Espai, telecentre, the computer website, where appointments, where the papers... El Espai La Coma is known in the neighbourhood by many ways. And after more than 15 years since it opened its doors, it continues to be a unique site of meeting, mixing and appreciation. Over the last year and a half, with the arrival of COVID, there has been many small changes necessary to remain open to the community. But it is also that community of neigbours that have made it possible.
In the last seven months, the Espai team has dealt with almost 700 people and has carried out a total of 1163 assistances. All of them carried out with safety measures. Assistence directed at informing, aid and facilitating all types of electronic management. The most in-demand has been that of IMV (Ingreso Mínimo Vital), he non-contributory benefit whose objective has been “to ensure a certain level of income to all households in a situation of vulnerability” before the arrival of the health emergency. The team has provided prior information for the application, and in almost half of the cases, it has also been supportive when filing a claim against the denial of aid.
What's more, daily, El Espai La Coma has been full of people with pending issues: Obtainment of certificates, SEPE, SERVEF, and Property reports... Documents that the residents have to obtain with a digital signature and that in many cases have provided emergency social aid from the council or access to food banks.
During all this time, continuous communication from the community has been essential. Besides collective confinement, the organisation decided it was necessary to create an alternative channel via Whatsapp, to facilitate updated information and help whenever it is needed. A channel that up until now is still valid and is a great tool for the residents to keep up to date with news from El Espai, in the neighborhood, council measures, ministry...
El Espai La Coma: a place of continuos development, of new opportunities
This year El Espai La Coma has also had a completely free training programme. The team has given a total of 12 training programmes that has assisted 70 people in the neighbourhood. 'Thanks to the training in digital literacy and as part of its working inclusion programme, I can manage the computer and its programmes better', said Patricia Bedoya, one of the participants of the courses.
And as innovation, this year, the team at Espai has started to work on socio-labor insertion itineraries. 28% of participants have found a job.
This was the case for Manuel Rodríguez, who was unemployed from December 2020. In the two years earlier, he had worked as a caretaker in a residential area, but they had to make him redundant and fired him. After his participation in the Espai programme, he has achieved a position as a caretaker in Paterna.
Another one of the participants of the programme, Ana Borgoñón has also secured employment in a cleaning company. The arrival of COVID made their employment situation more precarious. Over a few months, she could only get temporary contracts and day-to-day life was unsustainable. A similar situation happened to Aja Touray, cleaner and housekeeper. The arrival of the pandemic also led her to unemployment. For Aja, looking for a job on the internet, with barely being able to read and write, was very complicated, so she decided to sign-up to a digital literacy course. Later, the team at Espai included her in then job searching programme and today she has a job as another housekeeper in a hotel in Paterna.
The Espai project is possible thanks to the financial support from many institutions. This year, it has been the support from the Council of Paterna and funding from the Consellería de Igualtat i Polítiques Inclusives in the network in the aid framework of general interest to deal with social issues with a designated 0.7% from personal income tax in the Comunitat Valencia.
You can follow all information and updates on the projects with the hashtag #EspaiLaComa on social media.