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  • "Mass participation in sport once or twice a week is our aim" Latvia puts focus on grassroots sport in EU conference and own sport policy
    Edgars Severs, Deputy State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science. Photos: Latvian Presidency Last month ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby presented at the international conference Sport and Physical Activity for Development of the Human Capital, hosted by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference put relationships between grassroots sport and topics such as social inclusion, health and wellbeing, and urban planning into the spotlight. It also highlighted the emphasis Latvia is placing on grassroots sport in its own policy, as Kirkeby observed:“Both the Minister responsible for sport in Latvia and the Director of the Sport Department, with whom I presented at one of the conference sessions, stressed the political priority of grassroots sport and participation in Latvia. This is good!”The Director of the Latvian Sports Department who presented alongside Kirkeby in the ‘Education and Learning through Sport’ workshop was Edgars Severs, the Deputy State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science. ISCA spoke to Severs after the conference to find out why Latvia is prioritising sport for all.  Interview with Edgards Severs, Deputy State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science and Director of the Sport Department Q. The Latvian Presidency has made grassroots sport a priority this year. With elite sports issues dominating the political landscape in many countries, this prioritisation of grassroots sport is not always common. Why is has the Latvian Presidency decided to put an emphasis on mass participation in sport and physical activity? A. Firstly, the rationale is the national policy in this area. At the end of 2013, the Latvian government approved Sport Policy Guidelines for 2014–2020. With “Sport for the quality of life” as the leading theme of Latvia’s sport policy, we pay particular attention to children and young people. Additionally, I would like to underline that the Sport Policy Guidelines were developed in close cooperation with non-governmental sport organisations national sport movement. This is the way we implement good governance in sport. At the same time, agreeing on common goals means there is a consensus for direction we should work for. Secondly, the role of grassroots sports as a priority of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) basically derives from the implementation of the EU Work Plan for Sport 2014–2017 and it is closely linked with one of its priorities –Sport and Society. When developing our agenda for the first half of 2015, we had to stick to the EU Work Plan, as well as harmonise our priorities with the job that our colleagues from the Italian Presidency had carried out. That is the formal aspect. We are aware of the importance of elite sport and a system which nurtures outstanding talent from an early age. However, over time the emphasis has changed from elite to balanced development of all directions of sport policy. Mass participation in sport at least once or twice a week, as stated in the Sport Policy Guidelines, is our aim. As we know, physical activity rates are not very high, neither in Latvia nor in Europe at large. Our policy is to change that trend and we think that grassroots sport is the tool. The added value of grassroots sport is beyond question, and I would like to highlight that there are ways to do it differently. During the Presidency’s milestone event in sport, the international conference Sport and Physical Activity for Development of Human Capital on 16 February in Riga, my presentation on Ghetto games movement showed yet another great example of the untapped potential of non-traditional grassroots sport forms. Q. What will this prioritisation of grassroots sport involve at a practical level? Are there any events or actions planned aside from the conference Sport and Physical Activity for Development of Human Capital in February? A. We have to accept that the Presidency lasts only six months. The conference was the only event of its kind. However, despite the limited number of such events held under the Latvian Presidency, they have attracted public interest from all across Europe. I think that new knowledge, exchange of experience and awareness is a good starting point concerning practice. Of course, there are a lot of events taking place at national level annually and events organised by other public bodies. What do you expect the impact of the Latvian Presidency's grassroots sport priority to be? Could it be on other EU member states? On the amount of money put towards grassroots sport in the Latvian, budget? Or any other impacts? A. I am completely confident that support systems and implementation mechanisms for grassroots sport have been strengthened in many EU Member States. We are aware of the goals we should meet and generally, we know the potential benefits. The question is – could we do it better, could we diversify it? Unambiguous initiatives may change the attitude of stakeholders. As for the ministry, our task is to attract attention and resources. For example, one of the main goals of the conference Sport and physical activity for development of human capital was to highlight the added value of sport, i.e. that sport facilitates the development of skills. It is not a discovery but it prompts us to seek solutions to use the full potential of sport. Q. How much is the Latvian government already allocating to grassroots sport? A. To