The Active School Communities project will equip community sport organisations with an adaptable toolkit they can use to collaborate more effectively with schools on physical initiatives for school students.

The project’s emphasis on strengthening the links between community sport organisations and schools offers a low cost solution to improving physical activity and physical education in schools, as well as opportunities for cooperation by forging partnerships between stakeholders who are already working at the community level, but often separately, to encourage children to move more.

The project will contribute to addressing the EU’s ambitions to enhance collaboration between the education and grassroots sport sectors. The overall objective of the Active School Communities project is to build the capacity of community sport organisations to harness potential partnerships in the school setting for the promotion of sport and physical activity for healthy lifestyles and better learning outcomes.

Research shows that too many people across Europe are not physically active enough. This has a serious impact on general health, the frequency of preventable diseases, and the number of premature deaths.

The World Health Organisation and the European Commission recommend that school aged young people should participate in 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, in forms that are developmentally appropriate, enjoyable, and involve a variety of activities.

Sports and physical activity organisations and schools are well placed to address the decline in physical activity and to provide an appropriate offer of physical activity, particularly if they work in partnerships. The ASC toolkit is designed to improve the effectiveness of these partnerships.

THE TOOLKIT INCLUDES:

  • Advocacy documents for sports organisations to share with local and national policy makers, young people, parents and schools in order to explain the benefits of increased physical activity and the contribution of the ASC programme in particular
  • a self-assessment tool for sports organisations to evaluate their commitment and capacity to work in school settings to increase physical activity in all young people
  • an action planning tool to enable sports organisations and schools to communicate and work effectively in partnership to increase physical activity for healthier lifestyles and better learning outcomes in their students

The project, jointly funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + programme and twelve national partners, will test the adaptability and viability of the toolkit in different national settings by trialling a pilot version in six European countries and arrive at a resource that can be rolled out Europe-wide in 2017.

The partnership is designed to foster interaction between community sport, education and government sectors across Europe in order to establish more inclusive and cohesive networks of community stakeholders in the promotion of Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA).