The coordinator of the project is the ITALIAN LEISURE FEDERATION - FITeL Nazionale. The federation was founded in 1993 on the initiative of the trade union confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL, in order to improve the associative experiences of company recreational clubs and other bodies whose purpose is the promotion of recreational activities. In particular, the Association promotes the development of artistic, cultural, sporting and social tourism activities. For some years the Federation has been looking at the associative world in general, implementing the new regulations of the third sector. It represents the associationism that originates from art. 11 of law 300, in public institutions, ministries, CNEL, local authorities, public and private bodies. On 10 January 2001, FITeL was recognized as a National Assistance Organization - National assistance organization by decree of the Ministry of the Interior. This recognition allows the Federation to issue permits for the provision of food and drinks. Furthermore, it is registered in the register of social promotion associations (article 7 of law 383/2000) at no. 34 with Decree of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies. FITeL has obtained 3rd level accreditation from the National Office of Civil Services (law 64/2001). It can, alone or in collaboration with other non-accredited bodies, participate in national calls for civil service projects. Since 2006 it has been recognized by the Revenue Agency as the beneficiary of the 5 per thousand income tax. FITeL is divided into regional, provincial and territorial recreation centres. It is part of the Third Sector Forum and of the OITS (international organization of social tourism). FITeL promotes sporting, artistic, cultural and social tourism initiatives in synergy with CRAL; offers legal, administrative, fiscal and training services for CRAL and affiliated associations; publishes the periodical "Tempo Libero"; publishes the monthly tax bulletin. Among the most significant initiatives carried out by the Federation we remember the "School and football in open stadiums" event, created in synergy with the Ministry of Education, CONI and the National Football League; the National Intercral Sailing Championship; the Intercral National Tennis Championships; the Intercral National Fishing Championship; the Intercral National Cycling Championship; the National Burraco Championship; the national review of amateur theater "Proscenio Aggettante"; the Literary Poetry Prize; the "La Pellicola d'Oro" Award; the Off Court Film Festival (On Line Film Festival).
Various initiatives are promoted with the CRT FITeL of the Duchy and other associations in the provinces of Piacenza and Parma Ovest, including: the World Humor Awards international humorous drawing competition, now in its fifth edition with the participation of over 250 artists from from 72 countries. The first edition of the literary competition "Food in literature" which in 2020 was enriched with the section: "vine, grapes, wine in poetry and literature".
Partner of the BikE Encounters project
:: Instytut Rozwoju Sportu i Edukacji (IRSE) - Institute for the Development of Sports and Education (Poland) - Institute for the Development of Sports and Education, operational since 2011, focusing mainly on education, physical culture and culture in type. It based its activity on cooperation with non-governmental and higher education organizations, associations, clubs, schools, universities. An experience that includes editorial activities (publications relating to sport, physical activity) and organizational activities (conferences, seminars, training courses). The Foundation is a member of the European Traditional Sports and Games Association (ETSGA) / Association Européenne des Jeux et Sports Traditionnels (AEJeST) and International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA). IRSiE Foundation is a partner of the Krajowa Sieć Obszarów Wiejskich (National Rural Network). The Foundation publishes the Journal of Sport and Recreation (http://www.sportinstytut.pl/artykuly,journal-of-sport-and-recreation.html). The members of the Foundation deal with many aspects of sport and recreation. They are people specialized in the field of sports psychology, communication and media in sports, recreational and sporting activities, marketing and sports management. They also have experience working with children, adults, people with disabilities. Foundation members have project experience (e.g. Erasmus, Cosme, structural funds, Norwegian funds). The Foundation has implemented projects with national funds, with the Norwegian fund and with the Erasmus Plus programme.
