Befriending Coordinator, Caitlin and Welcoming Volunteer, Fran are back from an inspiring week in Paris representing the Welcoming’s Women Swim project. The Welcoming were selected to take part in Play International’s first ever Playlab incubator, bringing 7 projects from 7 European countries together to share learning and best practice in supporting refugees through sport.

They’re back and full of ideas, enthusiasm and energy to increase the reach of the Welcoming’s sporting activities. Here’s what Caitlin has to say:

“What a week! It was brilliant being part of this exciting, innovative accelerator programme. The highlight of the week was meeting and sharing ideas with the seven projects. Working alongside partners from Greece, France, Catalunya, Austria, Italy and Germany we enjoyed a unique opportunity to share successes and challenges. All in the beautiful grounds of INSEP, the French National Institute of Sport and Physical Education.

It was inspiring to hear about the great activities going on across Europe. We found we all had a lot in common; a love of sport, a belief in the power of sport and shared values of welcoming, respect and equality.

The programme for the week was packed full, with guest speakers from a wide range of organisations all involved in the field of refugee support and/or sport. We heard from UNHCR, UN Women, Athlead UK, Sport and Citizenship, Groupe SOS and many others. We attended workshops on strategy, project design, pedagogy, communication, fundraising and measuring impact. We were joined by Paralympian long jump world record holder, Arnaud Assoumani, an ambassador for Play International.

With an endless supply of pan au chocolat we were ready to take on a former wrestling world champion in an interesting fusion match of wrestling, basketball and rugby!

We’ve got a list as long as our arm of exciting actions to put into practise; from a possible collaboration with our German colleagues to a Korfball activity for newcomers in Edinburgh. Our women and kid’s swimming course starts up in September too.

Watch this space for new Welcoming sporting ventures!”

The women’s swim project is run in partnership with Edinburgh Leisure and The Royal High Community Sports Hub, funded by GoLive GetActive. Read more about the Welcoming women and children’s swimming sessions here

Playlab Incubator Paris 2018