Equal opportunities to physical activity, Impact-project

This project wants to increase social inclusion and equal opportunities to access sports and physical activity on the city level. The aim is also to create more equal opportunities to move by rethinking the way to do physical activity which enable everyone to have the capabilities and knowledge needed to take care of their physical wellbeing.

Cities have various kinds of services and tools to lower the threshold for youth to be more active, but are also in need of new services and approaches toward physical activity to reach all children especially those who do not have access to sports due to example financial, social och physical disability. The services provided by the cities are not enough and that is why the project includes Sports confederation and sport clubs.

The project consortium consists of five organisations which are the cities of Jyväskylä, Tartu and Umeå. The two other parts are RF/ Sisu Västerbotten and Jyväskylä basketball academy. The three cities are approximately the same size (medium-sized cities) and from similarly structured societies, the practices and solutions are easily transmitted and piloted in other participating cities.

ERASMUS+, small collaborative partnerships

The project believes that our holistic and active approach on physical activity in early stages of life can lead us to the right direction.

  • This 360° ideology challenges the existing actors in both physical education (PE) and sport services to rethink the way we approach the development of physical skills. Instead of just teaching the child to throw a ball or jump over obstacles, we need to consider the social and mental development as well. To shift the way we see as movers, we need to understand the factors that generate physical wellbeing, and support their existence, especially among the children and adolescence that do not have access to sports. This requires enhancing the dialogue across health and sport networks, PE teachers, sport coaches, families, and the youth themselves, which also supports the European Commission’s goal to strengthen dialogue among sport stakeholders and spreading good practices (European Commission, Communication on Developing the European Dimension in Sport, 2011).
  • Physical literacy is a theoretical approach that supports this goal and is pointed out by WHO in the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 as a possible new tool for increasing physical activity. Physical literacy does not only cover the basic motor skills and physical activity, but also aims to increase the motivation to move by focusing on the abilities and behavioral patterns that give us the confidence and motivation to move throughout our lives.
  • Physical literacy also challenges the sports professionals (including coaches and PE teachers) to rethink the way of supporting physical activity throughout life. According to The International Physical Literacy Association (2014), physical literacy is “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life". This aligns with the understanding presented in the White Paper on Sport (2007), that emphasizes role of sport and physical activity in wider human development, by arguing that the values conveyed through sport help develop knowledge, motivation, skills and readiness for personal effort.

The theoretical framework is a good place to start when developing both the services of the cities and the way we coach sports. The philosophy of physical literacy act as a model to which we can compare and evaluate our actions, operational programmes, as well as our built environments. The physical literacy sets a global context which we can use as a tool to examine and evaluate our sometimes quite differently organised societies European wide.

  • We want to see the children and adolescents not only as passive parts of the system, but also as active actors on their own.
  • Our view is a holistic one that concerns all three aspects of wellbeing: physical, social and mental. Our goal is to integrate this view in physical education and coaching of sports.
  • To increase inclusion, we need to strengthen the role of adolescent and the child as an active operator in the service system, instead of a passive participant or onlooker.
  • To achieve the goals of the Tartu Call on for a Healthy Lifestyle (2017), we need to find the balance between top-down and bottom-up approaches, as well as understand the interdependency of physical, social, and mental health.

  1. Enhancing Physical Literacy and comprehensive understanding of sports and wellbeing in our societies.
  2. Studying and evaluating, in three phases, the partners’ activities regarding following themes:
    • the actions and services already available aiming to increase the movement among kids and youngsters.
    • the measurements and indicators how wellbeing physical activity is acknowledged and measured.
    • required new solutions and services to reach the target groups that do not yet reach the existing services.
  1. Finding new ways of cooperation between cities and sports clubs in creating equal opportunities for movement among children and youngsters.
  2. Networking among European cities with focus on sport, in order to learn from one another, create shared practices and strengthen their local and national partnerships and networks.

