- The activity is one of the sports included in the European BRIDGES programme for social inclusion taking place in Tortosa since 2020.
- More than ten youngsters participated following the Green Way bike route between Tortosa and Aldover.
- 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, 26 April 2021 – Activities have continued these days in the BRIDGES project taking place in Tortosa. Organized by Tortosa city council and the Unió de Consells Esportius de Catalunya sports body (UCEC) representing Catalonia, this European-wide project is also being held in Austria, Greece, Croatia and Italy. The aim of the project is to favour the integration of youngsters from different local groups via sporting and cultural activities and voluntary work, to promote social cohesion, dialogue, and a coming together of cultures.
As one of the sports, a cycle touring activity was carried out on 24 April to enable participants to get to know each other, make new friends, and discover a spectacular part of the local territory. The bike outing consisted in following the Green Way route between Tortosa and Aldover. Eleven youngsters took part. After the activity, two of the teenagers, 13-year-old Mohamed Amin and 19-year-old Abdelhay, emphasized the importance of this opportunity to meet new people and create relationships and trust which will help them feel more integrated in the future. They both explained that they had found out about the BRIDGES project through Atzavara, a local association in Tortosa working for cross-culture dialogue and social cohesion with community activities.
“What I enjoyed best about the bike outing was being able to follow the Green Way to Aldover and see places I’d never been to before. The only problem was that, with the Covid pandemic restrictions we could not go further like we all wanted to,” explained Mohamed Amin, who added he hopes to do the route again and go further when conditions allow it.
On a lovely energetic spring morning, the first half of the outing took participants as far as the riverside park in Aldover where everyone enjoyed a well-earned rest and had a mid-morning snack to build their strength back up for the return trip.
“In my opinion, it is important to get to know new people to be able to learn new things. That way you get to know each other better and learn about different cultures. Some of the participants cannot speak Catalan or Spanish, so we cycled beside them to translate and talk to them. We really enjoyed it,” explained Abdelhay as soon as they got to the park.
On their return to Tortosa, everyone agreed they had had a really good time and would like to repeat the experience and extend it with other activities. “As well as going on outings, we could organize games with different groups of youngsters mixed together meaning they have to talk to each other, which would help them to communicate and get to know each other better,” Mohamed Amin proposed.
All the sport, cultural and voluntary work activities within the BRIDGES project have helped to promote intercultural exchange and social cohesion as well as to develop feelings of solidarity and respect among participants.
Oscar Pla and Ana Moreno
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