Community development, Social inclusion

The Neighbourhood's School

Developing the social and political engagement's inhabitants of the outskirts by co-management of workshops, conferences and much more settled inside a local public school.


Idea pitch

Some call it Turin's "Banlieue". Outskirts and its residents are often considered to be “beyond hope". While others would warn to stay away from the outskirts district, we propose to channel its ability to give voice to students, families and institutions.
So, the "Neighbourhood's school” project has committed to open the school's doors beyond school hours in a vulnerable area, betting on its residents through workshops, conferences, meetings and much more.

Where will your project idea take place?

Torino, in the North of Italy

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The primary purpose of our project is to give back space for discussion and debate to the citizens of the suburbs. Public School is the right place to open up to the territory, so it becomes a pole of social aggregation and civil empowerment. Through school and education, the project aims to reconstitute the bond neglected for years between citizens of the suburbs and institutions. The inhabitants will discover themselves again as active protagonists of their social and political life, defining together the issues to explore and giving voice to the associations that contribute to the neighbourhood's well-being. Schools, inhabitants and public institutions will unite towards a single great common goal: building community with civic cohesion in the suburbs.

Who are you doing it for?

The project calls for the involvement of the larger slice of citizens of the Barriera di Milano district, of about 48000 people. Two distinct groups of beneficiaries will be privileged in the activities: on one hand, the new generations, especially the teenagers (involved in artistic and cultural workshops), on the other the families and adults (instead involved in conferences, in the most institutional assemblies). There are indeed about 10 high schools and about 30 elementary and middle schools in the area. This data confirms how popular the neighbourhood is to young people. On the other hand, the adult range (35-65 years) makes up 36.2% of the neighbourhood's total population and, therefore, cannot be underestimated.

How do you plan to get there?

The primary mission of this project is to support citizens of the most deprived suburbs in improving the level of well-being of their communities, demanding better access to public services and resources and using democratic means of participation.
The methodology we will use rests on three levels: informal education, daily presence in the area and dialogue with institutions. To face the challenges of the outskirts, we hold a progressive step scheme:
- Inhabit and comprehend the territory and its inhabitants;
- Listening to the community, bringing to light its needs and difficulties.
- Support (especially) youth participation through non-formal education activities
- Support the protagonism of families and adults of the territory in the planning and organization of public events and projects;
- Build a network of associations committed to the neighbourhood to strengthen the local power of the entities
Finally, we want to leverage the bond between public institutions and the neighbourhood to support the local community through advocacy activities.
Although Acmos will have a more prominent role in the short and medium term, the Idea's mission is to gradually transfer leadership to the local community.

What are the expected results?

At the end of the experience, we expect to have achieved the following objectives:
- having used a local public school as the operational headquarter, taking a step towards constructing a "neighbourhood educating community."
- have achieved local citizenship, with particular attention to young people and adults. We intend to measure this numerically in the participation of at least 100 students and 50 adults
- to have involved at least ten new associations operating in the area
- having settled the basis for a network between local authorities (institutions, associations and citizens) able to monitor (and respond to) the needs of the territory
- allowing young students of the neighbourhood to see a public space like school in a new perspective

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Education in terms of the open public school, the involvement of local institutions and the interest in the suburbs represent a winning formula for the democratic expression of the new millennium. We aim to establish the conditions under which some citizens in difficulty can find their voice, talking about their territory's opportunities and problems. Our project will improve the level of well-being of the neighbourhood and, at the same time, increase the sense of citizenship among its inhabitants. "Neighborhood's school" aims to highlight the interests of suburban inhabitants by giving them an exceptional opportunity to self-organize, therefore exploring forms of political involvement.

Why is this idea important to you?

Acmos has been operating for more than twenty years in the Barriera di Milano district, where moreover it has several headquarters and widespread co-housing communities. These are our two breeding themes: education on the region and community. For this reason, we have presided over local schools bringing many social and political themes into the classroom. At the same time, we live in the neighbourhood directly, having developed some realities of cohabitation inside the low-income houses of the area. The commitment to schools and first-person participation in the life of the neighbourhood has allowed us to have a broad knowledge of the territory and its needs. Therefore, we have a clear idea of the purpose of our activities: giving a voice to the outskirts and their inhabitants.

€ 20000,-

Total budget

€ 16500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- Coordination of the project, administration cost 4500 EUR

- Personnel costs (animator and operators) 7500 EUR

- Rent for the location, materials for the activities, cleaning products 2500 EUR

- PR and communication (communication strategy, media, adv. strategy, graphic design and print of handout materials) 4500 EUR

- The attendance fee for (national and international) guests: 1000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We strongly espouse the "through trial and error" philosophy. Therefore, we are looking forward to receiving feedback and advice on how to improve the program. One of our hopes is to find new travel partners who share our initiative and develop that in their territory.



Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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