THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR
The Spazio Zero association was founded in the autumn of 2001.
In that year, part of Cooperativa sociale Totem, in agreement with the municipality of Gorla Maggiore – in the province of Varese – began recruiting adolescents with the aim of fully involving them in a project tailored to their needs.
Specifically, Cooperativa sociale Totem implemented and still implements youth participation projects, using socio-cultural animation tools. In this way, it informally accompanies groups of young people in the realisation of events and projects at local level. The practical part makes it possible to strengthen group cohesion and develop a network of shared social values.
In 2001, Stefano Bottelli, educator and head of the social cooperative Totem, was called upon by the same municipality to devise educational, cultural and training projects for young people, guaranteeing them a special space for expression.
With this project vision in mind, the participants immediately set to work on small jobs, aimed at expanding social cohesion.
This goal was soon achieved: hence the association as we know it today came to life. ‘Spazio Zero’ decided to call itself this in order to tempt fate: the chosen term was seen as a challenge since, at that Ora, the space for action and social inclusion of young people was equal to Zero. With its foundation, the promoters wanted to create an institutionalised space for themselves and future generations. ‘Spazio Zero‘ was to be a point of reference, a solid base of support; not only to have a voice in the outside world, but also to act as a catchment area, giving young people, including those of the future, a space already present in the area to be heard and to be considered.
In addition to the usual sports tournaments, film forums, musical events, and cultural meetings were organised.
In 2005, the project that made Spazio Zero take a quantum leap came to light: “Distillati Sonori”, whose echo resonated far beyond 2005 and the borders of Gorla Maggiore.
After the incredibly positive result, Spazio Zero began working to give it an annual cadence. Today, “Distillati Sonori” remains the flagship event that allows the association to remain active and present in the area, expanding its network of contacts. For example, several current members came to know about Spazio Zero precisely at this event. Its fundamental aspect is that it is designed “for the people”, to share the fruits of all the experiences lived in Spazio Zero with users.
During the Distillati Sonori festival, internationally renowned artists such as Boom Da Bash, Bassi Maestro, Babaman, Piotta, Flaminio Maphia, etc. were called on stage in the party area.
In 2007, Spazio Zero became a legally recognised Social Promotion Association, registered in the provincial register of non-profit organisations.
In 2009, a European cultural exchange project was carried out with some Portuguese and Polish young people, hosted by the municipality in its school building. Together with the young members, they visited Varese, the lakes and the city of Milan.
In 2011, the Spazio Zero Association took part in “MediActive Youth”, a project by Cesvov, with the aim of promoting volunteering in high schools in the province of Varese, through the audio-visual medium. In this context, Spazio Zero presented a promotional video of its activities.
In 2012, the association won the ‘Giovani del Volontariato’ (Youth Volunteering) award. and in 2013, a “Welcome Home” (vintage-inspired 50s-style party) was organised to celebrate the launch of the book written by educator Stefano Bottelli and Luciano Turrici on the association’s history.
In 2014, the founders won the SIGMA project promoted by the Lombardy Region and Consorzio del Medio Olona, organising an event on the theme of the mafia: ‘Oltre i 100 passi – Viaggio per la legalità‘ (Beyond 100 steps – Journey for legality). Two Giorni of debates and music In programmaed by Giovanni Impastato, brother of mafia victim Peppino. During the meeting, the book written by Giovanni (whose title gave the event its name) was discussed and an anonymous questionnaire on the influence of the Mafia in the lives of citizens and within the institutional context was submitted to all those present.
In 2018, the association faced a generational change and a change of the entire board, which was essential after more than ten years of activity. The team saw the entry of several boys and girls aged between 18 and 30, from the ‘home’ country and neighbouring areas. It amalgamates different school, academic and professional backgrounds, which help generate the most diverse ideas, while maintaining openness and flexibility.
In the same year, by networking with other associations, the new staff once again created – from scratch – an event that had never been offered in the past. On the first Sunday in February, in fact, the new recruits organised ‘Pizzoccheriamo‘, a Valtellina-style culinary event in the proverbial Festival Area that was a great success among participants.
In 2019, the association has around 30 members, excluding the founders and adults who support its work and understand the importance of providing a social space for the Varese youth community.
Over the past year, the association has worked hard to expand the number and type of events, creating a close social network with many associations in the town and beyond, thus becoming a greater base of support and backing. This has been matched by a broadening of the public the association wants to address.
In 2020, Spazio Zero began the year with its usual Valtellina-themed event, PizzoccheriAMO on 23 February, which was a great success. The 2020 edition of PizzoccheriAMO also saw the introduction of a delivery service with our red Ape Car. A week later the Lockdown was declared and the Association decided not to stop, but to continue its activities in an alternative way. Spazio Zero moved onto social media, entertaining its public through culinary and cultural contests as well as donating masks you have neighbouring countries. Once again, Spazio Zero has been present even in difficult Oras.
In September there was the first edition of the Pic Nic in Valle at Calipolis in collaboration with the Calimali O.D.V. In addition to the numbers made during this day, Spazio Zero also considers important the bonds created and those forged during the event. Thank you Calimali O.D.V. for the extreme hospitality shown to us each Ora, for trusting us, for welcoming us to this green corner of the Olona Valley that is always animated in different ways. It was also an opportunity to get to know other associations including: ASD Marnate Gorla Calcio, Associazione MeLa Gioco, Gemma Burundi- OdV, La vigna del colle di San vitale, Progetto WIP, Centro Antiviolenza Icore , I Trovatelli).
In December, Spazio Zero opened its doors to a new collaboration with the Casaringhio APS Association of Busto Arsizio by joining the ‘Christmas Boxes‘ initiative, a project whose aim is to help the neediest people by donating clothing, food, hygiene products, etc. to them.
In January, Spazio Zero received an invitation to participate in a European meeting: “𝗣𝗲𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼… 𝗣𝗲𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗿!”
After several meetings and various confrontations, here we are, present, together with other European Associations: PASEC (𝐏𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐠𝐚𝐥), Anthropolis ( 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐲), Center ACT for SOCIETY (𝐀𝐥𝐛𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐚) + others from our area!
The objectives are: - to increase the knowledge of other European groups promoting youth leadership.
– to encourage intercultural encounters and exchanges.
– to get to know European youth programmes.
– to gather some ideas for new projects to submit to the EC.
Even today, Spazio Zero, in its own small way, has managed to bring and make known a piece of its Gorla Maggiore to other bodies in the European community.
To Data, “Spazio Zero” continues to pursue its mission: to encourage moments of union and sharing among young people from a social, cultural and professional point of view, to create a network of communication among them and listen to their requests, thoughts and issues.