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  • ACTIVE Network project releases final recommendations
    The ACTIVE Network project’s partners have now released their recommendations for partnerships between grassroots sport organisations and local authorities, which were finalised at the EU-supported project’s closing conference in June. The document presents a variety of considerations partners should take into account when joining forces, such as taking an inclusive approach, securing the right resources, assigning responsibilities and ensuring transparency, as well as advice about how to apply them effectively to their collaborations. Download the full document below  
    ACTIVE Network project releases final recommendations
  • How the ACTIVE Network project came to an end
    The first project focusing on cross-sector collaboration between local authorities and sport organisation supported by European Union came to an end in Birmingham between 12 and 14 June. During the closing conference, one main point came into light and that was that such relationships are very valuable in facilitating and promoting sport for all initiatives in many different settings. The closing conference concluded with 15 municipality and sport organisation partnerships from 13 countries sharing what they had achieved through the project and listening to presentations from their peers and guest speakers from the UK and Greece. Challenges and successes in the English contextThe local guest speakers delivered the first plenary sessions and workshops on the first full day of the conference on 13 June. Paul Jarvis from StreetGames opened the session “The most valuable partnership – Local authorities and sport organisations”, pointing out the poor versus rich dilemma in England. He described how a normalisation process is unfolding in deprived areas, which can be quite frightening for local residents: “13-year-olds see a lot of crime. For them, this seems part of normal life. Financial difficulties are perceived as normal. Mental health problems, like depression, are also seen as normal. This is quite scary,” he said. Jarvis stressed that this is why it is so important for local authorities and sports organisations to tap into the financial and social potential of physical activity and bring this to the attention of higher authorities. “Sport and physical activity are of interest to commissioners and policy makers,” he said. “If you use the volunteer model, which I know that you all do, it means you can start from a core and grow out quite rapidly. That’s of great interest in times where money is scarce and it does bring people together. So in terms of social inclusion, it’s great because through sport you can celebrate both the similarities and differences between people.” The guest speakers also demonstrated how they used innovative strategies to get their average citizens involved in sport and physical activity at a community level. Karen Creavin from Birmingham City Council presented their campaign “Be Active”, which allows local citizens to access leisure centres cost free. This has seen a boom in participation by 70%, drawing people who had not been members of the centres before. As a result of this local authority/sport organisation initiative to remove the cost barrier to physical activity, Creavin said that now “more people choose to participate in this scheme than they choose to vote”. ACTIVE Network participants give more examples of successful initiativesSuccessful cross-sector collaboration was exemplified through initiatives presented by ACTIVE Network participants Gerry Campbell from South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) in Scotland and Lena Knorr from State Capital Stuttgart in Germany. Campbell presented twice during the conference, illustrating from SLLC’s experience how community libraries and art studios can become active spaces and explaining how to build cross-sector networks at a local and national level. He mentioned SLLC’s Arts Culture and Exercise (ACE) Membership for children aged 12 weeks to 15 years as a successful initiative which is the first of its kind in Scotland and the first they know of in the UK to bring these three elements of leisure together. “We believe that this is one of the most effective interventions for capturing young people and changing their behaviour,” he said. Knorr pointed out in her presentation “Fit for life – How to start in your city?” that what she had learned through her experience in the ACTIVE Network project was that in “overcoming differences, you must focus on the things you have in common” and “it has to be very clear in the beginning what you want to do or you’ll be lost”. Teresa Tena Marmaneu from the City of Castellon in Spain said that local authorities should not ignore the value sport and physical activity can add to the tourism industry. “The presence of physical activity improves and makes the difference for any touristic offer,” she said, adding from her city’s experience with the successful Marató i Mitja event that “sport and tourism is win-win cooperation and we have proved it. Partnerships between local authorities and sports organisations have something very special because they are coherent, realistic and open.” Georgios Farfaras from Greenways Social Cooperative Enterprise in Greece was not involved in the ACTIVE Network project, but he added extra insights into the value of sport tourism in Europe, saying that Europeans spend approximately €53 euro per day on a total of 2.8 million bicycle sightseeing trips per year. He also showed how municipalities can take innovative approaches to turning urban spaces into sporting fields, using Thessaloniki’s urban rugby field as an example: “It was something new for Greece to turn a square into a rugby field,” he said. ACTIVE Network project closes – but sport organisation and local authority partnerships are here to stayPartnerships are good for keeping you on track, as teamwork is more efficient than working alone. The ACTIVE Network project took on a specific role to exploit well-functioning partnerships between sport organisations and different local authorities with the aim to spread good practices to other, as well as the importance of initiating further cross-sector collaboration. Its closing conference was a testament to these partnerships and a promise of exciting possibilities for collaboration in the future. By Roxana Chiriac, ISCA 
    How the ACTIVE Network project came to an end
  • Key stakeholders in English grassroots sport applaud ACTIVE Network project at closing
