Sport and physical activity close to home
The government promotes a society where sporting values are respected and where everyone has the chance to lead a healthy and active life. One of its main aims is to promote healthy lifestyles in children, especially those growing up in low-income families.
Government Programme on sport and physical activity close to home
The government wants to make it easier for people to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle, for instance by providing sports facilities close to home or making physical activity easy to combine with work or school life. To this end, the government has set up the Programme on sport and physical activity close to home. Its 3 main instruments are:
Neighbourhood sports motivatorsNeighbourhood sports motivators (previously known as ‘sport liaison officers’) are tasked with motivating people of all ages to take up sport or become more physically active. The motivators not only operate in the sports sector (e.g. a sports club) but also in a social sector (e.g. education, care institution, or child care). Extra funding has been made available to municipal authorities for recruiting neighbourhood sports motivators. Municipalities will also contribute from their own funds.
Sport Impulse: grants for sport and exercise projectsSport Impulse grants are intended for sports clubs, fitness centres and other sports providers to set up activity programmes for sedentary or low participation groups. The main requirement is that they work together with local neighbourhood partners such as schools, care institutions, childcare centres and the business community. The projects must be aimed at one of three target groups: sedentary people, overweight children, and youth in low-income neighbourhoods. The maximum grant period is two years. After that, the activity should continue without government funding. The next round for applications will be opened sometime between February and March 2015.
Sharing expertiseThere are several ways in which municipal authorities and sport providers can learn about motivating people to become more physically active, such as at regional meetings for sharing knowledge and the annual expertise day at national level. Central government has made agreements with the sport sector and municipal authorities about activities in the Programme. The Programme was launched in 2012 and will continue to the end of 2016.
Youth Sports Fund for low-income families
Everyone should be able to lead an active and healthy life, including children growing up in low-income families. To make this possible, the government supports the Youth Sports Fund, which helps children who would like to join a sports club but whose parents cannot afford the membership fees.
Sport and school
Sport is not only important for children's health. It also enhances their social development. The government wants schools to promote sport, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. This aim is enshrined in the Education Agenda for Sport, Physical Activity and a Healthy Lifestyle 2012-2016, a policy document compiled by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in association with the Primary Education Council, the Secondary Education Council and the Secondary Vocational Education Council.
Sufficient cycle paths, footpaths, playing fields and playgrounds make outdoor activities safer and more fun. Municipal authorities are responsible for maintaining these facilities and ensuring that they are accessible and safe to use. Central government supports municipal authorities by collecting and disseminating examples of good practice.