NO TO RACISM, YES TO INCLUSION, OVER 1,000 PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH AiCS IN BRIDGES PROJECT

The project BRIDGES recorded a great success in terms of participation in District 5 of Florence. The councillor of education Funaro, the councillor of welfare Vannucci and the District 5 president Balli: “What has been built this year becomes a reference point for everyone”
Over a thousand people involved, a third of them third-country nationals, and 57 organizations that – including sports, cultural and voluntary associations – participated in the project for social cohesion in District 5 of Florence and against all forms of discrimination. The final event of the European project “Bridges – Building Relationships and Integration by Developing local Groups and Enhancing Solidarity” was held on 17th October at the amazing building of “Tepidarium del Roster”. The project, coordinated by the Italian Association of Culture and Sport, aims at fighting xenophobia and social exclusion, promoting social cohesion of the community.

The project, launched at the beginning of 2019, was able to involve in its public events of social cohesion over 40 associations – 9 of which migrants -. In the District, people from over 20 different nationalities participated to the activities. The associations composing the BRIDGES network co-organized and co-managed 7 public events through which different cultures and souls met together. The active participation to the design and staging of sport events, cultural activities and laboratories enable to deepen mutual knowledge. Furthermore, the project did not stop even during the long months of lockdown: on social networks, the volunteers and the representatives of the BRIDGES Network talked about themselves in 10 video interviews, describing the changes generated by the project in the community.
The final event, which was attended by all the organizations involved, was presented by the project coordinator, Valeria Gherardini, and it was introduced by Sara Funaro, Councillor of Education, who highlighted “ BRIDGES is a community project aimed at creating stable networks between the different actors of the territory”. Councillor Funaro and councillor of welfare Andrea Vannucci then added: “Through this project we have worked to encourage the inclusion of third-country national communities promoting their leadership. We will work – Vannucci and Funaro said again – so that what was built this year starts to be a point of reference for the citizens of the District”. “BRIDGES has achieved in the District 5 and in the associations involved – explains the president of the District 5 Cristiano Balli -, despite the health emergency caused by Covid-19, its objectives: cohesion, intercultural exchange and building relationship networks”.

The balance of the project’s 22 months of activity was presented by Cosimo Renzi, member of AiCS projecting office, together with the official final video of the project that highlights the leading role of the Bridges network associations.

During the second part of the day, AiCS community organizers, coordinated by Alessandra Vannucci, consolidated the Bridges network: the associations has been involved in participatory activities aimed at designing three events that will be staged in District 5.

The conclusion part of the meeting was managed by Maurizio Toccafondi, AiCS national vice president, Andrea Faggi, president of AiCS Florence committee and Cristiano Balli, president of District 5.