CEOP Press Release: A new international initiative to prevent UK sex offenders travelling to other countries and gaining access to children through teaching or volunteering roles was launched in Spain today Specialist Spanish officers tackling child sexual abuse have shared their expertise and experience of combating this crime with staff from the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre during a two-day law enforcement workshop, which included the launch of theInternational Child Protection Certificate. For more information and photos of the event please click here
British Consulate press release: Key message from social services and charities during ConeXiones event How do social services work in the Valencia region? What help is really out there for British nationals? These are two of the questions that Spanish social workers and English speaking associations tried to answer in the “ConeXiones Social” event that was held last week in Alicante. During the event, the social services teams spoke about the services on offer, including home help, meals on wheels and panic alarms for vulnerable people who live on their own. They stressed how important it is that people keep their documentation up to date - having a padrón, “residencia” passport and proof of income is essential for accessing almost all social services support. They also explained the importance of planning ahead, as there is often a waiting list before people can access social services support. They said that having the funds to be able to cover that gap privately can be essential. The English speaking welfare associations who attended also had the opportunity to find out about these services and how to access them as well as explaining to the social services what they can do. The English speaking associations illustrated how much help they can offer, ranging from hospital visits to equipment loan and nursing care. The British Consul, Paul Rodwell, attended the event and opened by explaining briefly what the Consulate’s role is in supporting British nationals and highlighting the importance of knowing what help is out there from local town halls and charities. After the event he said “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the social services departments and English speaking associations who attended today and took the time to present their services. As always, I was impressed by how much support is available, but realise that this may not always be enough. As such, I urge British nationals to think about any possible care needs they may have in the future and make plans. It’s also really important for people to make sure they are properly registered with the Spanish authorities and are familiar with the services their town hall can offer”. Charities who attended the event were ACASA, RBL, Age Concern, MABS, HELP Marina Alta, HELP Vega Baja, HELP Benidorm, RAFA Costa Blanca, RAFA Costa Blanca North, Help at Home Costa Blanca and Samaritans in Spain.
British Embassy Press Release: Today (Wed 19), newly appointed FCO Minister Mark Simmonds MP visited the province of Alicante to learn more about the issues faced by thousands of British nationals living in and visiting the region. The Minister was accompanied by British Consul Paul Rodwell. The Minister visited Foncalent Prison where he was met by the prison director and a representative of the Samaritans, who carry out regular visits to English speaking inmates. Mr Simmonds then travelled to Torrevieja where he met Age Concern volunteers and visited Villajoyosa Hospital where he spent time with hospital staff and volunteers. In the afternoon, Mr Simmonds met with the Mayor of Benidorm, Agustin Navarro, before visiting some of the town’s most popular areas. Mr Simmonds commented: “Today’s visit to Alicante gave me an fascinating insight into the experiences of British nationals living and visiting Alicante. I met some remarkable people fully committed to their communities who raised with me some of the issues that are a matter of concern to many British residents in Spain. I also saw how the British consulate in Alicante, one of the busiest in the world, works to support British nationals.” The Minister and staff at the British Consulate in Alicante discussed the provision of consular services to the thousands of British nationals living or visiting the areas covered by the Consulate (the regions of Valencia and Murcia, and the province of Albacete).
British Consulate Press release: The British Consul and Benidorm tourist information offices discussed how to work together to assist British nationals in a meeting that was held last week. Benidorm has five tourist information offices that in total deal with 60,000 enquiries from British nationals each year, making them a vital source of help and information. The Consul gave a presentation to the members of staff present and explained what the Consulate can do to help and when to contact them. The tourist information staff were especially interested to hear about what British nationals should do if their passport is lost or stolen whilst on holiday and also how they can contact the Consulate in an emergency. The Consul started his talk by asking the tourist information staff what their top tips would be for Brits coming to Spain. Their feedback was that although it may seem obvious, it’s really important to note down which hotel you’re staying in before you go out as it’s very easy to get lost when you’re in a new place! They also said they wanted to encourage Brits not to be victims of scams and said they should check the exchange rate and commission before changing money and not get involved in illegal betting on the street. Before coming to Benidorm they said that holiday makers should check that their credit cards will work outside the UK and also get travel insurance. President of HELP International Benidom, Jan Elders, was also present and given an opportunity to meet the tourist information team and explain the services that HELP offers such as volunteer translators, loan of mobility equipment and hospital visiting scheme in Villajoyosa hospital. Following the meeting the British Consul said: "I found this new initiative to organise seminars for tourist information staff in Benidorm extremely useful. We were able to discuss a series of issues ranging from what to do in a crisis to explaining what Brits have to do if they lose their passport or have it stolen. It’s clear that the staff are enthusiastic about giving tourists the best information possible. I was also delighted to hear that they are referring cases to the local charity HELP International Benidorm which highlights joint working between Spanish organisations and English speaking charities which results in better support for British nationals abroad.”
