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FC Barcelona have always fully supported the rights and well-being of disabled persons. This commitment extends to all areas of society to cover personal, professional, and sporting development.
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development universal value principle two states "Leave No One Behind". In this sense, Barça believe in the inclusive, equal, and sustainable development of these persons and would like to shine a light on the scope of their awareness of the issue, particularly on December 3, declared International Day of Disabled Persons in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly.
Disabled persons form part of FC Barcelona's day to day activities and the Club regularly promotes actions for members of this collective.
Social Area and Supporters Clubs involved
The Club's Social Area has the Specialised Supporter Services Office (OAE), who are responsable for looking after Club members with a disability and/or impaired movement. The OAE manages and coordinates the “T'Acompanyem” project jointly with the Red Cross. This service allows fans attending the stadium to request Red Cross volunteers to accompany them, who bring a wheelchair to collect them. The Club is also looking into requests from members for home pick-ups.
The FC Barcelona Supporters Clubs also promote activities for disabled persons, such as donations to institutions and charity games.
Furthermore, seven supporters clubs (PB Sant Cugat, PB La Roca, PB Vilassar de Mar, PB Sant Vicenç Horts, PB Terlenka, PB Sant Esteve Sesrovires and PB Special Barça) have inclusive football teams comprising disabled persons.
The Barça Foundation: Barça Genuine Foundation team, worldwide projects, and Àlex Roca as ambassador
As regards the Foundation's activities, this season has seen the formation of the Barça Genuine Foundation team, which includes persons with functional and intellectual diversity. They play in LaLiga Genuine Santander, which began in the 2017/18 season. The competition included 36 teams last season, all of which represented LFP member clubs, and it aims to progress the integration and inclusion of persons with different abilities into the world of sport.
The institution has also been running a socio-educational project in Catalonia since 2015, involving after-school classes that provide access to sport and improve emotional well-being and other skills among children and young people with functional diversity that previously encountered different barriers to participation.
Supported by Konami, the Barça Foundation has had a project running in Japan since 2018 involving using sport as a tool to include persons with functional diversity, with the participation of the Japanese Federation of Inclusive Football, among other social institutions.
Since 2017, the Foundation has run a program to promote the inclusion of children and teenagers with functional diversity in the New York districts of Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan in the United States of America.
In conjunction with the Abertis Foundation, the Foundation has recently initiated a collaboration in Brazil that aims to promote the social inclusion of disabled children and young people through sport and physical exercise in four district schools in Sao Paulo state.
The Barça Foundation has also developed an Inclusion Protocol that can assess the inclusion of disabled persons into groups of children with no disabilities, via socio-educational activity sessions and the medium of sport.
Àlex Roca was presented as the Foundation's new ambassador in November. The athlete with cerebral palsy will represent the institution on projects to improve the lives of the more vulnerable children and young people.
Wheelchair basketball and athletics
In the sports domain, FC Barcelona has also had a wheelchair basketball team since 2002. After a period linked to Institut Guttmann, they have been managed by UNES Unión Deportiva since 2010, a not-for-profit institution that promotes playing sport for people with physical disabilities.
The Club's athletics team includes Xavi Porras, the 2021 Catalonian and Spanish long jump champion. Other members of team include the guide Guillermo Rojo, who helped athlete Gerard Descarrega win a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Espai Barça, the road to accessibility
Both Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana are over 50 years old, and both present deficiencies regarding accessibility. This is another reason why the Espai Barça is essential in order to significantly improve general accessibility and mobility. The entire enclosure will be adapted to persons with reduced mobility and functional diversities, prioritising unrestricted accesses and services.
In terms of the future Camp Nou, there will be ten sets of lifts and escalators to make access to the stands easier. Interior movement will also be notably easier, with well-placed locations for persons with reduced mobility and their companions throughout the stadium. There will also be better services and signage for fans with hearing and sight deficiencies.
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