answer this, I’d have to explain briefly the principles of sport funding in Latvia. Sport is mainly funded from the state budget (administered by the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science), from local governments and from sponsors and international assignations. Local governments are the leading stakeholders at practical level regarding the organisation and the funding of events. In case of funding of the grassroots sport, there are two main resources – state budget for sport and the funding from donations of the state capital companies. According to the legislation, annual allocations are provided only for recognised sport federations. In addition to these, there is a fund of 70,000 EUR for grassroots sports events for 2015. The Latvian Sports Federations Council, which is an umbrella organisation, administers this funding, which is allocated according to open competition. Find out more about the conference here and access the programme At the conference Severs presented "Ghetto Games", a Latvian Street Sport initiative. Find out more about Ghetto Games here
    "Mass participation in sport once or twice a week is our aim" Latvia puts focus on grassroots sport in EU conference and own sport policy
  • 20th anniversary special feature: UFOLEP: “Why we took an active part in ISCA from the beginning”
    L'Union française des œuvres laïques d'éducation physique (UFOLEP) is one of the most important sport for all and multisport federations in France. It was established in 1928 with the purpose of setting up popular and civic forms of practicing sport and physical activity. Since its creation, UFOLEP has worked to develop the concept of a human sport service. Taking part in a new umbrella organisation for grassroots sport like ISCA as a founding member in 1995 was significant for UFOLEP, as it allowed it to spread its vision of sport internationally. Jean-Claude Besnard, President of the Departmental Committee of Indre and Member of the International Commission at UFOLEP, and Laetitia Zappella, Tasks Officer at UFOLEP, tell us why being an ISCA member has been so valuable to UFOLEP. Jean-Claude Besnard - President of the Departmental Committee of Indre and Member of the International Commission at UFOLEPUntil the early 1990s, UFOLEP’s international activities were practically confined to Franco-German exchanges under the guidance of OFAJ (the Franco-German Office for Youth). When DGI presented us the possibility of creating ISCA in 1994, we immediately decided to join this venture. That is why UFOLEP (along with USEP) was among the founding members who attended the first general meeting on 10 February 1995 in Copenhagen. UFOLEP’s president, André Alloppé, Dominique Mifsud and I all joined the meeting. ISCA’s values and objectives fully corresponded to those we believed in at UFOLEP. So we chose to take an active part in ISCA from the beginning, being involved in the Executive Committee and, later, in ISCA Europe. Being a member of ISCA has enabled UFOLEP to weave an international network for itself, mainly at a European level. Many members of our federation have therefore benefited from the bilateral or multinational exchanges through ISCA projects in different countries such as Denmark, Scotland, Italy and the Czech Republic. For several years, the “ISCA Festival” was one the highlights of the year and it raised awareness of the importance of intercultural exchanges in sport for all activities. Personally, I participated in the “RISC”, held in Villeneuve-d’Asq, France in 1999, and the Nemunas festival in Marijampole, Lithuania in 2000. I have fond memories of these great moments. They were grandiose celebrations of sport and culture where people of all ages and origins met and mingled to exchange ideas and practices. They also helped us learn about each other’s differences, when confrontations arose due to mutual misunderstandings. My time in ISCA Europe (its European Committee) allowed me to meet people, to discover different structures and ways of working and to build relationships with partners. This is interesting in itself, but, most importantly, the ongoing meetings and exchanges, implementation of programmes and projects are what benefit all levels of our federation. ISCA plays a key role in the development of sport for all. It allows the dissemination of fair and humanistic ideas through sport and physical activity. Its relations with the European authorities are beneficial for all of its members. It must also ensure that the programmes that it supports and it sets up come in a variety of forms and are applicable to all levels of its member organisations. The MOVE Week and training for trainers and young leaders are among its accomplishments that I regard as essential. Laetitia Zapella - Tasks Officer at UFOLEPFor my part, I have known ISCA since my arrival at UFOLEP in 2010. UFOLEP has a vision of sport as being accessible and suitable to all (at both a competitive and non-competitive level). UFOLEP was part of ISCA’s creation, therefore ISCA’s values are fully shared by UFOLEP. What I appreciate about being a member of ISCA is the team’s closeness and therefore their support and responsiveness. Our membership has provided us with help and guidance to understand the European landscape. It has allowed us to be accompanied in our discovery of European institutions and how they operate. We have met similar organisations throughout Europe so we have also been able to discover others’ points of view regarding the notion of sport. Personally, being part of the MOVE Congress’ organisation in Paris in 2011 allowed me to work with the ISCA team and to see how the organisation operates. Visit UFOLEP's website (in French) Interviews conducted and translated by Marie Grillet, ISCA 