Hi I live in Denia, a lovely location in Costa Blanca and am planning to visit London during the Olympic Games with my husband (Dublin, long story) and threes kids.. I am not sure yet if we will finally fly from Valencia or Alicante airport but, given that we travel with children, we would prefer to land in Bristol, Southampton or even East Midlands Airport just to avoid the hassle in Heathrow or any other airport close to London. To cover this way across England we will need to hire a car so I have been researching for one way rentals from the places above and also Bath and Bournemouth (just in case the rates were cheaper) and I found britishcarhire.com that it seems a reliable broker. Have any of you hired with them a 7 seater before and would like to give me some advice? Thank you for your help.
Check out our fantastic new website at www.acespaña.org . All you ever needed to know about Age Concern España including how to access its services, how to volunteer and how to make a donation. Information on all the local Age Concern Organisations in Spain is included as well as information on ACASA, the National Casework Service. ACASA is updating its range of INFOSHEETS which give advice on the various issues faced by the over 50s in Spain and they will be on the website soon so watch this space. If you are a company interested in sponsoring one of the INFOSHEETS please contact the Country Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information please call INFOLINE on 902 00 38 38, or email email@example.com ACASA - official Partner of The British Embassy in Spain, AGE UK, and SSAFA Forces Help
British Embassy Press Release: Hospitalised, robbed, arrested – new TV series follows consular staff as they help Brits in distress How the staff of British Consulates in Spain help citizens in distress is to be highlighted in a new TV documentary series to be broadcast next month on the UK’s Channel 4. The new TV series, filmed last summer, reveals how consular staff come to the rescue of Britons who find themselves in trouble. From helping victims of crime to advising Brits arrested by the police, the series also follows consular staff as they visit holidaymakers who end up in hospital and meet expat residents to hear their property concerns. In a three part series, ‘Our Man In…’, provides unprecedented access to the work of British consular staff. It will be shown on the UK’s Channel 4 on Thursdays 1st, 8th and 15th March at 22.00 GMT (23.00 CET). The first programme features Mallorca and Ibiza, the second follows the team in Alicante and the third covers Tenerife and Barcelona. “The series shows the hard work and professionalism of our staff in helping British expats and holidaymakers as well as highlighting the serious issues that Brits can face abroad”, says Paul Rodwell, British Consul in Alicante. “Some of the less serious cases can be avoided and I would encourage people to read our travel advice and have a look at the information we have on our ukinspain website.” The series reveals the consequences of failing to prepare properly for a holiday. Even if you’re staying with friends and family, travelling without insurance could cost you many thousands of pounds if you’re injured abroad. “Losing your passport will cost you time and money”, says Paul Rodwell. “And without an EHIC health card, you’ll find it harder to get medical care. By taking a few simple precautions, you can avoid a dream holiday turning into a nightmare.” The programme in Alicante, about life on the costas, shows the pro-active face of the consulate, with staff seeking out Brits caught up in a forest fire, organising outreach events to hear residents’ property concerns, and working with local police to manage an invasion of Scottish football fans for a big game against Spain. On the party island of Ibiza, consular staff tackle the fall-out from a new drug on club scene - the so-called 'pink pill'. A young tourist is found lost, nearly naked, and unable to recall anything but his name. Then the Brit dealers who supply the pills also need help after they're arrested. In Mallorca, staff deal with a young Brit who's been tasered by overzealous police. A holidaymaker from Essex has been run over by a drunk driver, and lies seriously injured in hospital. And a Lancashire couple's holiday is transformed by the arrival, nine weeks early, of their tiny baby son. In Barcelona and Tenerife, crime has its effects on visitors and on the workload of the Consulates. Street robberies and stolen passports lead to inconvenience, distress and unexpected costs for holidaymakers. Meanwhile consular staff are also busy helping some of the people who need it most – expat prisoners & homeless Brits who simply want to go home. ‘Our Man In…’ was filmed mainly in August and September last year and is produced by Screenchannel Television, a London-based independent production company. The executive producers are Emma Barker, a former commissioning editor and controller at ITV, and Peter Lowe, a former executive producer and programme editor at BBC Television and controller at Carlton Television.