:: Fundación Red Deporte y Cooperación - RDYC (Spagna)
Fundación Red Deporte y Cooperación is a Spanish NGO that promotes education, health, integration and employability through sport. They are experts in over 20 countries around the world running programs in the community, focusing on youth development. Red Deporte was sponsored by the EU Youth Program with the European Voluntary Service, Grundtvig and the EU Preparatory Action in the field of sport. In 2002 RDC launched its sport “Football3” for the integration department in Spain, working in schools, educational centers and sports clubs that promote youth integration and employability. Sport has been used as a tool to develop life skills and employability, focusing on disadvantaged young people and women at risk of social exclusion. Since 2004 they have organized numerous training courses and conferences on sport as a tool for psycho-social integration. Red Deporte is an NGO with ECOSOC consultative status in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. We are also members of other platforms and networks: Affiliate member of FIFA "Football for Hope" and the "International Council of Sport and Physical Education" (ICSSPE). Partner in Spain of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Member of the Anna Lindh network, the largest organization in the world to coordinate 3,000 civil society organizations promoting respect, understanding and intercultural dialogue in the Mediterranean region and of the FARE network, Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE).
Why and how the project addresses the topic selected in the eForm application (section B.2) and European policies in the field of sport, analysis of real and adequate needs, the extent to which the objectives address issues relevant for the participating organizations and target groups.
Cycling in the European context
Sports play a fundamental role in European societies, as they not only contribute to the health and well-being of individuals but also have a significant economic impact on the continent. Among the various nations, there are different preferences regarding types of sports, and cycling seems to be one of the most popular sports in Europe. Cycling is gaining significant popularity as a means of daily transportation and as a recreational or vacation activity. People primarily choose to use a bicycle for positive reasons: it is fun, it promotes physical health, it is environmentally friendly, it provides fast transportation in congested urban areas, and it is cost-effective (as shown in the study promoted by the European Parliament in 2010, "Promotion of cycling" by the Directorate-General for Internal Policies).
In 2017, the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) published a EU recommendation that partially classifies and quantifies the benefits of cycling in the EU (European Cycling Strategy, Recommendations for Green Growth and Efficient Mobility in 2030). The report found that cycling in the 28 EU Member States creates economic benefits of 513 billion euros annually, which is more than 1,000 euros per inhabitant. It demonstrates that the benefits of cycling stem not only from specific and isolated sectors such as transportation or environmental policy but also from many other sectors in which the EU has competencies, such as industrial policy, employment, health, and social policy. The benefits of cycling also extend to social sectors such as refugee integration, access to mobility, employability, health, etc. Furthermore, cycling has substantial added value in relation to EU policy objectives considering low-emission mobility, the cycling tourism industry, and the promotion of physical activity and health. For these reasons, in 2016, the European Parliament, in its response to the European Commission's midterm review of the 2011 White Paper on Transport, wrote a recommendation titled "The EU Cycling Roadmap to be included in the Commission's 2016 Work Program" to promote cycling culture throughout Europe. As a result, the Committee of the Regions adopted its own initiative opinion on an "EU Cycling Roadmap." More generally, recreational cycling is increasingly recognized as a clean and sustainable mode of transportation as well as a recreational activity and an essential part of intermodal plans for sustainable urban travel. However, despite all these benefits, cycling is still underutilized in many cities, and its effectiveness is often underestimated by national policies, as indicated by the European Parliament's study. There are significant differences in cycling culture among member states, and the sharing of best practices, both at the national and European levels, becomes a priority. Promotion of physical activity and quality. Among the various emerging needs regarding cycling in Europe, the importance of promoting bicycles to improve the quality of urban life and contribute to sustainability is evident. Recreational cycling is green, healthy, and cost-effective, and it can be practiced by everyone, from children to the elderly. As a physical activity, cycling reduces the symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle, increases fitness levels, and improves overall physical and mental health. Bicycle-friendly cities attract investments, encourage neighborhood revitalization, and can enhance the quality of life for citizens by reducing the proportion of daily traffic and, consequently, congestion and pollution. The aim of the "BikE Encounters" project is to encourage this sport and share ideas, initiatives, and best practices to promote cycling, even reaching out to non-cyclists as a pleasant and sustainable activity. The project focuses specifically on the current practice of amateur cycling sport in each partner country. This is a central issue for understanding the differences and common actions among partners in order to improve future activities and create new European networks. With the creation of a specific portal, BikEncounters, it will be possible to disseminate the produced materials and make them available and updated as open educational resources. It is also a tool to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of cycling, encouraging people to use bicycles. Promotion of amateur cycling sport as a means of social inclusion and social tourism.
