Supporting the Renovation of the San Leonardo Di Manciano Parish for its Activities of Socialization and Prevention of Discomfort Amongst the Young and the Elderly

Project location: Italy, Manciano
Project start date: June 2010 - Project end date: June 2011
Project number: 2009-65
Beneficiary: Parrocchia di San Leonardo di Manciano

The Parish of San Leonardo di Manciano existed already 5 centuries ago, as is shown by records of a pastoral visit from the Castro's bishop in 1606. Until the middle of 1700 this Parish belonged to the Diocesis of Acquapendente when it was transferred to the Diocesis of Pitigliano, Sovana, Orbetello.
Manciano is a village born from a crossing of communication roads between the Papal State, the Tuscan Granducate, the Amiata Mountain and the sea. In the past it was a place where seasonal movement of livestock occurred not only for sheep but also for pigs because of the great quantities of oak woods.
The history of the community from the 1800 until the mid 1900 has been characterised by the presence of a few landowners (3 to 4 families) and many families of farmers and sharecroppers. Finally, with the agrarian legal reform, remained small land owners. During the '60 some agricultural cooperatives were established.
During the '70's through the development of the Saturnia thermal spa a new way to relate to the land started to occur and during the '80's and 90's many tourist related activities were developed.
These new social and economic developments involved huge social changes which have unfortunately transformed the ways of living of the families with work timetables and work shifts which do not effectively allow them for the care of children and of the elderly.
The above scenario has created a need that the Parish has responded to by organising a series of play, educational and socialising activities addressed both to children and to the elderly. Youth discomfort is a serious problem in this Maremman land, as can be seen from the statistical resarches on the abuse of alcohol and drugs (more than 50 young people over a population less than 3.000 inhabitants are assisted in rehabilitaion programmes).
All of this entails for the Parish the need to promote meetings among teen-agers, young people and adults, together with the school and sport associations, to make possible the construction of an educational/formative dialogue that can help them to deal with the risks of daily living. Asking the meaning of life is at the root of the discomfort of young people, the elderly and those living at the margins of society and this is the front where the Parish needs to battle through the means of the Oratory, the cultural center and various activities (conferences, exhibitions, meetings with families, days of being with the elderly, movie club for young people, meetings, publishing a Parish paper to advertise both new activities and obtained results, etc ... ).

The Parish has always given attention to youth, adults and the elderly, especially those living on their own, from this comes the inspiration for this project which intends to bring those people within an organization, for part of the week, and offer manual, play and cultural activities.
The Parish have helped 40 elderly people and 20 people living on their own.
The activities that the Parish has so far organised have been mainly educational (scouts, acr, summer camps involving the families). These activities have involved 200 children. With this new project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation,  Don Lido Lodolini wants to involve more people throughout the year by providing the right accommodation and the right help and by integrating the above mentioned activities with musical and theatrical workshops.
Around 500 people, mainly elderly, go regularly to Parish activities. At the moment there is a kindergarten (which has 35 children) which employs two teachers. An important relationship with people of different ethnic origins and of different religions has been started through the kindergarten, and this relationship has been helped by the Parish newspaper and through various activities aimed at integrating people.
Around 30 people are at the moment engaged on a volunteering basis in the various activities of the Parish ( caritas, consiglio pastorale, consiglio economico and catechisti).
Don Lido Lodolino has asked the foundation for a grant to finish the building work of the Parish, with the aim to provide new services to children and the elderly which are already part of it, within a program aimed to alleviate youth disfunctionality and the problems associated with the elderly.
The grant from the Foundation should enable a little sports ground for soccer and netball, the refurbishment of a play room and music room, the restoration of the Italian garden, buying educational aids as computers, projectors, books and films, building a open air structure to be used for outside events and the possibility of paying the expenses of the personnel involved in looking after activities for the elderly.

The activities that will be implemented are as follows:
- Activities in the oratory, structured along the theme of moral issues and societal values. These will be achieved through several kinds of meetings such as cultural, social, play, musical and on sport themes. This program will involve 40 young people.
- Reception and entertainment of young people. This will happen both in kindergarten and in the external structures that need still to be completed for the summer season. There will be after-school activities, reading lessons, ethical and social education. This program is aimed at 40 youths and 28 children.
- Meetings to increase the value of all the traditional wealth made from know-how, wisdom and maturity through a generational exchange between youths, young people, adults and elderly people. This will take place within the structure of the "Villa Aldi Mai" which in order to respond to this new function needs to be equipped with a library, a video library, room for reading and for manual activities. This program is aimed at 20 elderly people and 25 young people.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project. The enhancement of the Centre (Villa Aldi Mai) with the refurbishment of new spaces for teenagers, adults and the elderly, must give to the citizens of Manciano the possibility of meeting each other in a safe contest, to work together and to promote a dialogue both between people from different ethnic origins and between generations. Such a generational exchange must bring an increased sense of reciprocal value, of respect and a better understanding of those human attributes belonging to the human being.

Parrocchia di San Leonardo di Manciano
Piazza Della Chiesa N. 7
58014 Manciano (Grosseto) - Italy
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