Applauded supporters on the frontline against Covid-19

Some supporters working frontline

REPORTS 30 Apr 2020 - Supporters' Clubs World Confederation

From health workers to freelancers, through volunteers, security forces and the making of protective equipment; penyistes are helping out during the state of emergency caused by coronavirus

The exceptional situation resulting from the global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has brought a pressing need for more active support for basic social services. Thanks to essential workers in many sectors and the selfless collaboration of many volunteers, companies and institutions, we are gradually seeing light at the end of the tunnel and the hope that life can return to normal. 

Penya health workers

Among the supporters’ clubs movement there are many penyistes who are working day and night in the service of the health system. This is the case with PB Almagro, where two of its partners, Barbara Gómez and Sandra Pedrero, are nurses. The former cares for patients, while Pedrero works in casualty at Hospital San Pedro of Logroño. Others include Maite Fita (PB Bonastre) at Hospital XXIII in Tarragona; Mateo Blázquez (PB Soriana), in a special Covid-19 ward at Hospital Santa Bárbara; Astrid Mayor (PB Xerta) in the Nephrology unit at Santa Creu; Manolo Martínez (PB Tortosa), at the Baix Ebre medical centre; Dr Núria de Fuentes (PB Vicenç Piera), at Hospital Clínic; Gaspar Narcís Bayerri (PB Xerta) at the Ponent residence; and Judit Dellà (PB Traiguera) a member of the Federation of Terres de l’Ebre board who also works at a clinic in Tortosa.

But it’s not only health workers. The president of PB Málaga, Dolores Mellado, work in the general storage unit at Hospital Universitari Virgen de la Victoria distributing materials to staff at the centre, including caretakers, cleaners and cooks.

Civil protection: ensuring everyone's safety

With regard to emergency outpatient services, we should give a special mention to PB Campredó, where many of the members are specialist emergency drivers. The president, David Prats, and many other members, Juan José Palacios, Jordi Vila, Miquel Panisello, Isidre Cugat, Anselm Colomé Jordi Roig, Alejandro Pla and Joan Manel Rios are driving ambulances to help patients every day. Gemma Sánchez and Raül Ibáñez of PB L’Escala; PB L’Hospitalet de l’Infant member Toni Tejón; and the vice-president of PB Tivenys, and also local mayor, Eladi Galbé, are further examples.

As for the security forces that look after the safety of everyone, we have Daniel Candela of PB L’Hospitalet de l’Infant, a local policeman, Lluis Toldra of PB Fontalba d’Ulldemolins is also a police officer in the 112 service; and a member of PB Nulles is a fireman helping to disinfect old people’s homes.

Volunteers making of protective material

In addition to dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to their work, many supporters are voluntarily helping to make protective equipment to supply all these workers who are providing such essential services. A clear example of this is the member of the PB Rota El Centenario, José Antonio Fénix, who has made more than 200 masks and distributed them locally. Then there’s PB Bonastre, where Sara Benítez and her children have made masks for the county council to distribute, and PB Ciutadella board member, Lluis Sastre, whose iMenorca company is using 3D printing to make face masks for hospitals, residences, security forces, supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries and all other places where staff are working face-to-face with the general public. Or Jordi Asens, of PB L’Avellana de Riudoms, is donating a disinfectant that several volunteer farmers, including the secretary of the local supporters’ club, Eudald Salvat, apply every Friday to all the streets in the village using agricultural machinery.

Many volunteers are also working through the Red Cross and Caritas in their towns. This is the case, for example, of Joan Rech (PB L’Hospitalet de l’Infant) who is distributing food throughout the municipality; and Josep Barceló (PB Selva del Camp) who has set up five different charity initiatives to help people in his town: supporting people with reduced mobility, creating masks and protective clothing and many other things. 

Shops serving the public 

The movement not only offers its help individually, but also does so jointly or through its businesses. Several members of PB Nulles own bakeries and grocery stores, and are distributing food to the elderly in the village; as is PB Xerta member David López, owner of a supermarket in the village. Many farmers are also continuing to work as a basic service, such as Jordi Roig and Santi Roda, from PB Xerta. 

Not everything is a basic need, but entertainment with so much time on people's hands is also very important. That’s why three young members of the PB Fontalba d’Ulldemolins, Pau Espasa, Eric Toldra and Carla Llurba, are producing and sharing games related to the town. Lluis Yusté, founder of the PB Badia del Vallès, who normally works as Dr. Sapastre, a hospital clown, has instead been sending birthday videos to local boys and girls in lockdown to make their day as magical as possible.

Help around the world

Both the function and the value of health workers are common throughout the movement, including international supporters. For example, the president of the PB Los Angeles, Dr. Hutchman, who specializes in Parkinson’s, is still working on the frontline; the same goes for PB President Charlotte, Head of Obstetrics, who is attending to patients and guiding them in this delicate situation. At PB San Diego, the members of the board include Dr. Cesar López, who works in internal medicine. "He is a real hero, we are very grateful for his work, help and effort," say the penyistes. But they are not alone, the president of the PB San Diego, Ruben Aguilera, is Deputy Sheriff and is fully committed to his country's security forces who are working on the front line during this pandemic.   

Undoubtedly, today more than ever, what unites us around the world is the need to beat the virus, either by staying at home in quarantine like the vast majority or working on the frontlines as so many Barça supporters are doing, and to whom we are so deeply indebted.