Rowing and Nordic walking activities promote group working and intercultural cohesion through sport as part of the European BRIDGES programme

  • The workshop is one of the sporting activities included in the BRIDGES programme for social inclusion taking place in Tortosa.
  • The activity helped participants learn about the need to improve physical fitness and to work together.
  • Tortosa city council and the Unió de Consells Esportius de Catalunya (UCEC) are the Catalan representatives of this European initiative to promote social cohesion.

 Tortosa, 4 January 2021 – Throughout 2020, the European BRIDGES project has worked to promote inclusive communities in Europe and helped local groups in Tortosa become more integrated in society through volunteer work and solidarity. Tortosa city council and the Unió de Consells Esportius de Catalunya sports organization (UCEC) have represented Catalonia in this European project. Workshops in the three fields of sport, culture, and voluntary work have been carried out to work towards intercultural cohesion and inclusion. However, the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown brought many activities to a halt, while others had to adapt to the new health and safety requirements.

One of the changes was the introduction of a day’s session of rowing and Nordic walking activities at the end of 2020. On 23 December, following all the necessary health and safety guidelines, 21 young people participated in the activities with the objective of getting to know each other better and learning about the importance of working together as a group.

The day started off with a rowing workshop. Participants rowed down the river in traditional wooden rowing boats called muletes from Tortosa to the Tortosa Rowing Club installations a few kilometres further downstream. “·As they rowed, the youngsters gradually became aware of the need to focus on their efficiency working as a team and the importance of collaborating with each other. Another of the day’s objectives, on a more personal level, was for the participants to realize the importance of improving their overall fitness daily. We explained to them that rowing improves your stamina, strength, mobility and ability to coordinate with other participants,” explained Oscar Pla, one of the organizers of the BRIDGES project in Tortosa.

The second part of the day’s activities consisted in a Nordic walking workshop. Firstly, participants were taught the basic techniques and benefits of this sporting activity. They learned how to use the walking poles correctly to exercise both their upper and lower body while maintaining a healthy posture as they walk. Once everyone understood the techniques, the group walked a route back from the Rowing Club to Tortosa.

“As well as the experience of the two sporting activities, the youngsters also enjoyed the experience of spending the day in the natural riverside environment of the River Ebro. Rowing down the river, they were able to admire the Tortosa riverfront from a privileged viewpoint, the typical riverside woodlands with a variety of birdlife and other local fauna, as well as the small river island inhabited by bulls near Vinallop,” added Pla.