Cycling as sustainable tourism
As a sustainable form of travel, cycling is a significant source of financial, economic, health and mobility benefits for tourism. According to a study commissioned by the European Parliament, "cycle tourism contributes over €44 billion to the European economy every year". Over the years, the EU Commission supports development initiatives that contribute to the promotion and development of more sustainable and responsible cycling tourism (such as Eurovelo). Social tourism includes all activities that contribute, in a fair and sustainable way, to greater access to holidays and tourism activities for all. A fundamental framework for responsible and sustainable tourism, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a comprehensive set of principles aimed at guiding key actors in tourism development. Aimed at governments, the travel sector, communities and tourists, it aims to maximize the benefits of the sector while minimizing its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies around the world. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly also endorsed the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as "a unique opportunity to advance the tourism sector's contribution to the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental, raising awareness of the real dimensions of a sector that is often underestimated"
Cycling as social inclusion
Through the European Commission, the EU has made the use of sport for social inclusion a priority: "In addition to being a great benefit for the physical and mental health of participants, sport and physical activity can be extremely valuable in the context of 'social inclusion and integration'. Cycling is important for reasons of social justice and inclusion. Low-income people use bicycles more and the right to mobility is fundamental and should be promoted in every way possible. Cycling is a means of transport accessible to the vast majority of people and therefore helps to reduce social imbalances. According to the European Parliament's analysis of the current state of cycling in the European Union (Moving cycling forward), cycling improves accessibility and offers people with low-cost access to education, employment and services and has a net positive social impact. Despite all these benefits, there is still little understanding of the potential of cycling as a promoter of social inclusion and there are only a few initiatives and organizations in Europe that promote sport in this sense. The “BikE Encounters” project responds to these European needs: a more sustainable way of tourism and social inclusion through the collection of sports and the sharing of good practices on amateur cycling as social inclusion and social tourism in partner countries. All materials will be uploaded to the BikE portal and shared as open-source online.
Promotion of Cultural and Historical Heritage
To strengthen the sense of belonging of European citizens to the European Union and promote European identity, on March 9, 2010, the European Commission adopted a proposal for the establishment of a European Heritage Label. The new European Heritage Label designates sites that have played a key role in the history and construction of European Union integration. Cultural heritage has always had universal value for individuals, communities, and societies and a significant role in shaping Europe's future. Safeguarding European cultural heritage is a fundamental priority for EU policies, which is why in 2018 the European Union declared 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's cultural heritage and strengthen a sense of belonging to a common European space.
Another objective of the "Bike Encounters" project is related to these issues. In fact, the aim of the project is to create social cycle touring routes in partner countries to promote the value of their typical landscape, historical, and cultural heritage and to create alternative and sustainable tourism itineraries. The cycling paths will support biodiversity, enhance the cultural and historical heritage of each partner country's cities, and improve the visibility of sustainable tourism as examples of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. By sharing experiences, know-how, and best practices among project partners on social inclusion, social tourism, cooperation, and the importance of engaging in physical activities, it will be possible to create an accessible model of cycling paths that aligns with EU policies promoting sustainable tourism and the historical and cultural heritage of partner countries.
In summary, the project will produce the following results: Research on how amateur cycling sport is used in partner countries; collection of best practices on social cycling; creation of social cycle touring itineraries in partner countries.
The target groups of the project are:
Sports operators in each partner country. Volunteers working in the field of sports, investing efforts in community development. Educators working through sports activities to facilitate social inclusion and community development. Civil society organizations active in promoting their territories through sports.
Sports clubs interested in expanding their capacities and capabilities in community development during sports activities.
The innovative aspect of this project lies in the variety of countries, backgrounds, and networks of participants coming together, sharing experiences, know-how, and best practices to strengthen their skills and create new networks. Each organization will share its specific area of expertise in sports, such as social tourism, cooperation (development, humanitarian programs, or peace promotion through sports activities), social integration, recreational activities, and leisure, creating mixed skills and a new multidisciplinary approach in the cycling sector. Another innovative aspect is the promotion of cycling as a means to enhance the cultural and historical heritage of European territories/cities.
