Birmingham to host Europod 2019
Posted: Mon, 16 Jul 2018 10:43
Birmingham will host the next instalment of Europod in 2019, following another successful exchange programme held this year in Lyon, France between 30 June – 6 July 2018.
Sport Birmingham co-ordinated Birmingham's involvement in the Europod exchange for the third successive year, with over 50 participants attending from the city. Many of these were young people aged 12-16 connected to local community sports clubs across the city.
The Europod exchange is a tri-national exchange programme between the twinned cities of Frankfurt, Lyon and Birmingham which has been running since 2009, and has included Birmingham for the past 3 years. It has the aim of bringing young people together through their passion of sport and helping to widen their awareness of different cultures, languages and opportunities available to them. Birmingham's involvement in the exchange has grown year on year and now we have the pleasure of hosting the exchange for the first time in 2019.
This year there were over 300 participants in total, participating in 11 different sports. The exchange included a communal day in which all participants came together at Grand Parc Miribel Jonage to compete in an Olympiads competition and integrate with all of the different sports involved.
A City Reception was hosted by the City of Lyon in the Hotel de Ville, with Cllr Jayne Francis from Birmingham City Council attending and speaking to all participants about the experiences they have shared of different cultures and cherishing the memories they have made. Cllr Francis also spoke about how young people represent the future of the cities and that a project such as this can allow young people to express themselves, while building stronger relationships between the twinned cities.
The community sports clubs involved in this year's exchange from Birmingham included Continental Star FC, Bidgley Power Badminton Club, Erdington Judo Club, Continental Stars Table Tennis Club, Revolution Gymanstics, the Aerobreaks project delivered by Birmingham Hippodrome and Sutton Coldfield Rifle and Pistol Club. Each club has a partnership with clubs from the other two cities and organise their own sports and cultural programme of activities as part of the wider exchange.
A key element of the Europod exchange is that the young participants are accommodated with families whilst in the host city, which allowed them the opportunity to integrate into the French culture and improve their language skills. For many participants this was their first opportunity to travel to France and experience the culture, language and cuisine of another European country, therefore it was a great experience for all of those involved. One of the football participants said "It was really fun and gave me the chance to learn about France, their language and culture".
The Europod exchange can be a life-changing experience for those involved and an opportunity that they will remember for a long time, with a participant from Erdington Judo Club saying that the whole experience has "opened me up to a new view of life".
The exchange is made possible each year through funding received from the Erasmus+ programme, and also the commitment of volunteers from all of the sports clubs involved.
With Birmingham having been passed the responsibility of hosting the next exchange which will take place in July 2019 it is a very exciting time to be involved as we prepare to welcome our partners from Lyon and Frankfurt. We hope to work with additional partners throughout the next year to ensure that the Europod exchange in Birmingham is a success and to showcase the great things that Birmingham has to offer.
You can find out more about Europod by contacting Tom McIntosh on 07774337388 or by email: Tom.Mcintosh@Sportbirmingham.org