What is the NEXT - Neighborhood Sport: Get healthy, get closer project?

The NEXT - Neighborhood Sport: Get healthy, get closer" project aims to tackle sedentary habits among people by bringing movement to the places where they find themselves, rather than promoting activities in places where sedentary people should go. This is why the places chosen to involve sedentary people in physical activities are the common areas of condominiums and the surrounding public gardens, streets and squares, namely the neighborhoods.

The EU-supported NEXT project is led by the Italian Sport for All Union (UISP) and six European partners. It is set up to establish and run a broad thematic network sharing best practices and methodologies already realised in some Italian cities (Reggio Emilia, Milan and Sassari) where UISP local Committees have involved local public institutions and civil society stakeholders as promoters of physical activity. This aim will be pursued by linking key actors through the sport and condominium/neighborhood systems and providing useful tools and learning opportunities to grassroots sport organisations in view of the provision of "NEXT Sport" modules to the target groups: children, the working population and the elderly residing in the neighborhoods. Aiming to develop partner organisations basis knowledge for the setup of the proposed approach will strengthen their ability in engaging sedentary people in physical activity in common or public spaces. This objective will be pursued through test and validation of the transferable methodologies via pilot events. This will ultimately help to develop the NEXT sport guidelines, disseminate project results as well as advocate the issue to policy makers.

The NEXT sport project finds its roots in the need to reinforce strategies and actions to tackle physical inactivity and its dramatic psychophysical and social consequences, as described in the New Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity. The HEPA guidelines, WHO Europe Physical Activity Strategies and World Health Organization's Global Action Plan for Physical Activity are the key reference points to accompany the lifelong work of the project. Their dissemination is an integral part of this project as it allows to strengthen the partner organisations’ advocacy capacities.

The project started in the immediate context of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Paradoxically, this unexpected situation, with the introduction of mobility restrictions due to lockdowns, has further highlighted how much physical activity is needed and can be exercised in close proximity environments as an essential way to combat sedentary lifestyle in an easy way.

The part dedicated in the project to research and analysis of the context data from the national countries involved in the project concerning promotion of physical activity in neighborhoods will represent an added value as a useful tool for partners organisations in their advocacy toward policy makers in their management of pandemic effects as well as when they will define reconstruction strategy plans in health prevention after the crisis.

Partners