EU Added Value
The EU added value of the project's impact on various aspects includes: Mobilizing EU cooperation in the cycling sector for the exchange and combination of complementary skills/efforts. The project partners are organizations of different sizes with different objectives, essential for promoting mutual learning and the transfer of capacities and skills. Exchange and comparison of best practices at the European level. In the European Union, cycling practices vary (see E.1), and there are more cycling-friendly countries with the best practices and different bicycle policies falling under the jurisdiction of member states. Comparisons between partner countries during proposed meetings aim to promote a cycling mobility culture in each partner country and promote future cycling activities and best practices at the European level.
In this project phase, the work program will be described clearly and comprehensively, including the stages for preparation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and dissemination.
Preparation and Project Launch
The actions that will be carried out in this phase by each organization are as follows: National project launch.
Project presentation to staff/volunteers/students. Partner presentation and formation of working groups.
Sharing of the GANTT chart, verification and sharing of the work plan, evaluation system, and quality controls with partner organizations.
The BikEncounters portal will primarily aim to disseminate materials produced during the various project actions and make them available as open educational resources. It will also serve as a tool to stay informed about the project's progress.
Communication and Dissemination Tools
These actions have two main purposes: Ensuring the best communication and document storage among partners. Creating useful tools for dissemination (Facebook page, YouTube, etc.).
Implementation of Intellectual Outputs
Research on how amateur cycling sport is used in partner countries
The research focuses on the state of the art of amateur cycling sport in the consortium countries.
Collection of best practices
Collection of best practices on amateur cycling, such as social inclusion and social tourism, in partner countries.
Creation of social cycle touring routes in partner countries
Creation of cycling itineraries in the consortium countries. Coordinator: Red Deporte
In this phase, partners will establish all the necessary actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. All results, distributed under a common creative license, will be freely usable and downloadable, and it will be possible to translate them into additional languages.
The sustainability of the created products is linked to certain structural factors and specific actions: Inclusion of created products within the current activities of participating organizations.
Products will be created with low maintenance costs, utilizing free tools offered by the internet as much as possible. Dissemination will utilize tools used by organizations in their current activities, such as organization websites, email lists, newsletters, social media pages, etc.
Cross-cutting project management activities will be carried out to ensure the quality and integrity of the project process, activities, and results. To monitor the project's progress, management actions will take place throughout the project's lifespan and will include: Defining methods and tools for management to share models and rules for preparing activity reports and financial reports, and to define internal communication rules. Monitoring activity management to ensure the achievement of project objectives, completion of intellectual outputs, adequate budget control, time management, and support for quality control of activities.
Establishing contracts and agreements with the EU Agency and partners, creating national working groups, establishing methods and tools for communication between coordinators and national working groups.
Ensuring constant communication between coordinators through the use of communication tools and common rules, supported by a group facilitation approach. The five transnational coordination meetings will be organized in different cities and locations in partner countries.
Meeting D1.1-I, Rome, Italy, March 2019
Meeting D1.2-II, Warsaw, Poland, June 2019
Meeting D1.3-III, Madrid, Spain, November 2019
Meeting D1.4-IV, Madrid, Spain, March 2020
Meeting D1.5-V, Torun, Poland, October 2021
Meeting D1.6-VI, Roma, Italy, November-December 2021
The final meeting of the project will take place in Piacenza with the aim to: disseminate the project's results;
establish sustainability actions; define management and reporting actions; familiarize the partners with the characteristics of the Piacenza territory.
Communication and dissemination activities will be carried out throughout the project duration. The partner organization, the BikEncounters website, and social media publications will play an active role in disseminating and sharing the project's results and issues with coaches and amateur athletes from sports clubs, associations working in the field of social inclusion through sports, amateur cycling organizations, social tourism organizations, and local communities.
Availability - All results, distributed under a common creative license, will be freely usable and downloadable, and it will be possible to translate them into other languages.