By Jana Stehlikova
At Workshop 3 dedicated to Innovative Approaches to Mobilisation, Kerry McDonald presented StreetGames, a sports charity that focuses on giving physical activity and volunteering opportunities to young people in disadvantaged communities across the UK through its Doorstep Sports initiative. His organisation’s effervescent take on physical activity was reflected in both the title of his presentation “Let’s Get Fizzical” and his message about mobilising hard-to-reach youth:
“It is not only about the physical activity, what we offer must be funny and inspiring. Young people we work with are not so into traditional sports, they prefer fitness and dance. What we need to offer them is easy access and low price. We think that physical inactivity within poor communities leads to inactivity in real life. And this must be changed,” McDonald said.
Dr. Fiona Chambers from the University College Cork in Ireland presented All Island All Active, a multi-sector cross-border research body which aims to increase levels of physical activity across of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Using physical activity as a medium to break down historical barriers across the entire island is the key motivation and objective for the programme:
“There are many things we all have in common within the island: we have the same cultural heritage, the same context and the same problems. Even though we can hear multiple voices there is one common goal,” Chambers said. “We need to learn from each other and follow the good examples, not create brand new infrastructure. Let’s cooperate. Unity is strength.”
Jacob Schouenborg, ISCA’s Secretary General, introduced the audience to bottom-up activation using the ISCA-led event MOVE Week as a model. He explained how it is possible to recruit more volunteer co-workers through such a broad-reaching campaign, provided that they are clear about what they need to do and have access to resources to get them started. In the context of MOVE Week, they are called MOVE Agents:
“You have to give them a role and a toolkit. And make the campaign both diverse and rich as well as unified,” Schouenborg advised.
“There is one good thing about our activities: We don‘t have an enemy! The only enemy we have to defeat is ourselves,” he concluded.