16- 19 May 2017: Bremen Interregional Event


The Bremen Interregional Event took place from the 16th until the 19th of May 2017 with the participation of 7 INSPORT+ partners: Podes from Lisbon (Portugal), FAISEM from Andalusia (Spain), OFIS from Redon (France), Megálló Group Foundation from Budapest (Hungary), NGO My World from Bulgaria, Polisportiva Aurora from Prato (Italy) and the Municipality of Prato (Italy).

The event started with the seminar on the topic “Sports and Inclusion – from local and European view”. Currently, inclusion is not only being intensively discussed from different angles but also practiced on different levels. The inclusion of people with various types of disabilities and impairments especially in alleged everyday situations, such as sport, is a societal challenge.

After short welcoming addresses by Heidi Mergner, director of the Initiative and Dr. Joachim Steinbrück, Representative for People with Disabilities (LBB), State of Bremen, the seminar included a presentation of Good Practices to show what has been done in order to achieve full inclusion in sports. The presentations were given by:

  • Michael Arends, Werder Bremen, “Werder Bewegt” Department for Inclusion, who presented examples of their inclusive activities, sports offers and sport events for disabled people. It is remarkable, that a professional football club like “Werder Bremen” provides inclusive sport activities and uses his public awareness level to promote the idea of inclusion.
  • Petra Schürer from Martinsclub, the largest organisation for peoples with disabilities and provider of leisure time activities, talked about inclusive table tennis which began, after a “disabled” table tennis team met a “normal” one by using the same gym. After a while both teams made an agreement to do some parts of the training sessions together.
  • Dr. Günter Scharf from the regional organisation of the Special Olympics focused on their activities, especially on the regional games which take part annually with the participation from up to 5.000 peoples from Bremen and Lower Saxony.

Bremen politics and administration offices were represented in the seminar by Dr. Joachim Steinbrück and his staff members Kai Steuck and Kai Baumann presenting funding possibilities and other programs. The main topic in this context is the implementation of the UNCRPD. It was discussed since 2012 in several work-shops and meetings with the participation of disabled people and their organisations. The results led in 2014 to the local agenda which became legislative in 2014 by a decision of the local government; in this agenda 198 different actions were developed in different fields: housing, education, employment, health, information/communication, culture and, last but not least, sports.

The local agenda in inclusive sports focuses mainly on the project InSpo which was introduced by Dieter Cwielong (Bremen Municipality, Sports Department), Maleike Schubert (Bremerhaven Municipality), Dr. Günter Scharf (Special Olympics). The intention is to create 7 jobs for disabled people, and the overall objectives are to improve the participation of disabled people in sports and promote the networking between different organisations, institutions and stakeholders (e.g. sport clubs, schools) in this field. The project InSpo is financed by “Ausgleichsabgabe”, a special tax for employers who do not give jobs to disabled people; currently 3 jobs have been created and a further job in the regional sports federation will be created next.

Beside the project InSpo there are further actions in the agenda which intend, for instance, to improve accessibility for peoples with disabilities to sport facilities and training programs for sport trainers.

During the seminar there were also had contributions from INSPORT+ partner organizations from different European countries: Sara Monti (Municipality of Prato) gave a presentation about the INSPORT+ Project, while Alessandro Balzani (Polisportiva Aurora, Prato/Italy) Maxime Neveu (Office Intercommunal des Sports du Pays de Redon/France) and Peter Havasi (Megálló Group Foundation/ /Hungary) presented the state of inclusion in sports in their respective regions or countries.

The results of the seminar can be summarised as it follows: in Bremen, there are organisations for disabled people and a few sport associations which provide inclusive sports. The cooperation is not very developed and require some improvements. Networking is a task for the next years. The InSpo project has started to foster networking but its experience is new and needs more time to achieve its results. European experiences and good practice examples in inclusive sports by the INSPORT+ partners can be helpful for the local projects.

During the Bremen interregional Event visiting local good practice examples of inclusive sports was a main topic as well. We had the opportunity to participate in a training session of “Werder Bewegt”, an inclusive football offer of the professional football club Werder Bremen, which was introduced one day before by Michael Arends in the seminar.

Another good practice example we have visited was the sailing group of the Initiative. In the summer season one time a week Initiative’s users and employees meet in the old harbour for sailing; unfortunately the day the weather was not very good and the participants enjoyed the experience.

During the event information about the work of Initiative, the target group and the structure of the organisation were also given, including a visit of “Gemüsewerft”, an urban gardening project and a working opportunity for the users, gave a presentation of their work. The presentation took place in the garden.

The final day was dedicated to the “9th Bremer River-Cup”, an inclusive football tournament and a public event that Initiative organises since 2008 to make peoples with disabilities visible as people who enjoy to play sports. With this tournament Initiative also intends to raise the awareness of the public to inclusive sports.

In the 9th Bremer River-Cup 8 teams took part. All teams came from our local and regional partnership, which was build in the framework of sports and inclusion, and in the context of the INSPORT+ project as well.

In the ranking of the tournament, the INSPORT+ team, made up by the INSPORT+ Delegations finished on a very good third place, after the strong Via Altona team from Hamburg, while the winning and first place was won by the inviting football team of the Initiative, the AC MATTI.