• Polona Fonda

ENGSO and The European Lotteries highlight the importance of sport for mental health & well-being

Within the framework of the European Week of Sport (23-30 September 2021), ENGSO and The European Lotteries (EL) highlighted the importance of grassroots sport for mental health and well-being during a joint webinar, which was held on Monday, 27 September 2021.



ENGSO and EL share the same core values of responsibility, sustainability and integrity and are unified in their efforts to promote mental health and well-being through sport and physical activity in order to engage sport clubs, coaches and citizens at grassroots level to be active and prioritise to mental well-being.


EL are one of the partners in our Erasmus+ funded project SPIRIT which aims to develop a framework for humane, inclusive and empowering coaching and sport clubs that nurture mental wellbeing.


The project is based on an idea, that the implementation of the concept of positively humane coaching can decrease drop-out levels in sport, inspire citizens to be physically active and therefore contribute to improving public health.


The webinar began with welcome speeches from Stefan Bergh, ENGSO President, and Hansjörg Höltkemeier, President of EL.


Stefan Bergh, ENGSO President, highlighted the importance of working together towards a common goal:’"Cooperation is a must. We must work together and include several stakeholders, from international organisations to local sport clubs, in order to address and prioritise mental health in and through sport. I would like to thank our long-term partner The European Lotteries, for a fruitful and inspiring cooperation, and for helping us improve the lives of Europeans through strengthening the grassroots sport movement in Europe”.

Hansjörg Höltkemeier, President of EL, added, ‘‘The pandemic has brought us all more digital interactions which no doubt has a negative impact on our physical health. As a result, the role of sport for physical and mental health is more important than ever. EL and ENGSO share common values and now is the time to follow up and accelerate our common initiatives and projects.’’




Rachel May, SPIRIT project manager, presented the current outcomes and findings of the of project. She was followed by SPIRIT partners, Gijs Vercoutere, from Minor Ndako, and Wim Poelmansfrom, from The Flemish Athletics Federation, who shared best practices on sport being a vehicle to promote mental health and physical activity among people

with a migrant background.


ENGSO Youth Committee member Iva Glibo highlighted that mental ill-health is the most common health issue among young people, and stressed the importance of working together to establish initiatives and policies that will help youth cope with challenges related to mental health.

Two EL Members (Norsk Tipping and OPAP) closed the webinar by emphasising the important role national lotteries play in supporting grassroots sport communities and providing a sustainable source of funding to social projects and sport in Europe.

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