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“Birmingham hasn’t seen an opening of a congress like this before”: MOVE Congress 2017 starts with a celebration of MOVEment

By Rachel Payne, ISCA

It’s our human right to move – so what’s stopping us? MOVE Congress 2017 facilitator Sean Blair from ProMeet greeted this year’s delegates when they arrived with a call to move. And before the opening speeches even began, Birmingham Council House’s banqueting hall had transformed into a dance floor led by Neil Pinnock from 5Rhythms and six of his co-dancers.

“I don’t think the city has seen an opening of a Congress like this”, Birmingham Councillor Ian Ward said after the conga lines and free flowing dances had murmured to an end.

The opening of the eighth MOVE Congress was a fitting start, he said, to an event drawing attention to the benefits of physical activity in a city that is trying to find innovative ways of “getting people to move in ways that suit them”.

This year’s MOVE Congress will put the spotlight on initiatives from Birmingham, other parts of the UK and further abroad that are removing barriers that typically stop people from moving: from social, to socio-economic, to distance and cost, as Ward noted.

“We are focusing on removing these barriers and making many activities free to residents,” he said.

“Talking can only take us so far - there’s nothing like hands-on experience,” he added, referring to the ‘I’m a volunteer’ sessions, in which the Congress delegates will go to visit different community initiatives as part of the conference.

In the opening reception, the delegates also had a taste of Bhangra dancing, which they will also have a chance to try themselves part of the MOVE Congress networking event this evening.

“The topic of this year’s MOVE Congress is the Human Right to MOVE,” ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby said in his opening speech. “But it is more about us assisting citizens in exercising this human right.”

The next two days will explore topics such as MOVEment Spaces, reaching hard-to-reach groups, physical activities in schools and a session led by the Wild Network rethinking physical activity in urban and natural spaces.

Find out more about the MOVE Congress here

See photos from the event on our ISCA Facebook page (updated daily)

Watch video highlights of the opening here

Article by Rachel Payne, ISCA

Photos by Georgi Lazarov, Punkt

Posted on 05/10/2017 by Rachel Payne, ISCA