The cooperation between Vår Energi and Folkehallene (public indoor sports arenas) has strengthened the recreational opportunities for children and young people in the Stavanger region. The ambition is improved public health, positive social experiences and reduced social exclusion. 

The ten-year sponsorship agreement is worth NOK 100 million and has, among other things, led to the development of free recreational opportunities for children and young people, year-round. For Folkehallene, this agreement was a major milestone. 

“Here at Folkehallene, we now talk about before and after the Vår Energi agreement. A long-term agreement like this which benefits children and young people in our region provides new opportunities and gives us more financial resources in our work to promote activity and public health. It’s a unique cooperation, which we’re excited about every single day,” says Christian Topstad, general manager of Folkehallene.  

Summer at Folkehallene

Folkehallene operates five indoor sports arenas in the Stavanger region, owned by the municipalities of Stavanger, Sandnes, Sola and Randaberg. The arenas had 910,000 visitors in 2023 and are important hubs for physical activity and social interaction – particularly for children and young people. 

“The most visible result of the agreement is the continuation of “Summer at Folkehallene”, which set a record for number of visitors with nearly 160,000 visitors in 2023. The ten-year duration lets us establish long-term plans and ensures continued operation of an important and free recreational option in the summer,” says Topstad.  

Their improved finances have also allowed Folkehallene to prioritise children and young people ahead of hiring out the arenas for commercial events, and also enabled them to extend the ice season in Vår Energi Arena Sørmarka. 

There is a unique range to the activities offered in Folkehallene. In the summer, there are over 40 different options, including climbing, skating, chess, dance, sewing, a summer library, e-sports and ball games of all varieties. There is something for everyone. The primary target group is children from grades 5 to 10. 

Rookie – introducing children to new activities

The support from Vår Energi also enables the establishment and development of the Rookie project, which is a year-round free activity for children and young people in the Vår Energi arenas with a dedicated activity calendar.

Children can show up without equipment or pre-registering, and safe adults will introduce the child to a number of activities. The goal is increased activity, good social meeting places and could potentially serve as an introduction to the ordinary recreational sports on offer. 

“We’ve seen that this introduces children and young people to new activities, that new friendships are formed, and so many of them can feel a sense of achievement. In addition, nearly 100 young people are employed by us for parts of the year, and for many, Folkehallene is their first employer. The free activities I mentioned are the most important ways we can reach the children that aren’t yet a part of organised sports. By removing the financial barrier, we can reach the 10 per cent of children in our region who grow up in low-income families,” he says. 

Kids playing computer games in Vår Energi Arena Sørmarka


A research project will be carried out in parallel with developing the activities and refining the collaboration. The research project has the objective of determining whether the collaboration between Vår Energi and Folkehallene has had a positive impact on the public health of children and young people in the four municipalities that are closest to Vår Energi’s headquarters at Forus.

The first part of this research project was carried out this summer in connection with Summer at Folkehallene 2023. The report from NORCE shows that most visitors are very satisfied with the programme. Sixty-two per cent of the older children use the programme because they want to spend time with friends, while forty-two per cent are motivated by trying new activities.  

 Topstad is no stranger to this kind of positive feedback. “The activities made possible by Vår Energi are the most fun things that we do. We get an unusually high number of pleased and satisfied comments from grateful parents, grandparents and the children themselves. Our owners, the municipalities of Sandnes, Stavanger, Sola and Randaberg, are staunch supporters of these activities and help us promote them to the public,” he says. 

Important to contribute to improved public health

The collaboration with Folkehallene has provided good visibility in the region for Vår Energi, but what’s most important for Vår Energi is the long-term dedication to the goal of improved public health of children and young people in the region.

“We believe that the activities in the different Vår Energi arenas have a preventive effect. We want to facilitate a joy of movement, activity and social interaction – free recreational options that support inclusion among children and young people, regardless of their parents’ financial situation,” says Siri Tjelta, Senior Advisor Branding and Marketing at Vår Energi.