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After starting the summer with three LV= Insurance County Championship matches being played behind closed doors, Warwickshire lifting the trophy at Edgbaston in September seemed a fitting reward for the role that the Birmingham venue played in getting crowds back in to sporting events.

Warwickshire Members returned to Edgbaston at the end of May to witness the Championship victory over Nottinghamshire. However, just over two weeks later, it hosted the first stage two pilot of the Government’s Events Research Programme to support the safe return of crowds to major UK events.

With advanced technology implemented by Edgbaston to secure Government approval, social distancing was removed for the first time since COVID struck on June 12, as Edgbaston’s LV= Insurance Test match between England and New Zealand accommodated 60,000 supporters (70% capacity) over four days.

Around 95 per cent of attendees entered through a digital ticket, which could be accessed via the new Edgbaston smart phone app. The app received 314,344 views across the four days of play for tickets, retail purchases, spectator information and food and beverage orders. Its food and drink click and collect orders, and delivery to seat option for disabled spectators, became used widely throughout the season.

“We like to be innovative at Edgbaston and we invested heavily in the technology that supported the safe return of crowds,” said Chief Executive Stuart Cain. “Our app was ground-breaking, and it delivered an excellent experience for spectators. This technology will become part of all future sporting events.

“The spectators also played their part in completing a medical consent form, by taking lateral flow tests, and in creating an atmosphere that we had not heard since our 2019 major match days.”

Edgbaston’s 2021 wasn’t just about its events though. Much of the great work that was undertaken within the community continued.

Having operated its car park as a COVID test centre in 2020, the Edgbaston exhibition hall was transformed into an NHS public vaccination centre for more than 180 days.

The Edgbaston Foundation also engaged with more than 150 charities throughout the year and brought back the Toys4Birmingham campaign with Thrive Together Birmingham and Birmingham Playcare Network.

More than 15,000 toys were collected at Edgbaston over three days, which were subsequently packaged and delivered to charities and community groups that support the city’s most vulnerable children. Around 12,500 children in poverty will receive Christmas gifts as a result of the campaign.

The Edgbaston Foundation also supported more than 140 people through education and employability programmes, including a jobs fair, the newly launched Edgbaston Cricket Education Programme, in partnership with Sandwell College, and the Government’s Kickstart programme.

In July the Edgbaston Colts Ground was opened to stage one of the first mass religious gatherings since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 500 worshippers attending prayers to mark Eid ul Adha.

“As one of the UK’s leading multi-use venues, we must also be a hub for our local community which regularly goes beyond our unrivalled hosting of cricket matches, conferences and events,” added Cain.

“We want to make a big difference within the local community, whether that be hosting more cultural events like the Eid ul Adha prayers or by using our space creatively for collections and distribution that can support the city’s most vulnerable people.”

Day Four tickets available for England v India Test

England will host India twice in Birmingham next summer with a five-day LV= Insurance Test Match starting on Friday 1 July, before competing in a Vitality IT20 on Saturday 9 July.

Only tickets for Day Four of the Test Match are still available. Buy online today at tickets.edgbaston.com.

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