This new initiative gathers reading, care and the elderly in the same activity and has been carried out by Atresmedia Volunteers. On the occasion of the World Book Day, the Book Clubs have been launched, energized by Atresmedia volunteers to accompany the elderly. The activity has the collaboration of the Adopta Un Abuelo association and the NGO Grandes Amigos, in addition to Grupo Planeta, and is framed in Crea Cultura, the group's corporate responsibility movement aimed at defending and valuing creation and intellectual property and promoting culture and its authors.
This initiative aims to combat loneliness of the elderly, one of the groups most affected by the current health crisis in all its consequences and a sector of the population in great need of social interaction, whose visits and activities have been reduced or completely eliminated. In addition, it encourages intergenerational commitment and makes it possible for both to enrich themselves with the experience. Atresmedia Book Clubs start on April 23 with the celebration of World Book Day, but they will continue with a fixed periodicity and are open to new entities, volunteers and older people.
On this first opening on the World Book Day, more than 50 persons from residences in serveral cities in Spain, including León, Torrelodones and Coslada in Madrid, Pamplona and Seville, will participate through online meetings with Group employees in the reading of The time in between (El tiempo entre costuras), the book by María Dueñas, of which each one will receive a copy. In small groups, the reading will be coordinated by an Atresmedia volunteer.
As the group's Corporate Responsibility manager, Susana Gato, sums up: “At Atresmedia, we have been offering our employees volunteer activities for more than a decade. Through them we dedicate time, support and professional knowledge to numerous social projects and we get closer to their realities. On this occasion, supporting our elders, one of the groups that has suffered the most during the pandemic, and doing it through reading, makes perfect sense for a group like Atresmedia in which, in addition to promoting culture and creativity, we also strive to develop initiatives that contribute to the progress of society by making available the best value we have ”.
The CEO and founder of Adopta Un Abuelo, Alberto Cabanes, has expressed his joy about this initiative: "we are very happy to be part of this initiative, which promotes culture and intergenerationality through reading workshops among Atresmedia volunteers and the elderly people of our program. A way to focus older people through accessible activities and mutual learning. "
For Mercedes Villegas, director of Grandes Amigos, “reading has been a great companion for many older people who, for different reasons, were alone and can count now with the accompaniment of Great Friends. These book clubs mean much more than sharing their passion for books: they mean socializing in times of pandemic; meeting other people through culture; generating the excitement of periodically meetings to comment on the book, as equals, and exchange different feelings and experiences that the same book can provoke in different people... It will be a stimulating, enriching and healthy activity for the members of Grandes Amigos. We are grateful for the initiative to Atresmedia and its employees, who have always shown a special sensitivity towards the elderly population ”.
Volunteering and culture in pandemic times
In 2020, Atresmedia made a special effort to adapt all of its in-person Corporate Volunteering Program (in 2019, 96% of the activities were face-to-face and 4% online), to the virtual format, preserving the safety of its employees and the groups to which it has dedicated to, to be able to provide solutions to the social crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Spain through volunteering.
During the past year, Atresmedia launched a total of 17 activities with the participation of 360 Group volunteers (54% more compared to 2019) and added more than 4,300 hours of collaboration (125% more than the previous year) with various vulnerable groups from 13 NGOs. Among them, the #AisladosPeroNoSolos (#IsolatedButNotAlone) project stands out, a total of 7 actions carried out in the year aimed at assisting the most vulnerable groups in the health crisis (telephone assistance to elderly people, sending letters of encouragement to hospitalized people, accompaniment people with disabilities and resolution of technological doubts resulting from the digital divide).
Adopta Un Abuelo connects generations through periodic telephone accompaniment, paying tribute to the elderly and positioning them in the place they deserve, while the young learn unique values of life. This has led to more than 4,700 volunteers and more than 3,000 older people sharing experiences that accumulated approximately more than 40,000 hours of conversation. The program not only aims to accompany the elderly, but also to focus on the figure of grandparents, great teachers of life.
Grandes Amigos is a statewide volunteer NGO, dedicated for 18 years to prevent and alleviate loneliness in the elderly, helping them to grow old in company with health and dignity. It does so through affective accompaniment (face-to-face and by telephone, at homes and in residences), leisure and socialization activities and neighbourhood support networks. It also defends the rights of the elderly population and raises awareness against age stereotypes, the origin of many situations of loneliness, discrimination and rejection of old age.