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Conference on #sport4socialchange during the European Week of Sport

sport, sport and develpment, development, health, social, grassroots sport
Copyrights: Evangelos Alexandrakis / European Lotteries

Conference on #sport4socialchange during the European Week of Sport

On 27 September 2017, in the midst of the European Week of Sport, ENGSO and the European Lotteries co-organised a conference in Brussels entitled “Grassroots sport as a tool for social change: from practice to policy”. The event was supported by the European Commission.

The event was held in the South Denmark European Office, and was attended by more than 50 people, including representatives from various high-level policymaking and sport organisations; such as the European Commission, the Council of Europe, UEFA, several national Olympic committees and sport confederations. The aim of the event was to give a platform for practitioners, policymakers and all who are interested in the topic to get together and exchange their views.

After the opening address from ENGSO’s president, Carlos Cardoso and the chair of the EL Sport Working Group, Walter de Beauvesier Watson, a panel discussion took place entitled “Grassroots sport as an integration & empowerment tool in practice”. The discussion was moderated by ICSSPE’s director of scientific affairs, Katrin Koenen, and its contributors were Anna Strugovshchikova from the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Ville Turkka from the Finnish nongovernmental organisation, Icehearts, Giuseppe Pelle from the Italian Lottomatica, and Nathalie Iannetta-Sabattier and Valerio Giovannini from UEFA. The speakers briefly introduced their social inclusion through sport projects, and then Ms. Koenen opened the floor for questions. She was interested in the monitoring and evaluation measures of the projects, and presented various tools the organisations use to monitor and develop their projects.

After having worked our brains during the intense panel discussion, it was time for a short #BeActive break.

Once the participants got energised, the event continued with a policy debate on the topic. It was led by Mikkel Larsen, co-chair of the EU Advisory Committee of ENGSO, and its speakers were Stefan Bergh from ENGSO, Jens Nymand Christensen from the European Commission, Michael Trinker from the Council of Europe and Dora Palli from the International Olympic Truce Centre.

Stefan Bergh stated that sport clubs are the basic units of sport but “we have [a lot of] homework ”, as a lot of young people are not attracted to sports; so we – the sports movement – have to make sports more attractive to them. Michael Trinker emphasised the importance of value-based physical education and he also announced that an online database opened some weeks ago on the website of the Council of Europe where everyone can upload sport projects that target refugees.

Jens Nymand Christensen reminded that grassroots sport is the top priority of Commissioner Navracsics. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of coaches as they are “the social centres for youth”, and pointed out that their role is much wider than it was 20-30 years ago. His viewpoint was shared by the last speaker of the conference, Kairis Ulp, who presented the perspectives of the Estonian Presidency on the topic. He stressed that coaches must not only teach sporting techniques, but life skills as well. Therefore, coaches play an inspiring role in sport.

The conference was concluded by the remarks of ENGSO President Carlos Cardoso and Walter de Beauvesier Watson, chair of EL Sport Working Group of the European Lotteries.


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Friday, October 6, 2017 - 11:47