Neighbourhood Sport with Uisp and the Next Project

By UISP Editorial Board

Sport and lockdown. From Uisp Milano (il Manifesto) the story of an experience to combat a sedentary lifestyle, born from causes of force majeure. 

Gentle gymnastics in the courtyards of condominiums can help people torn in the grip of social distance. Pasquale Coccia enhances, from the pages of the Manifesto, the project carried out by UISP in two suburbs of Milan, San Siro and Niguarda, but also in Reggio Emilia and Sassari. In the Sardinian city, the project was financed by the Foundation with the South, and will soon be published also in other cities of the national territory. In these buildings there are rooms for condominium meetings, also intended for the free time activities of those who live there, for the occasion used in the morning as a space for gentle gymnastics for the elderly, in the afternoon for recreational and motor activities for children and workers after 6pm. 

The experience achieved by Uisp will soon become transnational, thanks to the NEXT project, of which Uisp is the lead partner, which also involves Denmark, Croatia, Romania, Spain and Germany, in an attempt to combat a sedentary lifestyle, particularly accentuated during the restrictive measures for fight the coronavirus. 

"Our main goal is to fight against a sedentary lifestyle - explains Stefano Pucci, head of health policies and the inclusion of Uisp in the interview that appeared in the newspaper on Saturday 27 June - we tried to intercept those citizens who do not carry out any physical activity, bringing gentle gymnastics inside their homes. The implication was twofold, on the one hand there was the improvement of the state of health and psychophysical well-being of all the people who took part in it and on the other the social aggregation, which favored the construction of relationships between the socially more fragile, at risk of exclusion due to their age, social status and because they live in the suburbs of the city. They are people who, through physical activity, live a process of participation and also play an active role in the condominium, where usually we limit ourselves to a timid gesture of greeting ". 

We asked those who have lived the experience on the side of those who went even several times a day in the condominiums, such as the gentle gymnastics instructors, to involve in the different time slots first the elderly, then the children and finally the workers, how was the experience?  

"Working people do not go to the gym eagerly - says Stefania, a Uisp instructor from Reggio Emilia - because when they return home, they are tired, they are tried by the fatigue of the working day. Not everyone wants to pack their bag and go to the gym. Our project brings physical activity to their home, often people go down to the courtyard and carry out physical activity in slippers, for them it is like going from one room to another in their home and this is very nice, it is very familiar". 

The European project includes a phase of data collection, a role entrusted by the EU to UISP, given that among the European partners it is the most experienced organization in neighborhood sport of this king: "We will collect data from the best practices of the three cities in which this type of offer already exists, but we will also study the context with condominium regulations and laws on public spaces, and everything that could come back to implement the neighborhood sport offer ", says Francesca Di Feo, coordinator of the project. 

"Regaining possession of one's body, which becomes the protagonist through the condominium spaces, to weave relationships between neighbors - concluded Coccia - is the best way to respond to those who for months have been inviting us incessantly, from the speakers of the railway stations to the television box, to keep the social distancing". 

Posted on 30/06/2020 by UISP Editorial Board

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.