    20th anniversary special feature: UFOLEP: “Why we took an active part in ISCA from the beginning”
  • Networking “1-2-3” brings award-winning UK grassroots sport initiative to Kosovo’s doorstep
    In May last year, UK-based ISCA member StreetGames met the Independent Organisation for Sport Education in Kosovo (OESK) at a conference in Sweden. Now it is preparing to transfer its award-winning Doorstep Sport initiative to OESK through ISCA’s MOVE Transfer international project. The project will see the Doorstep Sport concept of delivering physical activity at the “right time, the right price and in the right style” to hard-to-reach communities being taken up by municipalities across Kosovo in 2015. It was also a case of being in the “right place” at the “right time” with the right opportunities to network and share experiences that helped bring StreetGames and Kosovo together under the MOVE Transfer project. Rather than a lesson of “Networking 101”, these organisations’ experience could be described as “Networking 1-2-3” as the Swedish hosts (1) and the UK (2) and Kosovar (3) conference participants linked together to embark on the transfer process. Physical inactivity a growing threat to Kosovo’s hard-to-reach communitiesAside from the difficulties the people of Kosovo have faced over the last few decades, physical inactivity has also become a prevalent problem for them with fewer opportunities and a declining interest, particularly among younger generations, to participate in sport and physical activity. “According to a Kosovo Olympic Committee survey, only 2% of the population in our country practice sport,” OESK’s Chairperson, Elvira Dushku, explains. “And that is a pity, given the fact that we are a country with a high proportion of youth. The idea is that through this project more children will be able to effectively participate in sport and physical activity, regardless of their gender, religion and ethnicity.” StreetGames specialises in reaching out to youth in the UK through its informal approach to offering physical activity initiatives. One of its programmes, US Girls, is one particular initiative that it has used effectively to engage girls in physical activity – a target group that Dushku points out as being among the least motivated to be active in Kosovo. StreetGames’ Director of Sport and Workforce, Hannah Crane, says her organisation is looking forward to sharing its experience with an organisation that is also striving to help its struggling communities through physical activity and social inclusion: “At StreetGames we are really proud of our innovative Doorstep Sports work which supports communities and young people around the UK. Thanks to ISCA, we can now support colleagues in Kosovo to improve their work too. We chose to work with OESK because they have already done so much to develop themselves, demonstrating outstanding personal commitment to what they do. We can’t wait to visit Kosovo and see what can be achieved during the MOVE Transfer Project,” she says. Sweden more than just a link in the networking chainSweden’s role in the story of turning Kosovo’s trend of physical inactivity around was not simply to host a conference that brought StreetGames’ and OESK MOVE Transfer collaboration into effect. The host of the conference, the Swedish Organisation for Sport Education in Sweden (SISU), helped establish OESK in 2011 through its work in delivering seminars to grassroots sports stakeholders from Kosovo’s sport federations and municipalities in the 2000s. SISU will continue to work closely with OESK throughout the transfer of the Doorstep Sport model to Kosovo. “Our main role in MOVE Transfer is to help OESK start up its project with StreetGames and ISCA, and we will also follow the project as much we can,” Kenneth Tidebrink, from SISU in Västergötland province, says. At OESK, Dushku believes MOVE Transfer is the opportunity municipalities in Kosovo need to build a stronger culture of health-enhancing physical activity among its youth. The project’s timeframe is just the first step in a longer-term vision: “Within 18 months we intend that several larger municipalities will start to implement the Doorstep Sports clubs, and if things go as we plan, then we believe that will see a huge rise in children’s interest in sport and physical activity in this period and in the future,” she says. Photo above: Children from the Doorstep Sport Clubs programme at the MOVE Transfer international kick-off meeting in Birmingham, UK Find out more about StreetGames’ Doorstep Sport Clubs here Read OESK's own story about MOVE Transfer here Visit the MOVE Transfer website By Rachel Payne 
    Networking “1-2-3” brings award-winning UK grassroots sport initiative to Kosovo’s doorstep
  • MOVE Week-inspired Danish project nominated as European Youth Week best practice
