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#PlayGreen, an innovative project to create active citizens

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Author: 
F Pere Tarrés

The project's kick-off meeting took place in Malta on 27-28 of March 2019.  Source: Ecoserveis

It aims to generate volunteering opportunities for young people focused on sport and the environment through the development of a pioneering format.

PlayGreen’s successful kick-off meeting was held in Malta on 27-28 of March 2019. This Erasmus+ project, leaded by Ecoserveis, aims to create volunteering opportunities for young people focused on sport and the environment through the development of an innovative format. To achieve this, PlayGreen hopes to create a methodology for greener sport events and develop a European network of organizations that will be able to enhance sustainability in grassroots sports through volunteering programs and sharing of good practices.

The project includes six partners which will work together to provide mentoring opportunities for young volunteers to empower them in their journey of raising environmental awareness through sports and in the process become active citizens. These partners are: ENGSO (Sweden), Malta Football Association-1900 (Malta), Futbols (Latvia), Eesti Jalgpall (Estonia), Voetbal Vlaanderen (Belgium), Ecoserveis - Project Leader (Spain).

The project partners will work to develop a ‘green’ football league, as a pilot case to test a new volunteering format based on the environment that will be then adapted to other sports. As four out of the six partners work directly with football clubs, the project will offer opportunities to:

  • Explore ways to involve a new group of people into volunteering and participating in sports
  • Increase environmental awareness in sport at grassroots level
  • Promote the development of green and leadership skills of volunteers that will be useful in their personal and professional life in the future.

Project’s background

To date, most sport volunteering programs in Europe have been focused on social inclusion, equality, intercultural exchange or other social-based approaches. On the other hand, the topic of protecting the environment through sports has not yet been tackled in depth.

Nonetheless, volunteering programs based on the environment have been proven as a great tool to enhance citizenship commitment to tackling social challenges and has been a key driver to behavioral changes.For example, the effects of climate change increasingly influence people to become more aware of the need to act and to engage in actions towards environmental protection and sustainable lifestyles. Therefore, considering how climate change awareness has been proven a powerful motivation to change people’s behavior, this project believes that creating volunteering opportunities based on the environmental impact of sports could attract new target groups that may not yet be deeply involved in sports, but could integrate them in their daily life as another dimension of living a sustainable life.


Kick-off meeting in Malta

The kick-off meeting was hosted by the Malta Football Association on 27-28 of March 2019. The first day was dedicated for the partners to get to know each other, to discuss their organizations’ best practices in attracting, motivating and empowering volunteers in sports and the environment, to create mutual understanding about the project and the roles of each partner in its delivery. The day continued with workshops on sports volunteering that ENGSO has prepared.

The second day commenced with a presentation and discussion about the communication and dissemination plan for the project that ENGSO is leading as well as a planning session for the first year of the project. A guide on environmental volunteering in sports, a research study, strategies, best practices and videos on engaging volunteers and greening sports events - which will disseminate the project and its findings - will be produced.


Next meeting: Estonia 2019

The next PlayGreen meeting will take place in Estonia in October 2019, at which some of the project’s young volunteers from each country will be invited to attend and take part in a mentoring program.

Until then, all partners will be busy in developing their communication campaigns in attracting volunteers and strategies to bridge sports and the environment to develop skilled and active young Europeans.

To keep updated on the project, you can follow its Facebook page.

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