Demographically, the territories involved in this project are characterised by a weak dynamic and a strong dependence of the most vulnerable groups, which allied to the remaining territorial characteristics, puts the elderly, in a fragile position, exacerbating the risk of social exclusion.
Over the last few decades, these regions have witnessed a change in family characteristics, namely the nuclearization of households, allied to the insertion of women into the labour market, the reduction of parents’ leisure hours and the absence of grandparents within the family environment, leading to a greater isolation of youth and lack of contact with other generations. This situation has limited the family while supporting affective structure and has denied to the youth cultural and social enrichment, and above all the contact with personal training values that normally were transmitted from generation to generation.
The changes in family structures have led to an increasing isolation of the youth and the elderly in these regions. If, on the one hand, the youth take refuge and seek social contact and learning in new technologies, social networks and school, the elderly ends up isolating themselves or in groups of the same generation. This situation is more serious when the youth and the elderly become more isolated and distant from the socially more dynamic poles.
Besides all this, there is the fact that this elder population come from rural communities, with very low levels of education, mainly e-excluded and without any opportunity of social contact outside their local community.
As mentioned above, the Intergenerational Olympics held in 2015 in Vila Nova de Cerveira resulted in an increase in the practice of physical activity among the elderly population with the lowest indices of this practice and the insertion of the NEET youths in order to acquire informal skills.
The concept of intergenerationally added to the competition factor worked as an asset for the success of this initiative. Nonetheless, the inclusion of vulnerable groups, such as isolated elderly people, required a joint effort between the teams / social action technicians and sports technicians, with the aim of overcoming some barriers that prevent a continuous practice of physical exercise among this population.
The actions that the technicians of the social and sports area of the Municipality of Vila Nova de Cerveira have developed over the last years in order to involve vulnerable groups in sport must be structured, made available and disseminated as an “open educational resource” (OER) and as a tool that facilitates the insertion and increase of the practice of physical exercise of vulnerable groups with replication potential to local organizations with competences in the area of sport, namely municipalities and associations related to sport.
Daily, local institutions deal with the need to find strategies to promote a more active and healthy life among their citizens with less access to sport, so creating the OER will allow access to as many institutions as possible, generating a greater impact of the initiative and an increase in the visibility of the promoted actions. It should be noted that, despite the efforts made by universities and local organizations to bring their interventions and knowledge closer together, the fact is that resources are being disseminated more rapidly among peers, between public and private local organizations, considering the more practical character at the expense of the more theoretical concepts disseminated by universities.
The transversality of the barriers associated to vulnerable groups is one of the key points that should guide the planning of the activities directed to this segment, in particular, taking into account the following aspects: - Address the social and economic barriers for older people such as access to venues, timing, costs, transport and safety; - Consider the needs of minority ethnic groups who may have cultural issues that deter them from participating; - Involve the groups in the planning and development of programmes; - Develop innovative and creative programmes that avoid the stereotyping of vulnerable groups and promote positive images.
It is expected to test this tool with different vulnerable groups during the project in order to enrich this resource with contributions and perspectives of integration of different vulnerable groups, such as migrants and refugees in the case of Cesena, youth unemployed and mental disabled citizens, among other groups in other countries.