FC Barcelona is historically one of the most prestigious football teams, holding the largest community of supporters globally. Today it is “More than a club” thanks to the actions and commitment of the Barça Foundation, which support vulnerable children and young people through sport and the teaching of values. The FC Barcelona Foundation works in particular to promote the inclusion and well-being of seriously ill children: since 2017, it has indeed launched the Robot Project by Barça Foundation. This device allows hospitalized children to have a unique, privileged and personal experience through a BEAM telepresence robot.
Inclusion: focus on the uses of mobile telepresence at Camp Nou
Thanks to the telepresence robot customized in the colors of the club, a child connected from the hospital can experience various virtual interactions such as:
- the visit of the FC Barcelona museum;
- some matches during which young distant supporters watch the kick-off from the edge of the field;
- operations with other clubs equipped with telepresence robots, as was the case with OL during Champions League round-trip matches.
Open door training session at Camp Nou: the telepresence robot is part of the team!
The telepresence robot is used by the Barça Foundation for virtual interactions with the staff, and of course the players.
Thus, each year, FC Barcelona organizes training open to the public and systematically invites a young fan hospitalized in order to allow him to experience the event as close as possible to the players and the public present.
At the start of the year, this long-awaited event by supporters took place on Monday, January 3: in addition, all the income generated by this day was donated to the Robot Project by Barça Foundation.
On the occasion of this day, a child connected from the hospital therefore met the players on the lawn, in particular the new recruit Ferran Torres, and was even placed at the center of the team during the official photograph.
Robot Pol: what results for the Barça Foundation?
The impact and benefits of this system implemented by the foundation are being studied.
- 92% of children and young people connected to the Robot Pol stopped thinking about their illnesses and treatments during this activity;
- 97% felt important, special and entertained;
- 94% of users simply felt better, with more energy.
From caregivers side:
- 83% believed that the young patients had expressed a better self-esteem following this experience;
- 83% also confirmed that they had “forgotten” the disease and their treatments during connection.
Thus, the Barça Foundation is a real example to follow in terms of inclusion in the world of football and can inspire many sports and cultural organizations, eager to innovate for the well-being of prevented people.
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