Last Wednesday 18 October FC Barcelona invited a group of volunteers from the Catalan Association for the Promotion of Deaf People (ACAPPS) to visit the Barça Immersive Tour with the goal of experiencing first hand the issue of accessibility for people with deafness.
The event was set up by the Club's Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Department as part of the collaborative agreement between the Club and the non-profit making organisation. This collaboration came out of the need to develop initiatives, projects and services in the area of accessibility for those with hearing loss and their families. The use of technology to improve accessibility in all areas, digital space included, is one of the key points of the project.
At the moment, the Barça Immersive Tour has such tools as an audio induction loop at the reception desk, an audio guide and subtitles for videos. According to Ariadna Cardelús, a member and volunteer at ACAPPS who visited the Museum: "The audio induction loop allowed me to communication and clear up any problems I had before going in. Once inside, thanks to the audio guide and video subtitle, I was able to continue with my visit."
Ariadna, who lost her hearing at the age of 27, despite the presence of a hearing aid, needs to have accessibility measures in place in all areas to be able to communicate without help, and she rated positively the efforts that are being made by FC Barcelona with the help of ACAPPS. She added: "In my case, it is the first time I have been I have been asked my opinion by an organisation with the aim of inclusion despite my hearing disability. I was treated really well and our needs were taken into account at all times. I am really grateful and I hope other organisations take the trouble to work in a similar way."
The department of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion takes as a starting point that an inclusive society needs to comprehend that different people have different needs. For that reason, it is vitally important for the Club to have genuine feedback from its fans and visitors, in this case those with specific hearing related requirements, to find out exactly where the organisation finds itself and to keep working toward providing the best possible experience for each community.
Barça and its commitment to accessibility
FC Barcelona's commitment to improving accessibility has lead to current initiatives such the Visualfy progamme at the OAB office. Visualfy is a start up company which creates technological solutions for people with hearing and visual loss and in which FC Barcelona 's innovation and knowledge platform, Barça Innovation Hub, is involved.
Catalan Association for the Promotion of Deaf People (ACAPPS)
ACAPPS is non-governmental, non-profit making organisation that aims to represent and support the rights of people with hearing difficulties to help them fully participate in all areas of life.
Currently, Catalonia has some 272,300 people registered with hearing loss according to statistics from the National Survey of Health (INE). According to the Commission for the Early Detection of hearing problems, some 2,500 families in Spain have a child born into deafness each year.
These figures reported by ACAPPS show the real situation and the Club, committed to recognising diversity in all its forms - gender, sexual orientation, functional and cultural diversity - in all areas, wishes to get involved and bring these issues to light.