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LIFE IN SPAIN

Spain’s €400 culture voucher for young people: What you need to know

Here's what parents and young people in Spain need to know about the Spanish government's €400 youth culture voucher, from who can apply, to what it can be spent on and how to apply for it.

girls at the theatre
Spain's youth culture voucher Amit Kumar / Pixabay

In October of last year, the Spanish government announced that they would launch a Bono Cultural Jóven or a Youth Culture Voucher, giving young people a grant of €400 to spend on culture. However, it wasn’t until March 2022 that it was finally approved.

In total, this aid represents €210 million of Spain’s General State Budget and it’s estimated that almost 500,000 young people throughout Spain may end up benefiting from it.

What is the Youth Culture Voucher?

The voucher is a €400 grant approved by the Spanish government, to be spent on cultural products.

It was conceived as a way to promote and help revitalise the Spanish cultural sector after the difficulties it suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to help young people to benefit from cultural products that they may have missed during this time.

Who can benefit from the culture grant?

Currently, only those who turn 18 years old in 2022 will be able to access the grant. Unfortunately, if you are 18, but you had your birthday in 2021, you will not qualify.

It’s open to those with Spanish nationality, as well as legal residents and refugees. All you will have to do to prove you qualify is to show a document that includes your date of birth and residency status, such as a DNI, TIE or green residency document.

What can I spend it on?

Your grant must be distributed and diversified across three different cultural sectors, meaning that you can’t just blow it all at once on one big purchase. In each of these sectors, a limit will be set. 

  • A limit of €200 can be spent on performing arts, cultural heritage and audiovisual productions. This includes items such as theatre tickets, live music concerts, cinemas, museums, libraries, exhibitions, as well as music and literary festivals.  
  • A maximum of €100 can be spent on physical cultural products. This will include products such as books, magazines and periodicals, as well as video games, vinyl records or any other physical form of music and movies such as CDs and DVDs.
  • A maximum of €100 can be spent on digital or online culture. This includes subscriptions to companies such as Netflix and Spotify, digital music, audio and e-books, as well as podcasts, online video games and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. Keep in mind that any subscriptions will be limited to a maximum of four months.

    Items such as computer hard or software, textbooks, musical instruments, gastronomy, sports equipment or tickets and fashion will not be included.  

Where can I use it? 

The grant can only be used in establishments or institutions which have signed up for the program and which operate within Spain. You will be able to find a full list of places once you have been approved for the voucher.  

How can I apply for it?  

The Spanish government is set to launch a special website for the culture voucher, where you will be able to fill out an online form to request the grant. As soon as this is launched, we will let you know and update this article with a link.   

The website will also be available for companies to sign up and offer their cultural products and services.  

Once approved for the grant, you will receive the money in one lump sum put onto a virtual prepaid card. You may also request a physical card if your phone is not compatible with the virtual one. It will be linked to your name and identity, so you will be the only one able to use it.

Finally, you will have a total of 12 months in which to spend the money from the time you receive it.

The Spanish government hopes to repeat the aid program in 2023, so if you’re not old enough to receive the grant this year, then you may be able to try next year. 

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ENVIRONMENT

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain

If you fancy yourself green-fingered or live in an apartment without access to your own outdoor space, you'll find that Spain has many urban gardens and allotments that you can potentially join.

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain

Urban gardens or huertos urbanos have become very popular in Spain’s big cities, so popular in fact that in some of the bigger cities there are now long waiting lists if you want to be able to have your own little vegetable plot.

According to Focus on Spanish Society, a publication edited by Funcas, almost two-thirds of the total population (65 percent) of those in Spain live in apartments, the second-highest number in the EU, after Latvia.

This means that over half of Spaniards don’t have their own gardens, fuelling the need for green spaces in cities where people can fulfill their green-fingered ambitions or simply learn more about the cultivation of vegetables.

Urban gardens were created to meet this demand and have been around in Spain since just after the Second World War. Today, the report on Urban Agriculture in Spain, says that there are over 20,000 allotments around the country.

