Hobby Guarantee: for the Promotion of Equality

Leena Haanpää


The purpose of the study is to present the main results of the municipal survey conducted in 2018–2019 on the hobby guarantee and its implementation in municipalities in Finland and to accumulate a knowledge base on participation in hobbies by children and young people. The study focuses on 1) the hobby guarantee and its implementation activities in Finnish municipals and 2) produces knowledge of the implementation of the core ideas of the hobby guarantee – promotion of equality and well-being – in hobby activities for children and young people.

This report studies the implementation of the hobby guarantee from the perspective of municipal free-time services and the work to promote participation in hobbies. The content of the report is based on data collected from municipalities in autumn 2018, in which both quantitative and qualitative data is used to study the municipalities’ methods of implementing the hobby guarantee. The study is steered by the objectives of the hobby guarantee, as set out in 2017 in the entry in the Government’s mid-term review: to guarantee every child and young person at least one free-time hobby of their choice, with the aim of reducing the social exclusion of children and young people and of promoting equality and wellbeing.

Breaking down the reasons for children’s and young people’s lack of hobbies is not a simple matter. Municipalities have their own, statutory role as producers of free-time services and they have opportunities to promote and coordinate participation in hobbies with cooperation across municipal sectors and borders and in cooperation with the third sector. In this set-up it looks, however, as though the hobby guarantee is remaining a government-led effort, even though municipalities have a key role as its implementers. Based on the responses of the 180 municipalities that participated in the questionnaire section of the report, implementation of the hobby guarantee had not been achieved in three out of four municipalities (77%).

The report discusses the ways in which the municipalities implement the hobby guarantee in practice, municipalities’ cooperation with other parties and the content of the hobby guarantee. The report also studies the resources and funding for activities in accordance with the hobby guarantee and the efforts of municipalities to assess their own measures based on how well they reflect the value base of the hobby guarantee, for example.

Based on the research results, the report presents a model comprising four different sub-areas that illustrates the strategy used to promote the implementation of the hobby guarantee. The sub-areas are attitude, resources, communications and coordination. Firstly, the municipality needs to have a positive attitude in order for the implementation of the hobby guarantee to be possible. A shared attitude by municipal decision-makers and officials will take the project forward. Another essential factor from the perspective of the hobby guarantee is its resources. In addition to financial resources, other important resources are understanding the municipality’s uniqueness in its targeting of resources and inter-administrative cooperation between various parties. Communications is the third sub-area of the model. It is important to examine both the national and municipal-level communications critically, as the concept of the hobby guarantee is still relatively unknown. Effective communications are needed on the objectives and goals of the hobby guarantee. Coordination is the final sub-area of the model. Systematic coordination and cooperation by key parties are a prerequisite for success. In order for the objectives to be achieved, a solid roadmap is needed.

Keywords: hobby guarantee, participation in hobbies, free time, children and young people