As we are all busy finalising the work for this strange year, it’s also a good time to look back and consider some of the successes we have managed to pull through. Year 2020 has been hard on us, sport activities being restricted at all levels and incomes being cut down. But it has not been all bad.
At ENGSO, we are grateful for the continued support of our members for our work. You showed up in numbers when we organised our online seminars, you proposed ideas how we could serve you better, and you helped us keep our cooperation dynamic and fruitful throughout the difficult months.
Some of the other important successes I’d like to list are happening within our projects. We managed to submit a successful proposal in the Erasmus+ Sport call – for the third year in a row. I couldn’t be prouder of our team! EQUIP for equality in practice will begin in 2021, with the aim of implementing equality policies and existing good practices. We are excited to begin this groundbreaking work with the highly competent consortium.
Our two other Erasmus+ projects – CHAMP and SPIRIT – have been working intensively and are gaining momentum. At a time when sport clubs are struggling, and the pandemic is creating enormous stress for the mental health of citizens, the projects could not be timelier. The CHAMP Massive Open Online Course, an innovative and interactive online learning tool, will be published in early 2021 to help sport clubs adopt innovative approaches to develop their offer and increase their membership. The SPIRIT project is currently finalising its scientific report and a collection of good practices on sport and mental wellbeing, which will serve as the backbone for the whole project. Stay tuned for more!
After first postponing our General Assembly (GA) and then moving it online, ENGSO members got together on 12 November to take some very important decisions in the 28th ENGSO GA. I am extremely pleased for the election of Sara Massini, nominated by OPES Italia, as new ENGSO Secretary General, and of Edina Andrejko, nominated by the Hungarian Competitive Sports Federation, as ExCom member. Both will strengthen the composition of the ENGSO ExCom and the overall work of ENGSO with their experience and competence.
While I am sorry for having missed the opportunity to have the GA at the Faroe Islands as originally planned, we are happy to announce that our kind Faroese colleagues are welcoming us also in 2021. Save the date of the 29th ENGSO GA, to be organised on 11–13 June in Torshavn, Faroe Islands.
The 3rd edition of the European Sport Platform was also moved online and organised on 13 November. After the experience of online seminars throughout 2020, and having the Lithuanian Sports University (LSU) as our exceptional host, the technical quality of the event was excellent, as well as the content. Many thanks to the event partners – LSU, the Lithuanian Union of Sports Federations and the European Lotteries – for working efficiently, constructively and flexibly to ensure the success of the event! The two timely topics, “Equality within sport – from policy to practice” and “Respect! Sport against violence and bullying” sparked interesting debates inspired by our most competent speakers and moderators.
The coming years will be big on equality for us, not only for the work to be done in EQUIP, but also us tapping into the multiple equality initiatives at the European level. ENGSO and its Equality Within Sport (EWS) Committee will be represented in the European Commission’s High-Level Group on gender equality by EWS Committee member Sarah Townsend, and we are very much looking forward to working to support the group to push equality within sport forward in Europe.
2021 marks the beginning of new periods for EU sports policy, as both the new EU Work Plan for Sport and Erasmus+ Programme will kick off. We have been working together with our partners and EU decision makers to shape these initiatives, so that they are relevant for voluntary-based grassroots sport. We are looking forward to contributing to their implementation and, as always, we’ll be there to bring the perspective of the civil society of sport to the policy debate.
With these thoughts, I wish all our members, partners and other followers a most deserved break from the daily work and a joyous festive season. Let’s hope for a New Year of happy reunions!