SPORT VERNETZT brings together 30 organisations from sport and education at the summit in Lüneburg

"Building new bridges"

2023-05-26 50 participants, 30 organisations, 10 partner locations from the Northwest region: the great energy of ALBA BERLIN's nationwide sports education initiative could be felt at the two-day SPORT VERNETZT Community Summit in Lüneburg on 24 and 25 May 2023. Together with Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany's largest basketball club invited volunteers and staff from partner locations in Lower Saxony and Bremen to sharpen the vision of providing low-threshold pathways into sport for children across Germany - while celebrating the spirit of community.

And it worked: "The atmosphere here was outstanding," found ALBA BERLIN's Vice President Henning Harnisch, who initiated SPORT VERNETZT. "This is a committed group that has a lot of desire to work together. We are united by the fact that we are all working on the same issue: There are districts all over Germany where children grow up less privileged. And we are all asking ourselves: How can we better organise the cooperation between day-care centres, schools and sports clubs so that all these children can find their way into sports as easily as possible? There are many good examples of this here."

The meeting gave the participants the opportunity to exchange ideas, share their experiences from the respective locations and work together on solutions. At the second of a total of five regional SPORT-VERNETZT-Summits this summer, Lüneburg provided the perfect setting for this: since the beginning of the year, Leuphana University has been part of the initiative and is building a network of day-care centres, schools and clubs in the Kaltenmoor district that creates supervised and high-quality physical activity programmes for socially disadvantaged children. Jessica Süßenbach, Professor of Sports Education at Leuphana, and her students are supporting the programme on site.

With their lectures, they also provided the scientific impetus for the summit. The guiding theme was the topic of all-day schooling. From 2026, the right to all-day schooling for children will apply in Germany. "This poses enormous challenges for clubs and schools," explained Jessica Süßenbach. "With SPORT VERNETZT we can offer something here and build new bridges. We had an open, honest exchange, constructive ideas with a lot of experience from all locations and great ambassadors - everyone was able to contribute a lot to this summit."

This could be felt not only in the workshops and open exchange formats in the main building of the Leuphana University and at the Anne Frank Primary School in Kaltenmoor, where the SPORT VERNETZT physical activity programmes take place. The discussion rounds with Marco Lutz (Landessportbund Niedersachsen), Hajo Rosenbrock (TK Hannover), Freya Pense (ASC Göttingen), Karsten Heilmann (Fridjof-Nansen-Schule Hannover) and Mitri Sirin (ZDF television journalist and ambassador of SPORT VERNETZT) also opened up quickly and enabled a lively dialogue between all participants. "These are just a lot of great, open people who like to get together and enjoy the exchange because they know that it is an important topic how to get children into sport," Henning Harnisch emphasised.

And this joy of exchange was not neglected outside of the substantive rounds: during a canoe trip on the Ilmenau, a bicycle tour through the social area of Kaltenmoor and, of course, at the evening barbecue on the university campus. "Spending time together, having serious discussions, getting into a seminar mood, but then also just chatting and canoeing or cycling together - that's a perfect mix that went down very well with everyone," affirmed Henning Harnisch. And Jessica Süßenbach was pleased: "It's great that so many colleagues from the different locations in the region were there. The days had quite a lot of content and at the same time gave us great pleasure. I think everyone took away a lot of new motivation and spirit to carry on.

The SPORT VERNETZT initiative was launched by ALBA BERLIN in the summer of 2021 and has since established 25 partnerships with locations and organisations across the country. Supported by the Auridis Foundation and the Beisheim Foundation, they have already established successful collaborations with renowned sports clubs such as SV Werder Bremen, the Rostock Seawolves and Phoenix Hagen. In addition, another 25 locations are planning to start with offers in the coming school year. The common goal is to provide children from socially challenging backgrounds with low-threshold sports opportunities in their respective neighbourhoods and to strengthen the social effectiveness of sports clubs.


  • Prof. Dr. Jessica Süßenbach