BCU to house England’s first indoor beach volleyball centre open for year-round training


The first-ever year-round beach volleyball centre in England will be built in Birmingham thanks to a landmark agreement between Volleyball England and Birmingham City University (BCU).

The indoor facility, constructed at BCU’s sports headquarters in Perry Barr, will help develop the sporting stars of the future, benefiting elite athletes, students and the local community.

The £250,000 4-court facility, due to be constructed by the end of 2024, will be open year-round to allow UK athletes to continuing their training into the winter months.

As part of the construction, the facility will reuse sand from the beach volleyball courts set up for 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham– further strengthening the event’s sporting legacy in the city.

"It has always been an integral part of our Commonwealth Games legacy plans to establish multiple facilities in and around Birmingham that provide an outlet for local, regional, national and international activities and events,”

said Volleyball England chief executive Charlie Ford.

“This new facility at BCU will be a huge help in strengthening the infrastructure and awareness of beach volleyball in England, particularly in the West Midlands.

“There is also a firm commitment from BCU and Volleyball England to develop a high-performance programme that provides educational and athletic development opportunities for aspiring beach volleyball athletes.”

Mark Jeffreys, Director of Sport and Physical Activity at BCU, says the centre will benefit the local community as well as elite players.

“You wouldn’t expect to find a world-class beach volleyball facility in the heart of the Midlands, so this is a very welcome addition,”

he said.

“This investment means we will be able to help identify talented individuals from the local area who may not have otherwise experienced the challenging and engaging sport of beach volleyball”.

Former beach volleyball professional Jake Sheaf, now a 2022 Commonwealth Games legacy consultant, said the centre will have a massive impact.

“I was lucky enough to compete for England for over a decade on the World Tour, European Tour and at the Commonwealth Games,”

he said.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced as full-time beach volleyball athletes based in England was all-year-round access to a suitable facility that allowed us to train at the frequency and intensity we needed to continue climbing the world rankings. This new facility will make a huge difference to our ability to compete at the top level.”

Beach volleyball has a special place in the history of the 2022 Games in Birmingham.

The sport provided England with its first medal of the international showpiece, with Joaquin and Javier Bellow securing a historic bronze in the men’s event.

The result was the precursor for a huge summer of success for the host nation, which ended up collecting a record-breaking 176 medals during the 12 days of competition.

BCU Vice-Chancellor David Mba said:

“The legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games continues to extend into 2024 with the construction of this new facility on BCU’s Moor Lane site.

“The indoor centre will provide lasting wellbeing benefits for both our students and the local community as a space to promote physical activity across the year. I am looking forward to seeing the courts in use later this year.”