youth arts club within the church before COVID-19. Since being married, he attends various churches where his gifts can be utilised further.
Taking pride in his roles in and out of church, CJ hopes to shine an even greater light on what more Birmingham based creatives have to offer. From a young boy who loved 100m sprints, and used to run on the very track that will now carry the marks of great athletes, CJ will be a representation and inspiration for many black men across the region as he continues to dedicate his work to building the community around him. He is an example for many youths, showing that it does not matter where you come from; there is always an opportunity to support those around you and make a change for the better.