    The Council House of the Birmingham City Council was a stunning backdrop for the closing of the ACTIVE Network project on 12 June. For the past 18 months, the EU-supported ACTIVE Network project has focused on facilitating the most valuable partnership in grassroots sport - the partnership between local authorities and sport organisations – so it was fitting that the closing addresses were delivered by Councillors Steve Bedser and Susan Barnett, from Birmingham City Council; Jane Ashworth, the CEO of StreetGames UK; Mike Diaper, the Executive Director for community sport at Sport England; and ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby. Councillor Barnett opened the evening by bringing the value of active urban spaces to the fore, using the host city as an example of a place that encourages its citizens to be active. “We’re so fortunate in Birmingham to have so many parks, open spaces, green areas, places where people can come and take a walk, push a pram, play football with the children or grandchildren, or ride a bicycle,” she said. “Many opportunities are here for people to become more active.” Ashworth turned the spotlight onto the local authority itself as a body that has the responsibility to create these active spaces and mobilise its community. “The local authority has the right, the duty and the assistance to lead the campaigns in their area to improve the health of their residents and that is increasingly including participation rates in physical activity and social inclusion in sport,” she said. She stressed that local authorities and grassroots sport organisations need each other to reach their common goals, asking, in the context of StreetGames’ work with youth at risk: “why would a local authority not want to harness our experience to help their disadvantaged youth? And, likewise, why would we as a charity not want to partner our local authority to better share our knowledge and understanding with more young people?” Diaper used Sport England’s alarming findings that over 12 million people in the country are inactive to emphasise why this type of partnership is so important. “Our job is to pull people from this side over and get them to try to do sport at least once a week; to get those who are doing nothing to do something. For those who are doing too little, we can ask: how can we move you?” Diaper praised the ACTIVE Network project’s ability to bring municipalities and sport organisations from around Europe together for this cause. “It’s great to see so many countries come together to share best practices,” he said. “There’s so much to be gained through that”. Councillor Bedser also applauded the project partners’ efforts during the project period, which have included implementing physical activity initiatives together and gathering a collection of best practice examples and recommendations, stating that “it’s breathtaking what has been achieved by the ACTIVE Network project in 18 months”. Kirkeby summed up the value of continuing the ACTIVE Network of local authorities and sport organisations after the conclusion of the project. “We may not have a billion pounds at our disposal, but through this network we can actively find that there are at least a billion ideas out there and it’s our task to find, connect and contribute to this market of sharing.” The closing was followed by two seminar days featuring presentations from ACTIVE Network participants, such as Lena Knorr from the City of Stuttgart, Gerry Campbell from South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture in Scotland and Yianna Nicolaou from Larnaca Municipality in Cyprus, and other local stakeholders in grassroots sport, including Karen Creavin from the successful Be Active programme in Birmingham and Dr William Bird from English health IT company Intelligent Health. By Roxana Chiriac and Rachel Payne, ISCA The ACTIVE Network project received support from the European Commission, Education and Culture DG, under the “2012 Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport”. Topic: Awareness-raising about effective ways of promoting sport at the municipal level.
    Key stakeholders in English grassroots sport applaud ACTIVE Network project at closing
  • The ACTIVE Network project invites you to the Closing Conference: The most valuable partnership - Local authorities and sport organisations
    What are the trends, opportunities and challenges? Birmingham, UK 12.6. – 14.6.2014 The Conference will give time and space for further discussion between ACTIVE Network partners and other relevant institutions and organisations to improve partnership coordination and physical activity promotion across sectors. We will summarise and review project results and define strategies for future collaboration. What trends do we see? Which partnerships will be needed in the future? The Conference will also be an opportunity to discuss recent strategic challenges in health-enhancing physical activity and to discuss recommendations for the European Commission, Parliament, Council and national policy makers in light of project experiences. Target groupThe ACTIVE Network Closing Conference addresses diverse target groups – from project managers and trainers from sport organisations to the health sector, from political decision makers to local activists, from private businesses to international institutions, from sport organisations to city administrators. The diversity of the attending stakeholders is one of the major strengths of the Conference debate and it will once again be crucial to the creation of a vibrant atmosphere. To register, contact Tiina Kiislar: tki@isca-web.org
    The ACTIVE Network project invites you to the Closing Conference: The most valuable partnership - Local authorities and sport organisations
  • ACTIVE Network Multilateral Exchange in Hamilton, Scotland
    From 7-9 March 2014, the ACTIVE Network project partners gathered in Hamilton, Scotland to discuss how innovative approaches to partnerships in sport and physical activity can be spread to other localities in a particular country. The International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA), in association with South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture (SLLC), hosted this year's Active Network European Exchange meeting. The meeting’s cross-cutting theme was “Cross- sector cooperation in grassroots sport”. While partnerships between municipalities and sport organisations have been in focus during the ACTIVE Network project, this multilateral exchange emphasised not to forget the importance of further cross-sector collaboration. The good practices documented by the project’s partners over the course of the project describe different sectors' and actors' involvement and innovative partnerships reaching out to non-traditional partners. A combination of all of these actors helps to develop the sport organisations' capacities to transform and adapt sport offers to new target groups. The visiting delegates were from municipalities and sport organisations from Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland and Romania. They were invited to share examples of their locally successful sports partnership projects and to learn from others. The delegates also learned about SLLC’s projects with key local partners including NHS Lanarkshire, local sports councils and local volunteers. During the exchange visit SLLC was presented with an ISCA MOVE Award for successfully developing and delivering an innovative MOVE Week activity titled Move Minute. Gerry Campbell, the General Manager of SLLC, said “We are very proud to be playing a part in an initiative aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to be more physically active. “Partnership working with ISCA and Clydesdale Sports Council has been very successful and we plan to develop more joint programmes in the future.”
    ACTIVE Network Multilateral Exchange in Hamilton, Scotland
ACTIVE Network project releases final recommendations
The ACTIVE Network project’s partners have now released their recommendations for partnerships between grassroots sport organisations and local authorities, which were finalised at the EU-supported project’s closing conference in June. The document presents a variety of considerations partners should take into account when joining forces, such as taking an inclusive approach, securing the right resources, assigning responsibilities and ensuring transparency, as well as advice about how to apply them effectively to their collaborations. Download the full document below  

