Helsinki seeks partners for adopting the Finnish model for leisure activities

On 22.12.2020, the Ministry of Education and Culture granted the City of Helsinki one million euros for initiating operations in accordance with the Finnish model for leisure activities. The aim of the Finnish model is to support the well-being of children and young people by enabling each one of them to have access to an enjoyable and free leisure activity in connection with the school day. The project will be kicked off by exploring partners that organise leisure activities and holding a competitive bidding process followed by planning and organising the operations.

The grant will be used to initiate operations in Helsinki during the pilot period, which lasts from January to June 2021 – coronavirus restrictions naturally apply. Future partners have been provided with access to market registration through the Hilma system for public procurement. Partners are being sought from among clubs, associations, companies and other actors that organise cultural or other leisure activities for children and young people. The competitive bidding, based on which Helsinki will make the selections, will begin on 18.1.2021. The bidding will be arranged as a dynamic procurement procedure.

During the pilot period, the aim is to organise leisure activities for schools with due consideration to the wishes of children and young people, existing good practices and methods, and cooperation models for leisure activity providers In practice, the leisure activities are to be organised at the school of each child or young person, or its immediate vicinity, after the school day. The process of arranging the leisure activities will begin immediately once the competitive bidding is complete and the coronavirus restrictions no longer prevent the activities.

The activities organised in connection to the school day cater to children and young people who may normally have limited opportunities to try out different leisure activities and enable them to find paths to long-term hobbies. As such, the provision of opportunities and hobby-related information is especially aimed at children who do not engage in leisure activities. They are also supported in committing to a hobby. The work of their instructors is supported by means of topical training courses, for example. Guided, self-guided and free-of-charge leisure opportunities will be connected to school activities in cooperation with associations and other actors throughout the entire city.

In Helsinki, the key operating principles for the Finnish model are quality, accessibility, equality, safety, child-centricity, communality and the joy of engaging in leisure activities. In Helsinki, the operations are coordinated by the Culture and Leisure Division together with the Education Division.

Hobbies create well-being

Improving hobby opportunities and awareness of local leisure activities among children and young people is a joint wellness promotion goal for all City divisions in 2021. Its fulfilment will be observed as part of budgetary monitoring. One of the objectives laid down in the Helsinki City Strategy is for every child and young person to have a hobby.

The well-being of children and young people forms the foundation of our society, which makes it very important. Helsinki’s Finnish model pilot, which covers all City divisions, will enable us to support safe and meaningful leisure activity through various leisure content in a comprehensive manner, prevent loneliness and help children and young people gain new skills and friends. Connecting the leisure activities to the school day also supports families by freeing up more time in the evening for families to spend together,” says Project Manager Irma Sippola of the Culture and Leisure Division’s youth service.

It is wonderful that we can now work on building the Finnish model and future leisure activities. Helsinki is a big city, so we have a lot to do. We are working systematically to develop hobby opportunities for children and young people to ensure that everyone everywhere can engage in leisure activities and be sure that children’s rights are always considered,” says City of Helsinki’s Director of Youth Affairs Mikko Vatka.

More information is available in the Hilma system for public procurement:

Finnish model for leisure activities in Helsinki
More information

Project Manager

Irma Sippola
City of Helsinki, Culture and Leisure
041 5121795

Photo above: Maarit Hohteri/City of Helsinki