For Barcelona there is much more to being a host city than providing support for refugees. The ‘Barcelona, Refuge City’ plan aims to focus people’s eagerness to help towards city families, whether refugees or not, who need temporary support to help look after young children.
These are families which, due to a variety of circumstances such as combining work and family commitments or for health reasons, cannot look after their children during certain periods. City Council’s Family Collaboration Service offers local volunteers who can help them out. Support can either be for a few hours a day, at weekends, over the holidays or for a few months, and is offered as near as possible to the children’s’ usual surroundings.
Natàlia has been a volunteer on the scheme for the last four years. She’s currently looking after Dylan at some weekends and in the summer holidays while his mother, Olivia, is at work. “It’s often women who are single and have no one to look after their children. We’re glad to do it and it’s no trouble at all, and for her it’s very important to know that her son is well looked after while she’s at work”, she explains.
The entities running the state programme for the reception and integration of refugees (ACCEM, CEAR and the Creu Roja) are in touch with the Family Collaboration Service and are able to refer cases where families need help with childcare.
If you’re interested in volunteering for this service and looking after a child you can find full information here.