Harrastusten Vantaa project



The Harrastusten Vantaa project organises comprehensive school pupils high-quality and interesting recreational activities free of charge in the vicinity of their own school and home. The project is part of the Finnish model for leisure activities.

Lapset leikkivät pallolla koulussa.

The aim of the project is to provide all comprehensive school pupils (grades 1–9) with equal opportunities to have a fun and free hobby. The activities are organised based on children's responses to pupil surveys carried out by the project organisers, the Ministry of Education and Culture and other city service sector operators. The aim of recreational activities is not to encourage competition between pupils, but to improve and promote the well-being of children and young people, help them find their own community, prevent social exclusion and reduce inequalities. All activities are organised so that they do not extend the school day too much.  Registration for recreational activities for 2022–2023 begins in August 2022. The recreational activities are high-quality and regular and they last until the end of the school year.

(Video in Finnish)

Identification of the special needs of children, young people and families

All children should have an equal opportunity to engage in recreational activities. We ensure this by adding assistants or more instructors to the hobby groups, if necessary, and by working with special education and preparatory education experts. We also strive to provide all instructors with the necessary special needs training. The purpose of recreational activities is to prevent social exclusion and to raise awareness of available recreational activities. Children and young people are included in the planning of recreational activities through, for example, hobby exploration and a hobby friend service.

Hobby friend activities

Outreach hobby friend activities focus on children's and young people’s opportunities to be active and organise their own recreational activities. Hobby friend (Harrastekaveri) activities help identify children and young people whose well-being and social, physical and emotional development would benefit from having a hobby. Outreach hobby friend activities take place during the school day (during recess, for example) and right before and after the school day. These activities also encourage children and young people to be active in their free time.

Objectives of hobby friend activities

  • To motivate, encourage and support the child or young person to take up a hobby.
  • To prevent social exclusion by increasing the number activities the child or young person engages in and providing positive experiences of spending time with others.
  • To create positive images and experiences for the child or young person and help them understand how hobbies contribute to their overall well-being.
  • To support and encourage guardians to find hobbies for their children. Hobby friend relationships emphasise the role of guardians. If necessary, guardians will receive help for improving their support relationship.
  • To raise awareness of the recreational opportunities in the child’s or young person’s home region.

An equipment rental service was established in autumn 2021 to support the activities. Local residents can donate their own hobby equipment to the equipment rental service to enable comprehensive school pupils’ recreational activities.

Donations can be made at pop-up events. In addition to the donated equipment, the service acquires basic equipment on the basis of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s pupil survey. Those involved in hobby friend activities have access to the equipment provided by the rental service.

For the organisers of recreational activities

By filling in the form behind the link, you can add a club, organisation, company or other recreational activity operator to the mailing list of Harrastusten Vantaa. Once you have submitted your information, you will be informed about upcoming events and tendering.

Harrastusten Vantaa is looking for new partners to organise recreational activities

The aim of the Finnish model for leisure activities is to enable all comprehensive school pupils (grades 1–9) to have a high-quality, fun and free hobby in the vicinity of their own school and home. Some activities are organised in connection with classes for disabled pupils or during afternoon club activities. The organised activities must be regular and last the entire school year.

The organisers of recreational activities (operators) can be sports clubs, individual artists and art educators, professional art, cultural and sports operators and other professional operators. The instructors’ qualifications in their area of competence and their experience in working with children and young people are prioritised in the selection. In addition to supervising and organising the activity, the organiser is responsible for the registration process, communication with guardians and reporting to the contact person representing the City of Vantaa.

Minimum criteria for the operator:

  • The operator undertakes to carry out regular weekly recreational activities during the school year, with a total of approximately 30 activity sessions.
  • As a rule, activities are organised immediately after the school day, but in some cases activities can also be organised before or during the school day.
  • The activities must be mainly organised at or near the school. If an activity cannot be practised on school premises, the activity must be organised in other recreational facilities, cultural or sports facilities or youth centres near the school. However, all activities must be organised in such a way that they do not unduly extend the school day, taking into account the stamina and schedules of children and young people.
  • The instructors must be professionals in their area of expertise, have experience in working with children and young people, and have adequate regional knowledge. 
  • The operator undertakes to register the participants, collect feedback twice during the school year, communicate with the children participating in the activities and their guardians, and send the requested reports to the contact person representing the City of Vantaa.

Recreational activities must meet the following criteria:

  • All activity instructors must be trained and have experience in the supervision of children and young people. They must either have relevant training or experience.
  • The instructors must be at least 18 years old. Assistants can be under 18.
  • The activities must be low-threshold activities and provided free of charge.
  • The activities must be open and equal to all.
  • The groups must be accessible. A participant may bring an assistant, guide or interpreter along if they need one.
  • The activities must be safe and respect the principles for safer spaces, which means that a child participating in the activities does not have to face any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment or violence. Above all, this means that the operator takes active actions to prevent discrimination, bullying, harassment and violence and intervenes in problem situations.
  • The activities must take into account the wishes of the children and young people. The participants must be included in the planning and implementation of the activities.
  • The activities should not be goal-oriented. The purpose is to help children and young people enjoy their hobby, maintain a good team spirit and find friends.
  • The activities must take place before 5 p.m. The age and skill level of the participants must be taken into account in the nature of the activities.
  • Selection criteria in internal tendering.

Contact details

The project is coordinated by the Urban Culture Development Unit of the City of Vantaa in cooperation with the urban culture service areas and education and learning sector of the City of Vantaa.

More information

Anna Puhakka

Project Manager
+358405598538 anna.puhakka@vantaa.fi

Heli Peltonen

Project Coordinator
+358406273713 heli.peltonen@vantaa.fi