“Desporto no Bairro” has grown steadily and is already an example to the country

  • Porto.

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After the success registered in the three previous years (2020, 2021 and 2022), “Desporto no Bairro” is back this year with a renovated sense of social responsibility and sportsmanship. With an investment of 150 thousand euros, the 2023 edition is growing and is going to last for an extra month, taking place between the months of July and October.

This Tuesday, in the Skate Park of Ramalde, apart from the news of the fourth edition, it became possible to see the results of one of the most important sports programmes of the Municipality of Porto, with acts by Momentum Crew (with music by Manuel Soares, in the Portuguese guitar, and by beat boxer Jorge Loureiro) and a skate exhibition.

Four Olympic sports (breaking, surf, skate and street basket) have attracted the attention of almost a million children and young people, between 6 and 22 years old, from 17 neighbours in the city, numbers achieved in last year’s edition of “Desporto no Bairro”.

“It is no wonder this programme has been gaining more sports, more participants, more neighbourhoods from our city and all our enthusiasm, in every new chapter”, the mayor of City Hall has stated, adding: “Porto can be proud of its associative tradition which reflects the active and intrepid spirit of our people. In this dimension it also highlights the dynamism of our associations, clubs and schools”.

Rui Moreira recalled that in the national celebrations of the 49th anniversary of the 25th of April, the Palácio de São Bento, official residence of the Prime-Minister, received a group of children and young people who take part in “Desporto no Bairro” for a breaking demonstration. “It is clear: the programme has been reinforcing a social role that is transversally recognised and valued”, the mayor highlighted.

Municipal programme is under the watchful eye of the country

“In 2020, when we started the project, we didn’t imagine that we would have in hands an idea which is today a municipal programme which is at the centre of attentions – and acts as an inspiration – for other municipalities while being recognised by the country’s decision makers”, the councillor for Sports emphasised.

“We believe we can contribute in promoting an alternative future for these young people who see in this programme an option to occupy their time and their minds”, Catarina Araújo added.

In its last edition alone, “Desporto no Bairro” gathered almost a million children and young people from Lagarteiro, Cerco, Pasteleira, Pinheiro Torres, Fonte da Moura, Aldoar, Ramalde do Meio, Viso, Francos, Central de Francos, Contumil, Pio XII, Agra do Amial, S. Tomé, Fontainhas, Miragaia e Sé to practice one of the fours Olympic sports (breaking, surf, skate and street basket).

For this edition, the training initiatives will continue to encompass these Olympic sports, oriented towards partner organisations such as MXM Art Center, the working place of Max Oliveira, the coordinator of “Desporto no Bairro” (for the category of breaking), the clubs of União Académica António Aroso, Académico Futebol Clube e Sporting Clube Vasco da Gama (for the category of street basket), Flower Power Surf School e Surf Training School (for the category of surf) e a Vou na Prancha/Kate SkateShop (for skate).

“This fourth edition [of “Desporto no Bairro”] is the consolidation of three years of disruptive, innovative, and challenging practices. It wasn’t easy! It never will be. But this programme has proven that it is, year after year, fundamental to fight against the absence of goals, a platform of promotion, of the fulfilment of dreams”, the councillor for Sports has ensured.

“Thank you Porto for continuing to believe in our young people”

The coordinator of the municipal programme believes that this edition will leave a mark in young people’s lives. “After three years, there are some young people who are already part of the training team, others are helping train other young people, others participate in neighbourhood associations and are actively competing in this sports”, Max Oliveira revealed.

Created in 2020, the programme began by offering only breaking classes – which became an Olympic sport that year – in four centres encompassing eight social neighbourhoods. The about 600 participants exceeded the expectations and in 2021 there were 3 new sports (with surf and skate joining), the centres increased to six and the neighbourhoods encompassed to 14, now engaging 800 young people.

In 2022, the project has reached 900 children and young people from 17 geographic areas and with intervention centres reaching the Centro Histórico do Porto, namely Fontainhas, Miragaia and Sé. Other than three sports which were already encompassed by the programme, street basket was added, taking advantage of the 15 new spaces dedicated to this sport, unveiled in the city in the same year.

“Thank you Porto for continuing to genuinely believe in our young people and training teams. Porto took chances. We didn’t know where this would take us and, today, the programme is a reason for being proud, showing how young people are an example in this new path and in a dignified perspective on life”, Max Oliveira claimed.

Rui Moreira recalled, quoting the coordinator of “Desporto no Bairro”: “By the time the third edition wrapped up, [Max Oliveira] shared with us a new sentence that I believe sums up all that has been said here today: changing one life is enough for the project to have been worth it”.