The FIS attended the inaugural ‘Together We Move’ event, facilitated by Coca-Cola Europe in London on October 23rd-24th. Over 160 academics, experts and active programme delivery partners from across Europe gathered at the event to discuss collaborative ways of working to help foster healthier, happier and more active communities.

The event was held at the headquarters of ‘StreetGames’ in Black Prince Community Hub in Lambeth, South London. StreetGames is a charity set up in 2007 bringing sport to the doorstep of young people in disadvantaged communities across the UK. The site is a former secondary school in an urban area, rescued from demolition in 2006 and transformed into a sports facility for the local community.

The provision of sporting activities has helped lower crime rates and has brought the local community together. It is a prime example of how sport can change and enrich people’s lives and transform communities. The StreetGames project is similar to the ‘FAI Late Night Leagues’ that run so successfully in Ireland and have also proven to reduce Garda call out rates significantly when they are held. Coca Cola supports Street Games as part of the London 2012 legacy project which aims to increase participation in sport in the UK.

Presentations were made by many of the different active lifestyle programmes that are funded by Coca Cola in Europe which were of great interest particularly when looking to what might be a possible in Ireland.

‘Mission Olympics’ in Germany sees different cities showcasing their sports clubs, infrastructure, and activities for citizens to try out and get involved in, on a special one day event.  128,000 people participate in the event each year. The competition attracts a €75,000 prize and according to Florian Frank, Head of Marketing, German Olympic Sports Confederation, ‘it is not dissimilar to the Tidy Towns concept in Ireland’ where communities are mobilised for a common goal which seems to be a thread that runs through many of these successful projects.

‘Beat the Street’ in the UK is a project that aims to get more children physically active through an international school walking competition. The competition uses swipe cards to monitor and track students’ walks to and from school during a four week period rewarding students who walk with points that are then converted into donations to charity. The competition involves schools across the world, – six in London and two in Vancouver and is looking to expand. Schools are encouraged to compete for a position in a league against other schools in their city, country and internationally in this innovative programme that inspires behaviour change. 3,600 children have participated in the competition so far.

The Federation of Irish Sport is a partner in the Coca Cola Thank You Fund which awards grants to eleven different projects promoting healthy lifestyles in Ireland amounting to €125,000 in total. Winners of the prize were announced on 6th November 2013 and more details can be found here.