    When staff at the Danish youth organisation 4H Danmark received an email from the Danish National Agency for the Erasmus+ programme recently, they didn’t expect the surprise it contained. And it was a good one. It said their project, “We Move”, had been selected as a best practice and nominated for presentation at the European Youth Week this April-May. “We Move” was 4H Danmark’s innovative answer to the Nordic Youth Association's (NSU) annual Nordic youth leadership development training in October 2013. The project, which took place in Ribe, in Denmark, put the spotlight on young people’s health and physical activity, taking inspiration from MOVE Week. The training included a workshop on the NowWeMOVE campaign and the participants were given one-on-one advice from the 2013 NowWeMOVE Coordinator, Tommy Kristoffersen, on how to organise events for MOVE Week. “This is a feather in our cap and a big pat on the back for us. We are delighted to be recognised through this nomination,” Henrik Dalum, the Chairman of 4H Danmark, says. So why was 4H Denmark project selected to represent Denmark in the European Youth Week? There were several good reasons, according to Melissa Kousgaard, who works with international training programs at the Danish Ministry of Higher Education. “The theme of European Youth Week this year is young people’s participation, so ‘We Move’ matches this theme perfectly,” she says. ‘We Move’ was planned and run by young people who achieved significant learning outcomes and set a good framework for the activities. But most importantly, according to Kousgaard, it provided the participants with the inspiration, knowledge and tools to organise activities among their own networks and communities. “Through this approach, the project illustrated active participation in society in an excellent way, and enhancing young people’s active citizenship is one of the priorities of the Commission’s youth programme,” she explains. ‘We Move’ was selected from among 100-200 youth projects in Denmark. European Youth Week will take place from 27 April-10 May in 2015. Each European country nominates 5 projects to be part of the week, and one of these will be selected to be part of the exhibition in Brussels. Read more about European Youth Week here 
    MOVE Week-inspired Danish project nominated as European Youth Week best practice
  • Stimulation of physical activity and sport initiatives in Netherlands
    Local sport and physical activity providers in the Netherlands have the opportunity to apply for funding for their initiatives through the Dutch government’s new Sport Impuls round in 2015. A total amount of € 9 million is available from the State for local Sport Impuls projects supplemented with local financing. In 2015, the Sports Impuls subsidy is aimed at people who rarely participate in sport and physical activity. Applications require good preparation and the deadline is 16 April 2015. The providers must submit successful sport and physical activity interventions to be eligible for funding. These interventions are recorded as effective projects in the Sport Impuls national register. It is important that:• the sport project meets the demands of the target group;• the project is complementary to the existing situation in the region; and• it will involve cooperation with local organisations Find out more here 
    Stimulation of physical activity and sport initiatives in Netherlands
"Mass participation in sport once or twice a week is our aim" Latvia puts focus on grassroots sport in EU conference and own sport policy
Edgars Severs, Deputy State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science. Photos: Latvian Presidency Last month ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby presented at the international conference Sport and Physical Activity for Development of the Human Capital, hosted by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference put relationships between grassroots sport and topics such as social inclusion, health and wellbeing, and urban planning into the spotlight. It also highlighted the emphasis Latvia is placing on grassroots sport in its own policy, as Kirkeby observed:“Both the Minister responsible for sport in Latvia and the Director of the Sport Department, with whom I presented at one of the conference sessions, stressed the political priority of grassroots sport and participation in Latvia. This is good!”The Director of the Latvian Sports Department who presented alongside Kirkeby in the ‘Education and Learning through Sport’ workshop was Edgars Severs, the Deputy State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science. ISCA spoke to Severs after the conference to find out why Latvia is prioritising sport for all.  Interview with Edgards Severs, Deputy State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science and Director of the Sport Department Q. The Latvian Presidency has made grassroots sport a priority this year. With elite sports issues dominating the political landscape in many countries, this prioritisation of grassroots sport is not always common. Why is has the Latvian Presidency decided to put an emphasis on mass participation in sport and physical activity? A. Firstly, the rationale is the national policy in this area. At the end of 2013, the Latvian government approved Sport Policy Guidelines for 2014–2020. With “Sport for the quality of life” as the leading theme of Latvia’s sport policy, we pay particular attention to children and young people. Additionally, I would like to underline that the Sport Policy Guidelines were developed in close cooperation with non-governmental sport organisations national sport movement. This is the way we implement good governance in sport. At the same time, agreeing on common goals means there is a consensus for direction we should work for. Secondly, the role of grassroots sports as a priority of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) basically derives from the implementation of the EU Work Plan for Sport 2014–2017 and it is closely linked with one of its priorities –Sport and Society. When developing our agenda for the first half of 2015, we had to stick to the EU Work Plan, as well as harmonise our priorities with the job that our colleagues from the Italian Presidency had carried out. That is the formal aspect. We are aware of the importance of elite sport and a system which