Proximity sports for the well-being of all: the Next project

By Elena Fiorani

UISP is leading a European project to bring movement into condominiums, promote sociality and health. With Stefano Pucci and Francesca Di Feo. 

NEXT Neighborhood Sport - Get healthy, get closer! is a European project that, in addition to Italy, involves Denmark, Croatia, Romania, Spain and Germany. UISP is the leader and intends to share good practices and experiences in the field of proximity sports, to more effectively combat sedentary lifestyle and promote well-being in the population. 

"This project represents a novelty in the Italian and European panorama - explains Stefano Pucci, Uisp health and inclusion policy manager - that of Uisp is the first structured experience in Italy, and has been evaluated in a very positive way by Europe. Our model can be replicated wherever the condominium contexts allow it, thanks to the experiences of Sassari, Milan and Reggio Emilia; the Sardinian project, in particular, is supported by the Foundation with the South thanks to funds for innovative projects. I believe that in this period of resumption of physical activity after the lockdown, this type of approach can represent an opportunity to encourage citizens to move in a protected context. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to make a contribution to the reconstruction of the social fabric, as well as to the health and well-being of citizens, ensuring safety and compliance with the rules". 

Watch the video illustrating the activities in Sassari, Milan and Regio Emilia! 

On Wednesday 10 June 2020, the kick-off meeting of the project was held via videoconference, in which all the partners took part, for Uisp there were: Carlo Balestri, Uisp international policy manager, Raffaella Chiodo Karpinsky and Daniela Conti, from the international sector, Marta Giammaria, Uisp project office manager and the coordinator Francesca Di Feo. 

"Obviously we had to put the entire time schedule back in place - explains Francesca Di Feo - the kick-off meeting has been postponed for three months, so we asked to extend the project deadline, which instead of ending in December 2021, will end in March 2022. Always with a view to remodeling, with the partners we decided to anticipate the research phase, which was to be the third phase: it is a study work on good practices and data from the various countries in relation to the actions of the project and it does not require in-person operational implementation. The leader of this section is the Romanian association AJSPT which will collect the data to provide the guidelines that will be used by the operators during the carrying out of the activities, in 2021. The Uisp will support the research work, being the reality with the most experience on theme: in particular, we will collect the best practices from the three cities in which this type of offer already exists but we will also study the context, with regulations and laws on public and condominium spaces, which could be useful for the implementation of neighborhood sports, as well as updated data on sedentary lifestyle in Italy". 

Has the health emergency situation we are still experiencing affected the contents of the project and the organisation of future actions? 

"Surely the recent lockdown experience has led us to reflect on some implementations that we could include in the project - replies Di Feo - from Fundaciò Ubae, the Spanish partner, the suggestion came to also introduce the concept of digitalization of sport: the idea is to include a part of digital sport, live or recorded, in the pilot phase of the project. This option would eliminate the direct and physical relationship between people, but it could have positive implications, helping us to bring movement into the homes of people who find it more difficult to approach physical activity. This reflection was certainly originated by the experiences of recent months, such as the one conducted by Uisp with the campaign "The gym is our home": born spontaneously and improvised due to the health emergency, it allowed us to send an important signal of presence and closeness to all our members. As part of the Next project, it would be a great challenge because the target audience is especially the elderly, less accustomed to digital activities, but it could represent a leap into the future of social sport " 

Posted on 23/06/2020 by Elena Fiorani

The NEXT - Neighborhood Sport project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author (UISP), and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.