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World Leisure announces 2019 International Innovation Prize results

World Leisure announces 2019 International Innovation Prize results
October 31, 2019

The World Leisure Organisation has announced the results of the 2019 International Innovation Prize, presented during recent celebrations of the 2019 World Leisure Forum on ‘Leisure City, Better Life’ in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Receiving applications from 12 different countries from all around the world, with applicant organisations ranging from cities and destination projects to NGOs, communities, research or independent programs, the Prize winners were:

Winner: Aspire Project InstructAbility
The InstructAbility project began in 2011 as the only project in the UK and worldwide focused on enabling more disabled people access training and employment opportunities in the recreation and fitness sector workforce. It also aims at reducing the physical and attitudinal barriers they currently face. InstructAbility brings together a wide section of stakeholders to signpost disabled people to either become instructors or join fitness sessions as participants.

In so doing, the project has achieved objectives like increasing the number of disabled people working in the fitness industry, providing work placements to develop experience and challenge any existing negative perceptions to enhance their employability, creating diverse role models encouraging and motivating others, and raising profile of issues to influence the whole sector to become more accessible to and inclusive of disabled people in the leisure industry (among others).

To maximise the learning from the program and reach as many people as possible, Aspire is producing a soon-to-be published set of evidence-based guidelines for the whole sector. These will support the increase in the number of disabled people, training providers and employers in the workforce. The guidelines are based on innovative academic research and will be of value to the global leisure sector.

Highly Commended: Cube Management - Project StreetVelodrome
StreetVelodrome is a UK national initiative, taking the form of pop-up, portable cycling velodrome, which started in 2014 by the cycling enthusiast Carl Thompson, to encourage more people to be active via cycle sport. It is as a result of this motivation that the idea of making this practice more accessible - by creating transportable cycling banks that can locate almost anywhere - arose. To give it purpose, a unique StreetVelodrome sport was created, as part of an exciting ‘event’ which people would want to engage with.

StreetVelodrome is engaged by local authorities in all parts of the UK and Ireland. A series of competitive races take place at the velodrome, featuring top professional riders as well as amateurs and children. Some events are city-based and many others take place in suburban and semi-rural locations. Since their purpose is specifically to engage with as many and as diverse a range of people as possible, community involvement is key to what StreetVelodrome terms ‘access events’.

Highly Commended: North Carolina State University, Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management - Project Health Matters: A Multi-Level Approach to Prevent Obesity in Low Income Rural Counties
Health Matters is a United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funded project designed to strengthen community partnerships, enhance healthy food access, and provide leisure opportunities to increase physical activity in four of North Carolina’s most under-resourced, rural counties with obesity rates greater than 40%. Health Matters works through Cooperative Extension with these communities to build on their existing strengths, with leisure service interventions playing a critical role. The project was recognized nationally due to their successful community engagement, sustainability of the project and innovative and practical evaluation methods.

The Health Matters Associate has worked closely with staff from public health to implement local strategies like park renovations to provide residents with more access to leisure activities and facilities. This project has strengthened existing partnerships and leveraged new partnerships to use leisure to improve the health of residents in each county. Moreover, the program has enabled to continue connecting low-income families with access to healthy food and physical activity amenities in everyday leisure settings, such as schools, out-of-school programs, faith communities, and parks and recreation facilities.

Highly Commended: Awamaki - Project Indigenous Women-led Sustainable Tourism in Peru
Awamaki is a non-profit social enterprise located in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Since 2009, the organisation has worked in the rural Quechua villages with Andean women to help them access the modern economy, so they can build better lives for their families. Although economic opportunities for women are rare in these villages, they are highly skilled in traditional Andean textile arts like spinning alpaca wool, natural dyeing, and weaving.

Three cooperatives have already participated in the organization’s sustainable tourism program in which they learn the administrative procedures and cultural expectations of hosting international visitors. The program involves working directly with indigenous artisans in order to create mutually respectful and transparent tourism experiences. Graduate cooperatives are equipped to partner with other tourism providers, such as agencies or guides, to offer sustainable tourism experiences.

The evaluation committee, which is composed by international leisure industry and education professionals, decided to award one winning project and three highly commended, in order to give several outstanding projects this recognition.

During the Award Ceremony, representatives of the winning and highly commended projects were able to pick up their plaques and most importantly, present their projects in front of an international audience.

World Leisure has also announced that the 2020 World Leisure Congress, being held in the Chinese capital of Beijing between 17th and 23rd October next year will have the theme, 'Leisure makes life better'.

After the successful World Leisure Congress last year in the city of Sao Paulo with over 1,000 participants, the 16th World Leisure Congress will be hosted by the Beijing City Government and co-organised by World Leisure, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism and the Pinggu District Government.

For more information on the World Leisure International Innovation Prize go to

Click here for more information on the World Leisure Congress 2020 in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

Image shows the 2019 International Innovation Prize winners.

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12th November 2018 - Dunedin to host 2022 World Leisure Congress

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21st June 2017 - World Leisure announces International Innovation Prize

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