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These important references to the significance of local authorities underlines the relevance of the ACTIVE Network fostering cooperation and collaboration between sport organisations and municipalities.

1. To increase the knowledge base for effective promotion of citizens’ participation in sport via partnerships between local authorities and sport organizations

2. To build capacities in project partner organizations to deploy more effective partnerships betweenlocal authorities and sport organizations

3. To raise awareness and establish the network on effective promotion of citizens’ participation in via partnerships between local authorities and sport organizations

The Kick-off meeting will officially launch ACTIVE Network project, where project partners together will discuss the project’s vision and objectives and agree upon a specific action plan.

The primary target group of ACTIVE Network project are managers, politicians and leaders from local authorities, from national and local sport organisations, from project partners and beyond.

To see the Project Results Table please clikc here

Project Timetable - Delivery from February 2013 to April 2014

ACTIVE Network Events

Partner Twinning Meetings Matrix

As part of the Active Networks Project, project partners will host meeting forums for municipalities and sports organisations in their own countries. The aim is to build effective working relationship...

ACTIVE Network kick off meeting

36 participants from 10 Municipalities and 17 sports organisations gather in Copenhagen for the Launch of the ACTIVE Network project ISCA have launched the Active Networks Project, bringing municipali...

Twinning Meetings and Multilateral Exchanges

The sport organisations of the project, as national associations, have a specific role to exploit well-functioning partnerships between local authorities and local sport organizations so that the good...