The concrete steps include three concrete approaches:

  1. Four international project meetings on the following themes
    • the actions and services already available aiming to increase the movement among kids and youngsters.
    • the measurements and indicators how wellbeing physical activity is acknowledged and measured.
    • required new solutions and services to reach the target groups that do not yet reach the existing services.
  1. Several opportunities for physical activity for kids and youngster organized by all the partners as a part of the European Week of Sport, targeted especially to those who otherwise do not move that much (including e.g., opportunities to try out different sports, increasing activity in the school day)
  2. Seminars discussing the results of the project in all participating cities, as well as dissemination of the results online.

Prior each meeting, the partners will discuss the theme in their own organization and prepare to share their results to the whole project group. The aim of the meetings is to create guidelines towards a more physically literary city.

After each meeting, there will be feedback and evaluation.

Meetings and progress in the project

The first meeting was a kick-off meeting for the whole project. The aim was to gather the project personnel from each participating organisation in order to go through the schedule, financial aspects, tasks, aims and objectives, as well as any practical information or concerns relating to the project such as ways for communication. Since all key members of the project have not met each other before, the meeting was also about networking and getting to know one another to guarantee swift communication and cooperation throughout the project.

Day 1:


Day 2:

Visit to the university and Hippos hosted by Eeva Simula, Sport services

Visit to Huhtasuo school hosted by Maria Typpö, hobby recess instructor

Visit to Keski-Palokka school, physical active learning lesson

Visit JBA’s elite team’s practise

Work with project revising the project objectives and execution.

Day 2

Work with project confirming the dates of the study visits, discussing the practical issues such as internal communication, setting the dates for monthly conference calls between the core group and deciding on online project tools and platforms.

Visit Rally

Visit to Smart Kangas hosted by Mika Katakko

Day 3


Thursday the 15th of September to Friday the 16th of September it was time for the third meeting regarding the IMPACT project. This meeting was hosted by us in Umeå. The project partners from Tartu and Finland were invited to a rainy visit in Umeå.

Thursday 15 september

We started our program Thursday morning with several presentations. First an introduction of the city of Umeå. Secondly a presentation of RF/SISU and thirdly the pre-school Ejderdunet gave a very interesting presentation of the power in implementing the mindset of physical literacy in a pre-school. Finally, the project partners presented their assignment for this meeting which was to reflect on findings of similarities and differences between our countries. Umeå should have been the last city to visit but due to both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine we have had to postpone the whole project which means that the final visit will be to Tartu in November.

After lunch we went on three guided tours which started at IKSU. IKSU is one of the biggest fitness centres in Europe and is also a sports club.

Another tour was to Fritidsbanken which is a library for sports equipment powered by RF/SISU and Idrottsservice. Anyone can borrow equipment for free.

Nolia sports field was the last guided tour. At Nolia there are several facilities used for different sports for example indoor football, floorball, ice-hockey, curling, track and field and tennis. All the participants were also offered to walk along the river through a physical literacy path before dinner.

Friday 16 september

For the early risers Friday morning offered an opportunity to go kayaking in the river. A significant part of the Finnish delegation took part in the activity even though it was pouring rain.

After that, the project meeting joined the Change the Game-conference at Mötesplats Stöcke. The location in itself is interesting. It is the first facility in Sweden built with physical literacy as a compass. It is a small sports club in a village outside of Umeå which has gathered both commitment and money during seven years to make this dream come true. It is impressive. One part of the programme was to study their innovative solutions in the facility. The theme for this year´s Change the Game conference was “Cooperation and Community Development”. Dean Kriellaars, professor at the University of Manitoba in Canada, an absolute world authority in the field of Physical Literacy started this day. Among the other speakers were Niklas Huss from Mindshift Sweden and Kajsa Mickelsson the secretary General of the Committee for the Promotion of Increased Physical Activity appointed by the government.

After lunch at Mötesplats Stöcke, we went back by bus to Umeå and Idrottens hus (house of sports) to continue our project meeting. We started by reflecting on these two days in Umeå and the IMPACT project. After that, we discussed a future cooperation between our countries. One idea called PL 360 was discussed. We closed the day with cooperation and talks in smaller groups. To this the foundation behind Change the Game joined to tell the story about their history and work. During this session we also planned for our meeting in Tartu in November.

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