We are requesting organisations using sport for social cohesion to complete our short survey, in order to inform future programming and best practice.

The use of sport to promote social cohesion has grown rapidly in recent years. This includes the use of sport for social inclusion and the integration of refugees and migrants. Public, private and third sector organisations are using sport as a vehicle to advance social cohesion in various contexts.

However, there are various challenges which continue to limit our understanding as to how sport and social cohesion programmes can be most effectively designed, delivered, and measured.

As such, sportanddev, the German Sport University and Sport and Social Cohesion Lab project partners, are conducting a survey to identify common features, challenges, and best practices in the use of sport for social cohesion.

The survey is part of a broader mapping exercise which seeks to contribute to better understanding of social cohesion at the practitioner level, and the programmatic factors that may influence success.

There is great diversity of programmes and approaches to sport and social cohesion, including measurement tools. While this is to be celebrated, it poses challenges in identifying standards, common features, and best practices. Further, evangelical notions of sport and top-down approaches remain common, resulting in a gap between theory, policy, and local practices.

Why is this important?

Grassroots practitioners voices are often marginalized and crucial factors such as the type of sport, duration of participation, frequency of participation and non-sporting activities are under-reported and analysed. This makes it difficult to identify factors which enable interventions to be effective.

This survey and mapping exercise is part of the Sport and Social Cohesion Lab, an Erasmus+ funded project. The project adopts a highly participatory Living Lab approach to tackle the gaps in knowledge and implementation.

This approach will directly engage programme participants, generate understanding of the elements that advance sport for social cohesion and develop relevant tools for the exploration, measurement and improvement of programmes and outcomes in highly diverse urban neighbourhoods.

How will the findings be used?

This survey will help us identify the assets, needs and challenges experienced by organisations in the use of sport for social cohesion. This will include shaping activities in the above-mentioned project. Findings will be shared publicly and used to inform policy and practice.

On February 24 and March 5th, partners from the Sport and Social Cohesion Lab (SSCL) gathered online to officially kick-off this new, innovative, pan-European project.

Given the increasing change and diversity in European cities, encouraging social cohesion is of the utmost importance for stability, growth and solidarity. In particular, we see that sport and physical activity have become increasingly recognized and implemented as tools to foster social cohesion in communities around Europe.

However, despite this boom in sport and social cohesion, there remain some “wicked problems” to be addressed. Most pressingly, current definitions and understandings of social cohesion rarely take into account the needs, expectations or understanding of practitioners and participants on the ground. In turn, this leads to programmes, approaches and evaluations that do not reflect the needs and realities on the ground.

To address this, a collaborative, participatory approach is needed. As such, the Sport for Social Cohesion Lab will implement a Living Lab approach through NGO-University partnerships in four different countries. These Living Labs will directly engage programme participants, generate understanding of the elements that promote social cohesion in a sport setting and to develop relevant tools to allow for the exploration, measurement and improvement of social cohesion outcomes in highly diverse urban neighbourhoods.

Through this, the SSCL project aims to increase social cohesion and support practitioners in delivering high-quality sport for social cohesion programmes.

Moving forward, we will first conduct an in-depth analysis of the  situation in the  four partner NGOs and also conduct a broader European mapping exercise. This information will allow us to tailor the Living Lab approach to each unique setting.

This project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme, and features ten partners from six different European countries. As part of the project, ENSE will support the development of the living lab approach and take a leading role in dissemination activities. More detailed information about the project and the partners can be found here.

The proportion of physically inactive citizens in the EU remains unacceptably high. 42% of EU citizens do not exercise or play sport at all (2017).

This might indicate that the message about the importance of sport and physical activity for an individual's health and wellbeing has still not got through to significant segments of the EU population. More and more Europeans eat unhealthily and suffer chronically from stress. In the past 50 to 70 years, generations of us did not learn about the health & prevention guidelines, that research is giving us now, so it’s time for a knowledge update. Not only for the consumer, but specially for professionals who work with consumers in the areas of healthcare, sports and lifestyle.

To work toward a solution, more attention should be put into spreading the knowledge and understanding of what is a healthier life: for youth, adults and seniors, and also for people with special health-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, post-cancer treatment or pregnancy. That’s why the European Erasmus+ approved the development of the New Health Program 'Lifestyle/health promoter'. ( name organization ) in ( name country ) is a partner in this project. The Lifestyle/health knowledge center and academy that is being developed will provide scientific information and courses to professionals, volunteers and consumers with easy to obtain, understand and use tools to improve physical activity levels, healthy eating, a health mindset, mind(re)set, positive health and a healthy lifestyle. The partnership, will work together with EuropeActive and the partner countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Lithuania and Slovakia, to develop education standards for Lifestyle/health promotor, a free consumer lifestyle platform and Lifestyle/health promotor course and e-learning. They will also conduct research on the role and impact the Lifestyle/health promoter will have on behavioral change of the target groups.

The Lifestyle/health promoter can be a sports professional, healthcare professional, teacher, but also a community worker, member of a sport organization or volunteer. New Health provides them with motivation and knowledge about healthy eating, sports, the risks of unhealthy living and the use of doping. This partnership will create and support a European network of Lifestyle/health promoters. The project coordinator is the New Health Foundation in the Netherlands, partners are Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (ESDRM): Portugal, EuropeActive: Belgium, Lithuanian Association of Health and Fitness Clubs: Lithuania, Fitness Federation: Belgium, Association Europea Deporte, Ejercicio Y Salud (AEDESA): Spain and Comenius University (Faculty of Physical Education and Sports): Slovakia. The expert panel of the project is is made up of the European Network of Sport Education (ENSE): Austria, Movisie: the Netherlands, Knowledge Center Sports: the Netherlands (KCSportNL), NL Active the Netherlands and Jan Middelkamp: the Netherlands.

On March 5 and 6, the partners of the project met in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, for a successful kick-off meeting.

This project is supported by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union, and you can find more information at www.new-health.eu

“Training the Female Sport for All Leaders of Tomorrow” aims to equip and empower a new generation of young European and African women who are engaged in Sport for All with the necessary skills, knowledge, experiences and guidance to lead the global Sport for All Movement.

Through a comprehensive global mobility and mentoring scheme, the participants will strengthen their future employability and enhance their personal and professional development through the acquisition of new skills and knowledge gained through non-formal education and time spent in a foreign country.

This project is led by The Association for International Sport For All (TAFISA) and also includes ENSE, as well as the Slovenian Olympic Committee and the African Union Sports Council Region 5.

Through this scheme, mentoring trios comprised of one mentee from Africa, one mentee from Europe and one mentor (either from Africa or Europe) will be created. These trios will share knowledge and experiences, the mentees will work on a collaborative project, and each mentee will participate in three international, face-to-face mobility activities

As part of this project, ENSE is looking for two European mentees from within its network to take part in this mentorship scheme. Due to the difficulties created by the Covid-19 situation around the world, the application deadline has been extended to May 1, 2020. Application documents can be sent to info (a) sporteducation.eu.

Please note that mentees need to be affiliated with current ENSE member organisations to be eligible (see our members here). Individuals from other organisations will not be considered at this point.

Mentees are expected to fully comply with all project Guidelines and are asked to submit a completed Application Form and Letter of Support when applying.

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