Covid-19: the social and community response of the Santa Pola association network
Edited on29 May 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a strong blow to world economic activity, particularly in Spain, one of the most affected countries by the virus that just a few years ago, has begun to recover from a long economic crisis. But beyond the economic impact derived from the contractions in demand and consumption, the strong restrictions on mobility have also had very significant consequences at the social and community level.
In this sense, associations and NGOs have been especially vulnerable to the current crisis, as they base much of their activity on proximity to citizens, community participation and the use of public space. Paradoxically, they face this unexpected challenge at a time when their role is more necessary than ever, when people most need social support, guidance, truthful information, health care and, why not say, access culture and entertainment.
The current situation of confinement has highlighted the importance that these social actors play in the day-to-day lives of many people: young, old, children, vulnerable groups. Aware of this, many associations and community spaces in Santa Pola have decided to adapt their activity to the current situation and implement innovative actions to support the community. Fortunately, the examples have been very numerous, and it is inevitable to be a little unfair highlighting only some of them.
The Santa Pola Civic and Social Center and La Senia are the most important local associative spaces. Both are the main structures that provide support and physical locations for associations to carry out their activities. Unfortunately, both spaces have had to be closed after the Covid-19 pandemic, which has significantly affected the activity of their associations.
Despite this, both spaces have made a significant effort to adapt their activity. In the case of the Civic Center, despite the fact that most of the activities have been canceled, the implementation of remote training and accompaniment programs for vulnerable people stands out. This is the case of the local music school, which conducts classes remotely and daily with its students. Or the school activities support service for students with difficulties, which continue to be carried out through internet by some associations.
Given this situation, some associations have come together to cooperate with each other at the local level. Some of the most outstanding initiatives have been the creation of cloth masks and protective screens to fight the Covid-19. Some examples of associations involved in these initiatives are the Cancer Association, Asoc. Multiple Sclerosis and New Horizon.
Example of associative support to fight Covid-19: protection masks developed by the “Association contra el Cancer” donated to the local police.
As for the Youth Center, a recreational space for young people located in the Civic Center, multiple activities have taken place during the pandemic. Among them some activities stand out:
• “Hopefromyourbalcony”: a weekly challenge through social networks (Instagram) in which people shares creative and funny pictures from home balconies.
• "musicathome". Every Friday at 19:00 pm, four youth local artist perform a live show on their Instagram and Facebook page.
• Another interesting initiative promoted by the Youth Center are the Instagram “live interviews” to youth from different realities as health professional, local police, students, athletes, artists, etc. These interviews allow viewers to interact and ask questions.
• Online debates platform for youth.
• Online sport and training activities through social networks.
Information poster the “Hopefromyourbalcony “ initiative
The online training activities
Information poster the “musicathome” initiative
In La Senia, the other large associative space in the city, interesting activities have been implemented to support older people, through a plan to monitor their current state of health, and continuous information on the current situation. Moreover, a local assoications created to fight Alzheimer has edited some visual content for caregivers in order to allow them to help patients from home with sport activities and cognitive exercises, among others.
Example of online activities developed by the Alzheimer local association in La Senia
At the municipal level, the Santa Pola City Council has carried out different actions to offer concrete information for citizens on measures and regulations to face Covid-19. Thus, for example, from the Local Development Agency, the "Practical Guide to Measures against COVID-19" was written and published, aimed at workers, unemployed and self-employed people, SMEs and companies in general. The purpose of this guide is to offer, in a simple way, useful information on the main economic measures adopted to face the crisis. The guide presents in a single document the main measures, procedures and aids that the various public administrations have implemented since the start of the pandemic.
Two other interesting initiatives are:
The Guide that the Equality Department published about the different subsidies for housing rental:
And the guide on how to act in case of being a victim of gender violence during the confinement situation:
In short, the current crisis has promoted the development of innovative activities and has not slowed down the support and commitment by the associations and local administration to citizens.
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