AMELIA’s PILOT ACTION at Zapaden park, Sofia (Bulgaria) – SPORT for GREEN – Green for Sport in the city

The “Sport for GREEN – Green for Sport” event held on 9th July 2023 in Zapaden Park, Sofia, was a  resounding success, promoting the values of active living, inclusivity, and sustainability in the heart of the community. Let’s find out a little bit more about this event in Bulgaria.

  • Who were the organisers and co-organisers involved in the pilot action?
  • Amateur Sports Leagues (ASL) + Volunteers + External staff (10 people)
  • Bulgarian Youth Forum (BYF)
  • Foundation “Sofia – European Capital of Sport” (under the umbrella of Sofia Municipality) National Association of Youth Workers in Bulgaria (NAYWB)
  • What are the general ideas and concepts standing behind your planned pilot actions?

The overarching idea behind this pilot action SPORT for GREEN – Green for  Sport in the city was to foster a deeper connection between sports, public spaces, and the environment. It  seeks to promote the transformation of public spaces into active, inclusive, and green areas that not only enhance physical activity but also contribute to the well-being and unity of communities. There were three  main aspects behind this activity: Inclusive Sports and Physical Activities, Greening Public Spaces and  Collaboration with Local Authorities from Sofia. 

Inclusive Sports and Physical Activities: The event encompassed a wide range of activities, from  practicing yoga in the park to badminton and petanque tournaments, as well as a cycling event. This wide range of activities encouraged people of all ages and physical abilities to participate in sports and  physical activities, promoting inclusivity and a healthier lifestyle.

Greening Public Spaces: One of the central concepts of this initiative was the greening of public spaces. By organizing sports and activities in a park setting, ASL emphasized the importance of green spaces in urban environments. Zapaden park as venue does not only provide a backdrop for sports but also contribute to cleaner air, reduced pollution, and improved mental well-being near the largests residential quarter in Sofia. 

Collaboration with Local Authorities: Working in collaboration with local authorities in Sofia demonstrated a commitment to creating a more sustainable and healthier urban environment. Such partnerships enable the development of policies and strategies that prioritize the well-being of citizens through sport and green initiatives. 

The pilot action aligns with the AMELIA project’s broader goal of creating a transnational movement to  enhance sporty lifestyles and inclusive public spaces. It recognized the importance of physical activity as a contributor to well-being and community spirit, in line with the New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative.  The pilot action strongly aligns with the NEB perspective, which emphasizes the integration of aesthetics,  sustainability, and well-being in urban design and development. The greening of public spaces, promotion  of physical activity, and collaboration with local authorities all contribute to a more sustainable urban  environment. It adheres to NEB’s vision of sustainability as a central component of architectural and urban planning. In terms of well-being this activity fits by creating active and inclusive public spaces. The initiative directly addresses the NEB’s focus on well-being by engaging different institutions with focus on it. Physical activity is recognized as a vital contributor to the well-being and health of individuals and communities. In  relation to the community Spirit, the event fostered a sense of community spirit by bringing people together to engage in sports and physical activities. NEB places importance on building strong communities and  social cohesion through innovative design and planning. Last but not least, аs part of the AMELIA project,  the pilot action promoted transnational collaboration and the sharing of best practices, aligning with NEB’s  goal of fostering collaboration across Europe to create more sustainable and aesthetically pleasing cities.

  • What activities were implemented?

Agenda: Sport for GREEN – Green for Sport Event

Date: 9th July 2023

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM: Registration and Welcome 

Participants are welcomed to the event. Event registrations start at 9 o’clock.

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Yoga in the Park

Start the day with a revitalizing yoga session led by certified instructors from BYF. All participants are  welcome to join and experience the benefits of outdoor yoga.

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM: Badminton Tournament

Compete in a friendly badminton tournament. Players of all skill levels are encouraged to participate.  Prizes await the winners!

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Green Chess Tournament

Test your strategic skills in a chess tournament. Open to players of all ages and abilities. Trophies for the  top performers.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Petanque Tournament for everybody 

Join the petanque tournament and experience this exciting French ball game. Teams will compete in a fun  and inclusive competition.

2:00 PM Cycling Event – Dolcini Cup

Conclude the day with the thrilling Dolcini Cup cycling event. Cyclists of all levels can participate and  enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Zapaden Park both professionals and amateurs.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Closing Ceremony

Gather for a closing ceremony to celebrate the day’s achievements. Prizes will be awarded to tournament  winners, and participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences.

Following the official program, participants are welcome to stay, socialize, and enjoy the greenery of  Zapaden Park. Food and refreshments will be available provided by ASL, along with opportunities to  engage with local organizations and learn about sustainability and green initiatives in the community.  Please note that the schedule is subject to change, and participants are encouraged to arrive early to ensure 

smooth registration. Enjoy a day filled with sports, fun, and community spirit in the beautiful surroundings  of Zapaden Park!

  • What were the main results and  outcomes of the pilot action?

The “Sport for GREEN – Green for Sport” event held on 9th July 2023 in Zapaden Park, Sofia, was a  resounding success, promoting the values of active living, inclusivity, and sustainability in the heart of the community. The morning began with an invigorating yoga session, setting the tone for a day of well-being and community engagement. It also featured a series of tournaments that brought  participants together in friendly competition. The badminton tournament showcased sportsmanship and skill,  while the chess tournament challenged strategic thinking. The petanque tournament offered an exciting and inclusive experience for participants. The event reached its pinnacle with the Dolcini Cup cycling event,  attracting cyclists of various levels to explore the beauty of Zapaden Park. The race fostered a sense of  camaraderie and emphasized the importance of active transportation.

The event also incorporated educational workshops and materials, enlightening participants about the  benefits of green spaces and sustainable urban development. This aspect of the event helped raise awareness about environmental sustainability and community well-being. The day concluded with a vibrant closing ceremony, where participants were recognized for their accomplishments in the tournaments. The event prizes were awarded, and participants shared their experiences and insights.

Beyond the official program, participants were encouraged to stay and enjoy the greenery of Zapaden Park.  The event facilitated community connections and provided opportunities for participants to engage with local organizations focused on sustainability and green initiatives.

Briefly, the “Sport for GREEN – Green for Sport” event highlighted the potential for positive change in  urban development and community engagement. By promoting active living, inclusivity, and sustainability,  it contributes to the transformation sought by the New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative, aligning  with its vision of sustainable, inclusive, and community-centered living spaces. The event’s success demonstrated the power of community involvement and the positive impact of green, inclusive, and active  public spaces. “Sport for GREEN – Green for Sport” is a testament to the potential for change and serves as an inspiration for future initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable urban development and community wellbeing.

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