Men and women players maintain traditional visit to children in hospital
The first team player virtually visited children at different hospitals in Barcelona province
Virtual visits used for the first time ever due to the pandemic situation
Last December 28, Barça manager Ronald Koeman and the members of his team paid their first virtual visit to children at eight hospitals in the province of Barcelona. From the studio at the Ciutat Esportiva training ground they connected online to share words of support and encouragement with youngsters at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Hospital Sant Pau, Hospital de Barcelona, Hospital HM Nens, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (Can Ruti), Parc Taulí Sabadell and Cottolengo Padre Alegre.
The women’s team did likewise with a virtual Christmas visit to Hospital Sant Joan de Déu. The idea behind these visits, which are usually done in person, was for the world-famous football stars to bring some joy in difficult times to children who are spending the festive season in hospital rather than with their families.
Health professionals have highlighted the positive impact of such visits on children’s emotional health. Both initiatives are part of the Barça Foundation’s Paediatric Emotional Wellbeing Programme, based on the positive emotional repercussions of feeling that their favourite team’s men and women players are there to support them.
The Foundation has also delivered 800 Christmas presents to children at the different hospitals.
It has been demonstrated that a favourable environment plays a key role in emotional wellbeing and hence the efficacy of the treatment and recovery of sick children. The Barça Foundation is fully aware of the ability of Barça and its athletes to generate positive emotions and hence developed this programme to provide support to sick children and their families. In order to boost the quality of life of children in hospital and with complex diseases, the Barça Foundation has been working for several years with the leading children’s hospitals in Catalonia with seriously ill patients, as well as with the top institutions in the sector.
As well as these Christmas visits by the players to hospitals, the Foundation also organises year-round visits to six hospitals in the province of Barcelona by players from the other professional sections: handball, basketball,, rink hockey, futsal and women’s football. It also arranges for seriously ill children to enjoy the unique experience of visiting the Camp Nou (attending games and having their picture taken with the players, when the pandemic situation so allows) or to receive autographed material.
The Barça Foundation, in association with the Abidal Foundation, also arranges for children in hospital or receiving treatment at home to go on virtual visits to the Barça Museum using a remote-controlled robot designed by the Awabot company.
The Foundation also works with other charities that work with at-risk communities by making donations of sports clothes, branded products or invitations to sporting events.
Last season some 120,000 children benefited from such activities.