The SHARE initiative (SportHub: Alliance for Regional development in Europe) is a platform gathering the sport movement, academia, cities and regions to promote the role of sport and physical activity in regional and local development.
Sport and physical activity make a tremendous contribution to regional development through their impact on a number of key policy areas such as: innovation and research, social cohesion and inclusion, employability, territorial regeneration and environmental protection, as evidenced in the 2016 study on the contribution of sport to regional development through Structural Funds. Unfortunately, these impacts are still not sufficiently known, and sport is therefore underserved in terms of public policies and funding. As part of the Union’s aim to develop the European dimension in sport, more systematic mobilisation of EU programmes and funds for sport should be achieved, in particular to exploit its value as a tool for local and regional development.
The SHARE initiative aims to:
- Ensure that sport and physical activity are adequately taken into account for EU, national, regional and local policy-making in particular Cohesion Policy, designed to encourage the regional and local development in EU Member States;
- Strengthen the cross-sectorial approach of sport in view of the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 main policy objectives;
- Unlock different funding streams for sport so that it can deliver its full potential for regional development. The Cohesion Policy funds are particularly important in this respect.
The main activities to deliver on these objectives include:
- Supporting evidence-based policy-making (i.e. developing and pooling studies, data and statistics);
- Developing capacity-building activities for public and private institutions at local, regional and national levels to help them acquire the right skills and knowledge related to SHARE objectives;
- Carrying out advocacy, awareness-raising actions and events, including dissemination of evidence and good practices related to the contribution of sport to regional development.
The SHARE core experts and stakeholders have worked together to produce two policy papers exploring how sport and physical activity can contribute to the future objectives of the EU Cohesion Policy. These papers, are widely disseminated to ensure all relevant decision-makers are equipped with this knowledge and to harness sport’s contribution for local and regional development. KEA is the scientific coordinator of these papers:
- The contribution of sport to regional development through Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 available here;
- Mapping Smart Specialisation Strategies for sport available here.
The SHARE initiative has equally developed a capacity-building programme aiming to help local partners (public authorities or the sport movement) to shape sport-driven local development strategies, and make the most of existing funding. The programme has revealed a real need across regions in Europe to create or deepen the knowledge on the role of sport to regional development on one hand and to empower local and regional stakeholders to develop sport-based initiatives with ESIF on the other hand.
The SHARE initiative is a partnership-driven organisation. Its strength derives from its supporters’ engagement and a knowledge hub of relevant organisations, initiatives and networks: we are working with a myriad of different types of organisations, including primarily the sport movement, cities and regions, but also universities, clusters and industry, which are essential parts of the sport and physical activity tissue across Europe.
SHARE is continuously building bridges between these different stakeholders and it welcomes any like-minded initiatives, projects or organisations to join!