"Vida Feliz" is a large initiative willing to provide to a large amount of SILVER citizens in Guimarães a new opportunity toward physical activity.
Older people tend to move less. Fatigue and chronic diseases, create a vicious circle that has to fought. Vida Feliz (Happy Life) project is devoted to Active Ageing. It was developed, and is managed, by Tempo Livre (a local social cooperative) along with Guimarães Municipality. The project targets 55 + SILVERS and promotes organized participation in sport events. For some people it is the first time in their lifes they practice some sport. Golf, Dance, Hydrogym, Karate, Yoga or Judo classes, Mega Gymnastic events or Walking Football, are some of the actions of this project. From the very beginning, the project looked for scientific support for its intervention, and established partnerships with the main science institutions in the region. As a consequence, the project opened the range of offers to the participants, allowing them to live innovative experiences, always aiming for well-being and satisfaction.
Although the main institution in this project is the social cooperative Tempo Livre, the concept would not be a reality without the commitment of the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (LHSRI) / Medical School of Minho University - being responsible for monitoring the project focusing on health benefits in participants life quality; Guimagym –in Guimarães, provides participants free gymnastic classes professionally guided and Hospital da Luz Guimarães – a private hospital – who supports this project adding clinical survey during complementary activities.
6 professionals ( one coordinator and five internal coaches) 7 SME’s involved as expertise suppliers. The project is estimated in 300.000 €/ year. 60% is funded by the participants. The rest is sponsored by the private sector or by the municipality.
Evidence of success
The project begun in 2018/2019 with 60 classes per week, for 400 participants, and by the end of the year it had already with 87 classes, for 939 participants.
In the year of 2019/ 2020 until the COVID 19 interruption we had 1100 participants, with 106 classes per week.
There is no waiving, either of participants or cooperants, out of discontent.
Given the adhering rhythm and the fact that soon the project reached a massive level of participants, the adaptation to such a growing in participants, from the start to the second year, was challenging,
Potential for learning or transfer
Vida Feliz, Portuguese for Happy Life, is a RIS3 strategy adapted to provide happiness to seniors in Guimarães. The fact that, from the very beginning it involved the private sector, the University and the municipality, was key for the success. The open and strongly assumed focus on happiness rather than performance, was also key, since Competiveness is something that older people tend to avoid, out of tiredness. Particularly important was the connection with Minho University Medical School, which created the necessary confidence in the project, both for participants and private partners.