Glasgow hosts International Conference Eurocities and ACES

Glasgow, (Scotland) recently hosted the International Conference on Health Inequalities and the Impact of Community-Based and Person-Centered Approaches on Well-being. This significant event brought together an array of cities, including Turku (Finland), Budapest (Hungary), Cologne (Germany), the Association of Sport and Municipalities (Netherlands), Espoo (Finland), Gent (Belgium), Tallinn (Estonia), and of course, Glasgow. The conference, which took place on the 24th and 25th of October 2023, focused on exploring the role of sports and physical activity in addressing health inequalities and fostering well-being in communities.

The conference began with a plenary session at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and Emirates Arena, where key insights were shared on various aspects, including youth engagement, health disparities, and the crucial role of sports and physical activity. The morning session featured several distinguished speakers, including the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Jacqueline McLaren, and Gian Francesco Lupatelli, Founder and President of ACES Europe. Presentations ranged from discussions on child and adolescent obesity to system-based approaches in promoting physical activity to combat health inequalities.

In the afternoon, attendees had the opportunity to visit three practical examples illustrating the role of sports and physical activity in community-based initiatives. These visits showcased the real impact of sports on health and well-being in local communities.

  1. Easterhouse Phoenix Community Centre: This center has emerged as a hub for sports, music, art, and learning, offering activities for people of all ages. Eric Sproul’s inspiring journey, where he found solace in cycling after battling depression, was shared, highlighting the transformative power of sports.
  2. Golf It! – The Unbound Joy of Golf: This unconventional golf club’s school and community program is inspiring the next generation of golfers, introducing them to the game in a fun and meaningful way.
  3. Pinkston Watersports: Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course at Pinkston Watersports offers urban watersports facilities, providing opportunities for paddlesport classes, community activities, and team building.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to sharing best practices among participating cities. Topics discussed included: achieving gender equality, utilizing Social Return on Investment for integrated policymaking, and creating Activity Friendly Environments. The event concluded with valuable takeaways and the exchange of innovative ideas.

This conference, hosted by Glasgow, the European Capital of Sport 2023, along with the coordination efforts of the Eurocities working group, provided a platform for cities from all over Europe to learn from one another and collaborate on improving community health and well-being through sports and physical activity.

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