ECHO – Cultural Heritage for Inclusion and Participation

Whilst cultural heritage has been defined as something inherited from the past, it is in many ways a contemporary and “living” cultural resource in Europe. Supporting and mobilising local actors facilitating society integration and social inclusion through the accessibility of cultural heritage will lead to an inclusive growth with a well-functioning democratic, inclusive society based on solidarity and equal access to culture and related services. Both the preservation and valorisation of cultural heritage open up considerable opportunities for local and regional development. Culture is a key driver of creativity, which plays a significant role in establishing an innovative economy. In European Union, only 10.8 % of adults (25-64 year old) participated in lifelong learning in 2019 (Greece 3.9%, Poland 4.8%, Latvia 7.4%, Italy 8.1%, Germany 8.2%, Portugal 10.5%). People with disadvantaged backgrounds have lower access to training and cultural activities, as it requires financial resources, information about the opportunities and many times also encouragement to participate. At the same time, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 8 out of 10 Europeans believe that cultural heritage is important, not only to them personally, but also to their community, region, country and the EU as a whole. A very large majority take pride in cultural heritage, whether it is located in their own region or country, or in another European country. Our organisations have solid experience in providing cultural and educational activities. Moreover, our organisations are focusing on the inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds: people from declining rural areas, migrants and national minorities, elderly, among others. So far our activities have been implemented mainly in person, but in the last 2 years we have been working on the project idea of an online training programme focused on European intangible cultural heritage. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that our direction towards online training has been correct and more high-quality online training opportunities should be available in culture and arts.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. To increase the accessibility of training in culture and arts.
  2. To raise the opportunities to explore European intangible cultural heritage by using digital means.
  3. To promote social inclusion of people with disadvantaged background through culture and arts.
  4. To encourage intergenerational learning and transfer of traditional skills; 5. To motivate and empower people to start businesses based on intangible cultural heritage.

The operational objectives are:

  1. To produce the ECHO Training programme “European Cultural Heritage” will include a collection of workshops presenting the cultural heritage of each local area involved in the project and providing an opportunity to explore European cultural heritage for everyone.
  2. To implement a joint online course introducing each local areas cultural heritage (festivals, foods and handicrafts) to participants from other European countries. At the end of the course a special session will be devoted to starting a business (including social entrepreneurship) based on cultural heritage.
  3. To organise a European cultural creativity competition, inspired by the ECHO Training programme.


At least 15 adult trainers will increase their knowledge and skills during the project, 30 learners (people from disadvantaged backgrounds) will take part in the blended mobility and at least 90 participants (people from disadvantaged backgrounds) will take part in the piloting of the training programme. At least 205 people not directly involved in the project will benefit from the project in each country, participating in the dissemination events. The exchange of experience and the creation of an online platform will increase the accessibility of training, raise the opportunities to explore European cultural heritage, encourage intergenerational learning and transfer of traditional skills and motivate and empower people to start business based on cultural heritage. The transnational approach of the project will lead to a deeper mutual understanding and cooperation in Europe.


The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.