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World Leisure looks to build global excellence network

World Leisure looks to build global excellence network
June 23, 2019

To foster its mission to promote leisure “as integral to social, cultural, economic and sustainable environment development”, the World Leisure Organization (WLO) is advancing its plans to build a global excellence network.

The World Leisure Communities of Excellence (WLCE) designation recognises the effort of communities working on the improvement of the economic, social and cultural lives of their citizens, promoting leisure as a means to enhance the human condition.

WLO has no preconceived figure of what a community is in order to be named a Community of Excellence - they can range from neighbourhoods, to villages, towns, cities, states or regions, whose citizens are jointly working as a community, actively involved in promoting leisure as essential to develop their community in its broadest sense.

Some of the programs valid for the application include: programs for persons with any kind of disability to take advantage of the leisure activities/services available in the community; cultural life-long learning programs for older adults; community health efforts promoting child and family well-being through leisure; public transportation to enable all citizens to have ready access to key services and leisure facilities; natural environments that support young people’s learning activity or health, as well as other initiatives.

Valid for three years, communities wishing to maintain their WLCE designation recognition after this period of time are subject to a review. In addition, all those participating communities will belong to the WL Community of Excellence Network, from which they can benefit, for instance, by boosting their global reputation as a leading community for the use of original and innovative leisure practices, as well as by increasing their international cooperation, participating in different WLO programmes.

Already recognised as part of the WL Communities of Excellence, the Canadian city of Richmond’s recognition is based upon its successful leisure practices to improve its citizens wellbeing, seeing itself as “the most appealing, liveable, and well-managed community in Canada”.

Richmond works on the growth and improvement of its community through different practices, such as considering current and future generations’ needs, valuing its diversity and treating citizens with fairness and respect, among others.

The city of Richmond develops very varied initiatives, which citizens may involve in to increase their commitment towards the community. For instance, they may engage in strategy development or decision-making activities. Such commitment enables community members to enjoy civic life, while tailoring these initiatives to their needs. Moreover, their collaboration and inclusion to these programs is promoted through participation in volunteering activities, like the Partners for Beautification program, with which the quality and connection to city parks and open spaces is boosted, and the Richmond World Festival, which attracts 115 volunteers, 35,000 attendees and around 50 performances.

Another example of a WL Communities of Excellence is the Chinese city of Keqiao which works on the growth and improvement of its community through different practices, carrying out diversified projects of leisure to “ensure that participants with different needs can find their own leisure experience”.

In so doing, the community in eastern China's Zhejiang province has developed several programs ensuring inclusion and access to facilities. These include the Disabled Art Festival, the Elderly People’s Games and the Volunteers’ Association, among other practices.

In addition, with the aim of eradicating poverty constraints on leisure participation, the community of Keqiao ensures free access to “all public sports and cultural facilities and part of scenic spots”, so that all citizens can enjoy leisure at its best.

Communities looking to improve the quality of life of their citizens through leisure who would like to be part of the World Leisure Communities of Excellence program should go to worldleisure.org/communities-of-excellence

Images: Lakeside park in the Chinese city of Keqiao (top), the Shaoxing Stadium (middle) and the region's historic bridge (below).

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