Gathering of users of the Vincles programme, with participation from Bloomberg Philanthropies

Gathering of users of the Vincles programme, with participation from Bloomberg Philanthropies

01/08/2018 - 12:40

Vincles. Users of the Vincles programme met in July to compare their experiences and discover the improvements to be introduced to the app from the autumn onwards.

Users of the Vincles programme met in July to compare their experiences and discover the improvements to be introduced to the app from the autumn onwards. The session was also attended by the head of governmental innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies, James Anderson, and the Deputy Mayor for Social Rights at Barcelona City Council, Laia Ortiz.

The focus of the session was on the users, who gave first-hand accounts of their experiences with family and friends, as well as with professionals involved in running the service. The accounts from users confirm that the Vincles programme has improved their quality of life, helping them to strengthen and broaden the communication with their families, as well as to forge new friendships.

During the gathering, Laia Ortiz commented on the need for the Vincles programme to foster family and social relationships between elderly people living alone: “We need these people to feel they have company, for them to build a social network, to contribute to and take part in an improvement for the city as a whole”.

Another goal of the Vincles programme is to bridge the digital divide among the over 65s, as explained by James Anderson: “It’s an incredible solution, which connects the elderly with technology. They can improve their lives, reduce loneliness and connect with the family”. Anderson took part in the session as a representative of the Bloomberg, Foundation, which awarded the Vincles programme first prize in the Mayors Challenge 2014, worth five million euros.

Vincles started out as a pilot scheme in the Eixample and Sant Martí districts and has since been rolled out in the rest of the city. The number of users has grown by 30% since March 2018, with the total number expected to exceed 1,000 this autumn.

On one hand, the programme reduces loneliness among the elderly by maintaining, strengthening and extending their social circles. On the other hand, it uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to help them engage with those around them. The Vincles programme currently has 65 user groups, based around various themes, with an average of 22 participants in each group.

For more information, go to the Vincles website.