Free leisure activities for youths

06.11.2019 - 16:42
Free leisure activities for youths
As the first municipality in the country, Runavík is introducing a special leisure activity subsidy for children and teenagers

Children and youths in Runavík municipality will soon be able to attend virtually any leisure activity they like free of charge.

The Town Council has introduced a so-called leisure activity card, which is based on a system pioneered in Iceland.

Funded by the municipality, the card is a DKK 2,000 per year subsidy designed to encourage participation in recreational activities regardless of socio- or economic background.

Card improves quality of life

According to Andras Nolsøe, a sports consultant at ÍSF, the Faroese Sports Federation, there are numerable benefits associated with free access to leisure activities.

“Since this subsidy was introduced in Iceland some 15 years ago, sports participation has increased significantly,” he says. 

“Studies in Iceland have also showed that it helps children adapt more easily into new communities and make new friends.”

A way to reduce antisocial behaviour

Studies have also shown that children involved in organised recreational activities are less likely to become involved in antisocial behaviour.

Runavík mayor Torbjørn Jacobsen says that although the Faroes do not have as many problems with antisocial behaviour as Iceland had when the leisure activity initiative was introduced, the positive effect it has had in Iceland can certainly come in handy in the Faroes too.

“The introduction of the leisure activity card in Iceland has shown that the aggression which the youths previously vented through vandalism and other antisocial behaviour has now been redirected to sports activities,” he says.

Some 700 children and teenagers in Runavík municipality are eligible for the leisure activity card, which is expected to be taken into use on 1 January 2020.

The card will be topped up automatically annually with DKK 2,000, which the young people can spend on sports or leisure club memberships.

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