All of these work slightly differently – some are owned by the city council, others by cultural or social associations and some are private. There are different ways to get involved, from signing up to waitlists provided by your local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to paying a monthly fee to rent your own plot or joining a communal garden to work with others, instead of having your own individual space.

Here’s how it works in some of Spain’s main cities, what you need to do and how to get involved.

Barcelona

Barcelona has an extensive network of urban gardens in almost all barrios across the city, even in the very central ones such as Ciutat Vella and Raval.

Barcelona’s Urban Gardens Network is aimed at people over 65 in the city. They must be physically capable of agricultural work and at the time of requesting a plot and must not live with anyone else who has been given one. Part of the program is also reserved for people at risk of social exclusion.  

To be able to get your own little garden in Barcelona you must ask at the offices of Atención Ciudadana de los Distritos and bring the original and a copy of your DNI/TIE, as well as a certificate of convivencia, which can also be applied for at the same office.

Neighbourhood gardeners at Madrid’s community garden “Esta es una Plaza” (This one is a Square) Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP

Madrid

There are 74 urban gardens distributed throughout the Spanish capital, which receive training and advice from the City Council. They are also part of the Network of Ecological School Gardens of Madrid so that kids can learn about gardening and planting vegetables too.

The Network of Urban Gardens of Madrid is an initiative promoted by citizens who are dedicated to community agriculture within the city. On their website, you’ll find a list of each urban garden, as well as details on how to contact, join or rent a plot at each one. 

Malaga

There are several urban gardens located both within Malaga city itself and on its outskirts. While there isn’t a central organisation managing all the urban gardens like in Barcelona, if you want to get involved, you’ll have to contact each one individually.  Some of the best located closest to the city centre are La Yuca, El Caminito and Huerta Dignidad.

El Caminito is one of the most well-known and is located next to the old San Miguel cemetery. It’s managed by the El Caminito association and the main purpose of the project is to raise awareness of environmental issues.  On their website, they state that all you need to do to join in is to show up and be willing to participate. You can also e-mail [email protected] to find out more.

gardening

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain. Photo: jf-gabnor / Pixabay

Valencia

There are several urban gardens in Valencia city. The four main ones are Parque de la Torre, Huertos de Benimaclet,  Hort de la Botja and El Espacio Verde Benicalap.  

Parque de la Torre is the largest urban garden in Valencia with a total of 274 plots. There is currently a waitlist to be able to get one, which you can join by contacting them via their website. 

Huertos de Benimaclet is a dedicated space of 60 plots for residents of the neighbourhood to grow fruits and vegetables and learn about cultivation and the environment. The cost to join is €22 per year and currently there is a waitlist. You can contact them via their website to sign up.

Hort de la Botja-Velluters grew out of the need for education and including those who were at risk from social exclusion. They have an active Facebook group, through which you can contact them and ask about getting involved. They also organise lots of activities such as those for local children.

El Espai Verd Benicalap is an urban garden and civic centre which was created between 2020 and 2021. It has just 15 plots, as well as an edible forest. The garden is reserved for those who live in the area of Benicalap and join one of the Benicalap barrio associations.

Seville

Seville currently has 13 urban gardens within its city limits, located in several of the main neighbourhoods. Click here to find out where they are and information about each one.

There’s also a website dedicated to Huertos Urbanos in Sevilla, which lists events, tours and open days when you can go and help out. You can contact them directly about the availability of renting your own patch or how you can get involved on an ongoing basis.

Just last year, the Ayuntamiento of Seville created 33 new vegetable plots in the Parque Guadaíra. Each one has been given to a different association to manage, so you may find that by joining a local association, you’ll have access to an allotment too. 

What if I can’t join an urban garden?

If you’re unable to join an urban garden because the waitlists are too long, you can’t afford to rent a plot yourself or you are in the right age bracket, then remember it’s always possible to create your own mini vegetable patch on your balcony.

No matter how small your balcony is, there’s always room for planters that hang off the edge, where you can grow smaller edible plants such as cherry tomatoes, herbs and small peppers. You can also place pots around the edge to grow various vegetables instead of flowers or traditional house plants. 

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