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British Transplant Games 2018: an inspiring success

Do you carry an organ donor card?

If you needed an organ transplant to save your life, would you accept one?

With over 6000 people in the UK currently on the waiting list, raising awareness of organ donation is essential. And what better way to do so than with a celebration of life and fitness, led by the very people who prove why it matters?

Kidney mascott waving

The Westfield Health British Transplant Games is an annual event where every athlete is a transplant recipient. Teams of adults and children come together to work on fitness, take part in a huge range of sports, and share a vital message about organ and blood donation. With Birmingham performing more transplant operations than any other city in Europe, there was no better setting for the 2018 Games, held at the University of Birmingham from 2nd-5th August.

First-class fitness

Many people playing table tennis

With a brand new state-of-the-art sports centre, outdoor pitches and the city’s only 50m pool, it’s no surprise that three-quarters of sporting events were held on the University of Birmingham campus.

Sport & Fitness became a bustling hub of activity for the weekend, hosting everything from basketball to table tennis. Children’s teams joined in a range of fun activities, from traditional 5-a-side football to ball throwing and an obstacle course.

A Games Village

Crowd of people exploring the games village

For the first time, the 2018 Transplant Games had its own Games Village, to help create a real sense of community.

The Vale Village is home to students for the rest of the year, who are lucky enough to enjoy a lakeside setting among trees and rolling green spaces. It transformed into a wonderful friendly space for all the participants and their families and supporters, with bunting and street food. Accommodation at the Games Village meant teams could choose to stay together, and have easy access to sporting events like darts in the marquee and the Donor Run around campus.

Festival fun

People sitting on the grass outside the marquee

From the opening night’s party to the fading embers of the Saturday BBQ, entertainment and great food were laid on for all to enjoy.

The Vale Village’s cafes, bars and restaurants served up meals and drinks all day, with extras laid on like a curry hut and second bar. On Saturday, a miniature festival was revealed with children’s entertainment and movies on the outdoor big screen, haybale seating and sweet treats like candyfloss and waffles. Down at Sport & Fitness, Costa Coffee was joined by street food stalls serving up falafels, sausage baguettes and fresh kebabs.

Easy travel

With teams travelling from all over the country, Birmingham’s excellent transport links were a real boon.

Parking restrictions were lifted across campus to allow thousands of visitors to be accommodated. Those who chose to travel by public transport benefitted from a sponsorship deal with West Midlands Rail, offering a free high-frequency service from Birmingham New Street direct to University.

As for getting around campus, routes were clearly signed to ensure everyone could make it to their events in good time. A temporary bus stop appeared outside the Barber Institute of Fine Arts to take teams to events off site, while a shuttle service ran continuously between Sport & Fitness, central campus near University station, and the Games Village to support those less able to walk.

Hi-tech solutions

British Transplant Games website screenshot

With over 2000 participants and many more visitors arriving to enjoy the celebration, it was essential for the Games to have an accessible solution to information sharing.

Step in the Conferences & events tech team, who created a bespoke website to host essential information like check-in details, menus, walking maps and bus timetables.

To make sure breakfast for 1200 residents went smoothly, a ticketing system was used which worked flawlessly, ensuring minimal queuing and happy athletes. Optional pre-booking evening meals also allowed teams to ensure they could eat as a group, and allowed for a cashless system to operate in a set pre-pay area.

A personal story

Nicky waving

The British Transplant Games were particularly important to one member of the Hospitality and Accommodation Services team.

Nicky Cartwright, Deputy Hospitality Manager, is herself a heart transplant recipient. She received her transplant over ten years ago at the Queen Elizabeth, and she smashed her expected time in the 5km Donor Run around campus.

People running past Aston Webb

The weekend was a great success, and was declared ‘the best Transplant Games ever’ at the post-event gala dinner. The whole Conferences & events team are proud to have worked with partners across the University and city to make it a success.

Register as an organ donor today.

Outdoor events

The Conferences & events team specialise in outdoor events, from festivals and live performances to athletics events and teambuilding.

  • Extensive wide open space in the Green Heart and the Vale Village
  • Multiple areas for stages, marquees and structures
  • Electrical supply outdoors
  • Wi-Fi in outdoor areas
  • Outdoor catering stalls, BBQs and street food
  • Audiovisual packages delivered by in-house experts
  • Accommodation for groups and individuals
  • Support with security and stewarding
  • Support with licences and permissions

How can we help?

The University of Birmingham could be ideal for your next outdoor event. Talk to the team today about your plans.

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