It takes a gentle, caring touch to break the ice.

Especially when it comes to helping kids with special needs.

Learn more


The International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and the Finnish long-term support programme for vulnerable children, Icehearts, have joined forces with 10 partners to launch a Europe-wide expansion of this successful initiative, backed by a €4 million EU4Health Action Grant.

The Project

With mental ill health costing more than 4% of GDP across the EU before the pandemic, according to the OECD, the need to consider mental health as an essential component of health is paramount.

The three-year Icehearts Europe project is uniquely positioned to address the intersections of physical activity, mental and physical health by expanding the successful Finnish Icehearts initiative to grassroots sport organisations.

But Icehearts is not just a sport programme – sport is part of a much bigger picture in which mentors are appointed to support children with special needs on their formative life journey.

We’re excited to introduce the Icehearts Europe model to you and we hope you’ll be inspired by our online learning tools and resources to try the approach in your country.

“Icehearts uses sport as a tool rather than a starting point. Everything is built around the children and their wellbeing. No one is left behind.”

Mikko Salasuo
Icehearts Expert Advisor

Icehearts Europe Step-By-Step

Through the project, the Icehearts Finland model will lay the foundations for an Icehearts Europe methodology that will be adapted to new countries and their cultural contexts and piloted in communities across Europe. The expansion will follow four main steps to:

Build a model and tools for the European implementation of Icehearts

Build capacity in partner and stakeholder organisations to run the initiative

Pilot the developed Icehearts model in 5 European countries

Enhance European awareness about Icehearts and engage 14 countries and 14 associate partners in deployment and scale-out


"Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor HADEA can be held responsible for them."