The richness and variety of Catalonia's society are reflected by the great diversity of its associations (associacions). Among others, there are associations of local residents, of young people, of women, of senior citizens, of immigrants, of traders and of consumers; sports and cultural associations; charitable associations; and professional associations and unions.

In this section, we will be focusing on non-profit associations (associacions sense ànim de lucre), also known as non-governmental organisations or NGOs (organitzacions no governamentals or ONG). Such associations are set up to serve society, rather than to make money for their members, and their activities are based on the values of solidarity and altruistic cooperation.

To find out about Catalonia's laws on associations, see

Participating in associations is a way of expressing your concerns, promoting co-existence and contributing to Catalan society as a whole.

Associations not only allow a group of people to share a common interest, but also provide information, encourage activity and protect the rights of their members before the relevant public or private bodies.

Citizen participation in different organisations has traditionally been one of Catalonia's distinctive traits. For example, you could be a member of the association of parents of pupils (associació de pares i mares d'alumnes or AMPA) of the school that your child attends, of your local neighbourhood association (associació de veïns) and of a professional or social association, all at the same time.

As a newcomer to Catalonia, you are entitled to form organisations to raise awareness of the culture of your place of origin, to protect your rights and to make proposals for improving immigrants' quality of life. It is a good idea for you to participate throughout the network of associations (teixit associatiu), in order for it to reflect the current composition of Catalonia's population and to encourage other bodies to embrace the wide variety of origins characteristic of Catalonia at present. 
There are different ways of actively participating in associations. You can do so as a member, as a professional or as a volunteer (voluntari).

To find out more about voluntary work with and ways of participating in associations or services for citizens, see the website of the Catalan Association and Volunteer Network (Xarxa Associativa i de Voluntariat de Catalunya) at

To find out about the variety within Catalonia's association movement, see the Catalan government's website on associations at

Organisations from the same area or field of activity can join together and coordinate their efforts within a federation (federació). Doing so increases their capacity for action and their level of representation before the authorities and in the eyes of society in general. Any relevant federations will be indicated in each of the coming sections.

One of the ways to find out about the many associations in your local area is to go to your town or city hall, where you can also obtain information and advice on setting up an association.