At present, reaching new audiences is an increasing priority of cultural policy. In Portugal, efforts have been made to encourage participation by increasing the number of touring projects, launching of new programmes for amateur and university theatre, promoting cultural activities addressed to young people, launching of a National Reading Promotion Programme (1997) and a National Reading Plan (2006). Educational services in museums and other cultural institutions have intensified their work with schools and municipalities.
For several years, national museums have reduced tariffs for students at all levels, teachers, researchers, museology professionals, adults over 65 years and sponsors. On Sunday mornings, entrances are free for all visitors.
Book loans in Portuguese public libraries have no costs for users (see chapter 4.1.6 and chapter 7.2.4).
In connection with cultural participation, mention should be made of the Choices Programme which promotes the social inclusion of children and young people from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds. With the support of local institutions (schools, training centres, associations and other social agents) responsible for designing, implementing and evaluating projects, this programme promotes inclusion through school, occupational training, leisure activities, and participating in the life of the community, amongst others. Some of these social action projects involve cultural and artistic activities, and play a key role in the social integration of the communities they target.
This government-sponsored programme is currently run by the ACIDI and funded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity and the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Higher Education.