Around a thousand elderly people throughout the city use VinclesBCN to alleviate their social and emotional loneliness. This service, which is provided by Barcelona City Council’s Department for the Promotion of the Elderly with the support of the Bloomberg Foundation, seeks to encourage elderly people living on their own to relate to their environment and lead an active life to the extent that they each deem appropriate.
At the event held today at the Born Cultural and Memorial Centre, Barcelona mayoress Ada Colau stated that, “in a city like Barcelona, which is proud of itself, which has an innovative economic system and a great international position in the technology sector, which hosts the Mobile World Congress, we must ensure that, above all, this innovative economy serves to improve people’s lives. We want a city that is friendly to people at all stages of life and where everyone can live their life as they wish regardless of age.”
James Anderson, head of Government Innovation Programmes at Bloombert Philantropies, in turn pointed out that, “we do a lot of work on service-based programmes for the elderly, but we have now realised that it is better to empower them. We don’t see this kind of programme in many cities around the world, and Barcelona can become a model for other cities in this regard.”
Users have a tablet provided by the City Council with the VinclesBCN app installed on it. This gives them two social circles. One of them is composed of their trusted people (such as relatives and friends), and the other is more of a community based on each person’s areas of interest and location and composed primarily of other elderly people and a group coordinator. This coordinator is responsible for encouraging the elderly people forming part of the network to take part in the activities carried out in their community and their environment.
The city currently has 70 social groups based on various subjects and covering various geographic areas. Including friends and relatives, they connect 4,000 people.
Anyone who meets the requirements to take part can apply at the City Council’s Social Services Centres or at Primary Healthcare Centres, by calling the number 010 or through the website www.barcelona.cat/vinclesbcn.