At the end of June, the IK Eos basketball club together with Lunds kommun’s Lov i Lund, introduced “Eoshallen Friday Nights”. For six Friday nights between 28/6-2/8 kl 20:00-00:00, Eoshallen opens its doors for young people between the ages of 13-20.
The main goal of the initiative is for Eoshallen to turn into a meeting place for the youngsters of Lund’s area every Friday night. A social hub where they can have fun by practicing sports and a variety of activities performed by leaders from several local associations, hang out with their peers, socialize and meet new people with the same interests. The project sets its sights on offering a safe environment away from alcohol & other delinquencies, and at the same time inspiring young people to develop leisure-time interests together with members of associations and organizations where these can be grown.
During its first three weeks of running, “Eoshallen Friday Nights” has continuously kept growing. The first two events drew about 75 and 120 people respectively, and last Friday more than 150 youngsters, both boys and girls, filled the gym with passion and energy. Most of them played and participated actively right until closing time in the many activities offered, such as: basketball with Eos, Hemmaplan & Nilztheskillz, netball with Skåne Netball Club, Silent Disco, VR & Fifa games with Mobila Gruppen, board games at the café, pins design with Hemgården, mini-football tournament with Linero Streetball, parkour-landscape with Värpinge IF and cook-along with Tamam Lund.
Apart from the activities provided by the local organizations, Eoshallen Friday Nights also encourages young people to bring their own interests to offer their friends at the event. So far a karaoke night and a T-shirt design with water balloons has been set up by young participants on their own initiative, and ahead there will be a “Superpyssel” with drawing, jewelry and art design.
What do all the organizations that join forces in the initiative have in common? They keep the young people’s best interest in mind and share a vision; To provide them with a safe space to socialize, express and develop their interests through a variety of activities appealing to them. In addition to IK Eos, Sweden’s 4th largest basketball club and owner of Eoshallen, let us introduce some of the organizations that team up in the event.
Hemmaplan is an initiative of Skånes Basketbollförbund to get more children in motion, especially those living in less privileged areas. With basketball as a tool, the project aims to help children take the first step into the community of sports clubs. Hemgården is a 75-year-old association that runs as a meeting place for people of all ages in central Lund, offering a variety of activities that emphasize on learning and culture. It is an opportunity house for everyone and a society that believes in open meeting places for a more democratic, open and inclusive community. Lunds kommun Mobila Gruppen is a project that aims to guide and support young people between 12-25 years who live or go to school in Lund to realize their thoughts, ideas and projects in their spare time. Tamam Lund is a non-profit association (founded in 2011) that works with children and young people, organizing meaningful leisure activities that encourage diversity and social engagement. Tamam's motto is “friendship without borders”, meaning to break down the obstacles that stand in the way of young people with different backgrounds getting a chance to get to know each other.
Värpinge IF started in 2005 and is a sports club based on the idea that children and young people should have the opportunity to “try out” (prova-på) all kinds of sports. Värpinge IF offers a wide range of activities, from martial arts and parkour to dance, individual as well as team sports. There is no performance requirement nor competition, only breadth and diversity. The club received in 2009 the Lunds kommun’s Integration Award. Skåne Netball Club is a small club run by volunteering netball enthusiasts who want to introduce the sport to the Skåne region and foster a community atmosphere around it. They play once a week (Wednesday evenings at Malmö International School) and organize social events as well.
Linero Streetball is a street & indoors football tournament taking place in Lund twice a year. It started in 2015 by six friends who love football and wanted to do something for the kids. “We have our finger on the pulse of the youth. We know what they like and try to give it to them”, says 24-year-old Jan Safar, one of Linero Streetball’s founding members. During Eoshallen Friday Nights the group is running a mini-football tournament which has been received with much enthusiasm from the young participants, and which will end up in a big finale during the last event on August 2nd. “Eoshallen Friday Nights is a great initiative and we are really happy to be a part of it. It consists of a good platform for getting various youth organizations from Lund together. The project also gives a safe space to people coming from other countries and are anxious about their relatives and other things related to residency documents etc. Here kids can be kids and parents feel more relaxed. Sport is a great means for integration, since it’s like a language. People might not speak the same language, but if they play together, they understand each other through body language. It is an important form of expression and connects people”, Jan contends.
Ira Otamiri, coach of Eos and former national team basketball player, is the Manager of Eoshallen Friday Nights. She comments that “the initiative is evolving towards the right direction, where kids have a positive option for a Friday night. No matter what area you live in or what country you are originally from, whether you speak Swedish or not, you are welcome to this open space to hang out and meet new people, play sports, run around and listen to music. It's clean, healthy and fun. Just by entering the gym you are reminded of EOS motto ‘Respect, Energy & Learning’, values the young get to absorb while being active!” Ira is also the one that brings the music to the gym, booking a different DJ each Friday. “I feel that music & sports go together. The ambition is to have DJs contributing with a good vibe and spreading joy. Most of them are friends of mine who want to be a part of something positive and inspire young people to be active and productive”.
Eoshallen Friday Nights has sprung out of a collaboration that has evolved over the last few years, between the integration program of Eos, called “Eos Cares” and Lov i Lund, Lunds kommun’s initiative to provide free holiday activities for kids and young people that are staying in town over the summer. “With great success we have had big and small events where many children up to 12 years of age have participated”, informs Ellen Isaksson, who works as a Project Coordinator for Lov i Lund. “However, we see that it is harder to reach teenagers and that they ask for activities during evenings that are specifically for them. In my opinion, Eoshallen Friday Nights have succeeded with exactly this. Together with Eos Cares, youth leaders from the municipality and organizations, we have created a fun and meaningful space with activities based on the participants’ requests. Every week more people find their way to Eoshallen and I am so happy to see that collaborations like these can work so well”, she concludes.
“It is great to see that the kids really enjoy playing all the sports that are offered during the evening. They don’t come here just to hang around, they really get out on the courts and work it until we shut down. It shows that there is a huge need for arenas where youngsters can practice sports in an organized but spontaneous manner”, adds Axel Wallin Ajazi, Project Leader of Eos Cares.
For more info, please check:
Facebook event “Eoshallen Friday Nights!”
The program for each week
Recaps & photos of each event
A photo collage video from the events
All videos from the event can be found on Eos Cares YouTube channel
For any questions or if you are interested in participating in the event, contact Axel Wallin Ajazi of Eos Cares at firstname.lastname@example.org or 070-7367472.
Eoshallen Friday Nights are funded by Lov i Lund and De Lekande Barnens Fond.