What is it about?
Hi, we are the team of Big Fish, a beach resort in Marina di Pisa. Big Fish is the summer headquarter of L'Alba Associazione, which operates since the past twenty years in the domain of psycho-social rehabilitation of persons with mental illness or cognitive impairments, adopting a personalized approach based on art-therapy and self-help groups.
Big Fish in Marina di Pisa is since 2013 the first beach resort co-managed by persons with mental illness, who are committed to their work with proud and enthusiasm, along with the rehabilitation professionals of L'Alba Associazione. Big Fish is a no barrier location, fully accessible and inclusive, open to everybody with no prejudices or discrimination. Enjoying sun and sea people get to know and accept each other.
Our welcoming and stimulating environment, including for example art-therapy workshops and pottery shop, is very much appreciated by families with young children. Over the years, a wonderful “village” has been created, where children can grow up and play living a fully inclusive experience.
Thanks to a number of activities and services (restaurant, bathing facilities, cafeteria, reception, summer camps organized by the Municipality of Pisa for children with and without disabilities, socio-cultural events and activities, art-therapy workshops), Big Fish can host more than 70 fragile persons each season.
L'Alba Associazione is rooted in the territory of Tuscany and in the third sector network. For us, it is very important to ensure that the largest possible number of individuals can benefit from our work.
Our dream is to be able to allow overnight staying at Big Fish during the summer, by creating an accessible and appropriately equipped environment where families of persons with disabilities and fragile persons can enjoy their holidays without organizational burdens or frequent traveling.
Many families are eagerly waiting for this opportunity and keep asking us how our search for funding is progressing. Friends of our association from all over Italy will also be very happy of this opportunity. Over the years, we have frequently helped persons with disabilities and their families coming from other areas to find accommodation in nearby hotels or campings, but in many cases they had to give up due to barriers which would make their staying uncomfortable.
With your help, we can change this!
How funds will be used
This crowdfunding campaign will help support a part of the wider project “Accessible and inclusive holydays”. An existing large hall in the beach resort will be renovated into 6 independent apartments, available for 6 families. These apartments will be fully accessible, following appropriate physical accessibility principles (doors’ dimensions, approaching space, bathrooms, etc.), and our objective is to complete the project by the summer of 2023.
We are searching for funding and support from public and private institutions in order to make this dream come true. The present campaign will contribute to build an accessible bathroom for each of the six apartments, with a cost of 8.000 euros.
Who's behind the project?
You can recover from mental illness, but not alone. L'Alba Associazione since the beginning of the new millennium is committed to offer recovery opportunities in Pisa to many persons and their families, through a variety of psycho-social rehabilitation paths: self-help groups, art-therapy, job training, and supported living. Our team is composed of psychiatric rehabilitators, educators, social facilitators and volunteers.
Valeriana, our chef and social facilitator, says that L'Alba Associazione is like a family. Eva, who is the responsible of the communication office, describes our experience as the result of a synergy between persons healing from mental illness and enlightened professionals capable of seeing and valuing the resources hidden behind symptoms. Diana, our president, met the self-help group conducted in the 90s’ at the Santa Chiara Hospital in Pisa when she was a student, and immediately understood that those persons, who met once a week to share their experiences and encourage each other, had the potential to achieve together great results, transforming their painful experience into an asset not only for a limited group, but for the entire city. Chiara and Simone, both psychiatric rehabilitators, have joined with enthusiasm our adventure after a period of civil service with us, putting at our disposal their competencies and empathy. Vessi and Michela, who take care of our groups, have met themselves L'Alba through our self-help activities. Starting from small projects, we have gradually succeeded in setting up our own premises at via delle Belle Torri, than some years later the Quore restaurant in Via del Cuore, both located at the heart of Pisa center, and finally Big Fish!
Being together, sharing experiences, being trained at work in a protected environment, spending time in socially enriching settings, sharing spaces open to all without barriers, makes us feel good: Francesco, Dario, Fausto, Alessia, Carmine are only some of the many members who eagerly await the beginning of the summer season. They have developed friendship relationships with our customers at BigFish with simplicity and care. Everybody helps according to their abilities, feeling part of a unique and precious endeavor.
Project created by
Founded in 2000, L'Alba Associazione is involved in the psycho-social rehabilitation of persons who suffer or have suffered from mental illness through the creation of shared destigmatizing spaces, open to all, where everybody as a persona and as a citizen can enjoy occasions of entertainment, socializing, conviviality, wellbeing, culture, training and information.