nurtures outstanding talent from an early age. However, over time the emphasis has changed from elite to balanced development of all directions of sport policy. Mass participation in sport at least once or twice a week, as stated in the Sport Policy Guidelines, is our aim. As we know, physical activity rates are not very high, neither in Latvia nor in Europe at large. Our policy is to change that trend and we think that grassroots sport is the tool. The added value of grassroots sport is beyond question, and I would like to highlight that there are ways to do it differently. During the Presidency’s milestone event in sport, the international conference Sport and Physical Activity for Development of Human Capital on 16 February in Riga, my presentation on Ghetto games movement showed yet another great example of the untapped potential of non-traditional grassroots sport forms. Q. What will this prioritisation of grassroots sport involve at a practical level? Are there any events or actions planned aside from the conference Sport and Physical Activity for Development of Human Capital in February? A. We have to accept that the Presidency lasts only six months. The conference was the only event of its kind. However, despite the limited number of such events held under the Latvian Presidency, they have attracted public interest from all across Europe. I think that new knowledge, exchange of experience and awareness is a good starting point concerning practice. Of course, there are a lot of events taking place at national level annually and events organised by other public bodies. What do you expect the impact of the Latvian Presidency's grassroots sport priority to be? Could it be on other EU member states? On the amount of money put towards grassroots sport in the Latvian, budget? Or any other impacts? A. I am completely confident that support systems and implementation mechanisms for grassroots sport have been strengthened in many EU Member States. We are aware of the goals we should meet and generally, we know the potential benefits. The question is – could we do it better, could we diversify it? Unambiguous initiatives may change the attitude of stakeholders. As for the ministry, our task is to attract attention and resources. For example, one of the main goals of the conference Sport and physical activity for development of human capital was to highlight the added value of sport, i.e. that sport facilitates the development of skills. It is not a discovery but it prompts us to seek solutions to use the full potential of sport. Q. How much is the Latvian government already allocating to grassroots sport? A. To answer this, I’d have to explain briefly the principles of sport funding in Latvia. Sport is mainly funded from the state budget (administered by the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science), from local governments and from sponsors and international assignations. Local governments are the leading stakeholders at practical level regarding the organisation and the funding of events. In case of funding of the grassroots sport, there are two main resources – state budget for sport and the funding from donations of the state capital companies. According to the legislation, annual allocations are provided only for recognised sport federations. In addition to these, there is a fund of 70,000 EUR for grassroots sports events for 2015. The Latvian Sports Federations Council, which is an umbrella organisation, administers this funding, which is allocated according to open competition. Find out more about the conference here and access the programme At the conference Severs presented "Ghetto Games", a Latvian Street Sport initiative. Find out more about Ghetto Games here

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NowWeMOVE is a European-wide campaign to promote sport and physical activity. The cross-sector vision of the campaign to get “100 million more Europeans active in sport and physical activity by 2020”. MOVE Week is an annual Europe-wide event and an integral part of the NowWeMOVE campaign. This year, MOVE Week will take place from 29 September to 5 October.

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This year one of Europe’s oldest, most populated and most visited cities will provide a fitting backdrop for the MOVE Congress 2014 and its theme Open city – Active city. from 22 to 25 October 2014 in Rome-Italy.

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MOVE Quality aims to identify initiatives which inspire more people to be physically active, build the capacity of the organisations delivering them and reward their achievements with a Quality Mark.

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ISCA has created MOVE Transfer as a process of identifying physical activity initiatives for hard-to-reach populations that have run successfully in one setting and transferring them to a new setting (new organisation, new community).

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Good Governance in Grassroots Sport Self Assessment Tool: an interactive online tool providing a range of information and templates across three themes of governance and four principles. Start your self assessment now!

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OTHER ISCA ACTIVITIES

Active Network

The ACTIVE Network project has identified partnerships between local authorities and sport organizations to be of such critical value...

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MOVE&Learn

Training on-line tool for non-formal Education through Sport and physical activities with young people.

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