The effects that the current financial and economic crisis are causing on the quality of life of people in Europe call for a united and realistic response of civil society and governments, so that, in our countries and regions, social cohesion may be maintained and the risk of a social breakdown avoided. In the present situation, the organisations that lead our project face a number of challenges. That is why they want both to use their strengths and identify their weaknesses, knowing that success depends on them. The Euroregion Pyrenees Mediterranean, UCEC, USEP, UISP and URV possess the assets and tools which are necessary to address these challenges.
Some studies indicate that the participation of immigrants in sports activities is low (Baqué & Rosa, 2009; Diputació de Barcelona, 2006; García Ferrando, Manuel; Llopis Goig, 2011; Kennett, 2006). Foreign populations have lower membership levels than nationals in sports clubs (Baqué & Rose, 2009). However, nonprofit sport organisations that target the general population are the type of organisations that have the higher level of acceptance among immigrants, something that demonstrates the enormous potential for inclusion through sport.
According to the White Paper on Sport (Brussels, 2007), “sport promotes a shared sense of belonging and participation and may therefore also be an important tool for the integration of immigrants. It is in this context that making available spaces for sport and supporting sport-related activities is important for allowing immigrants and the host society to interact together in a positive way.” Besides, the same document states that “non-profit sport activities contributing to social cohesion and social inclusion of vulnerable groups can be considered as social services of general interest.”
We believe that it is necessary to define more precisely the sport profile of different ethnic backgrounds, specifying the levels and types of practice according to origin, age and gender. This first step, which is a diagnostic of the situation, will enable us to identify specific needs for the promotion of sports and discover what can be used in groups that are less concerned by sport.
Two main objectives of the project SPIN become then clear:
- Promoting social inclusion of immigrant people through grassroots sports and sport for all.
- Supporting the mobility of volunteers, coaches, managers, and staff of organisations and non-profit sports associations of the countries participating in the project.