British Consul attends opening of new community centre in La Romana This Friday saw the official opening of the community centre in La Romana, which will be run by the charity Amigos de La Romana. This charity, founded by British resident Alan Cook, stems from a need Mr Cook saw for the British community to have somewhere to go for up to date information, as well as a means of raising funds to help the most vulnerable members of the community. Mr Cook has worked closely with the town hall to set this project up, at all times seeing the charity as a way to encourage integration between the 17% of the population which is British, and the rest of the town, which is mainly Spanish. The town hall has provided the building for the community centre and the Mayor, Manuel Hernández Riquelme, also attended the opening. Amigos de La Romana is also working actively with other charities such as MABS, RBL and ACASA to offer even greater level of support to those in need or distress. Most of the fundraising will be done through a charity shop, which is within the community centre. After attending the event, the Consul said “I was very impressed by the way Amigos de la Romana has set up a central hub in the village where residents of all nationalities can get information and welfare support. The fact that it is run by both Spanish and British volunteers is a superb sign of integration and I welcome initiatives from both Amigos de la Romana and the Town Hall to set up language interchange sessions in the near future. The fact that Amigos de la Romana have asked for help from other charities in the area such as MABS, RBL and ACASA is a very sensible move to offer the very best support to those in need.” Alan Cook, the president of Amigos de LA Romana thanked everyone who attended the official opening of the new centre. He said ‘We feel privileged that Paul Rodwell found the time in his busy schedule to officially open our centre together with the Mayor. The support from major charities who attended was overwhelming which tells us that this type of charity in Spain is desperately needed. From now on we will grow from strength to strength helping and integrating with the Spanish community.” Residents of La Romana can visit the new community centre at Calle Mayor 47, 03669, La Romana, Alicante. Anyone wishing to find more information on living in Spain, and what support organisations exist for British nationals, can visit www.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk .
The British Consulate in Alicante will be holding an Open day on 22nd February in Algorfa, the town with the highest percentage of British residents in the Alicante province. The event is being jointly organised by the town hall, who have kindly organised the venue, and the Consulate and is open to any British resident or visitors in the area. The Mayor, Antonio Lorenzo Paredes will open the event and it will also be attended by the local councillor for European residents, Samantha Biddles. The British Consul, Paul Rodwell, will start the consular presentation talking about what the Consulate can and cannot do as well as giving some tips and information on living in Spain. This will be followed by a presentation from the Pension, Benefit and Healthcare team aiming to dispel any myths that people might have heard about how to access healthcare in Spain, or who can claim which benefits whilst living in Spain. Those attending will also have the opportunity to ask the team questions after the presentation if they have any issues that have not been covered in the main talk. Samantha Biddles will be there also to answer any questions that relate to the town hall. The Consul said ‘I’m looking forward to finally going to Algorfa and seeing this town where so many British citizens have chosen to live. I am sure that people who live in Algorfa already know that they can turn to their town hall if they have any questions about living in Spain, but I hope this meeting will help to make that happen even more and also understand how the Consulate can help.’ The open day is being held at: La Finca Golf and Spa Resort Ctra. Algorfa Los Montesinos Km 3 03169 Algorfa Event starts 11:00am (doors open from 10:30) Those who wish to attend should register for a place as space is limited. Registration is done through the British Embassy websitewww.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk. Those who do not have access to the internet can also book by calling 902 109 356.
British Vice Consul to visit Benidorm for Evening Road Show The British Consulate is coming to Benidorm on 7th March to hold a special evening road show for British nationals who want to find out about consular services as well as information about pensions, benefits and healthcare. The event is aimed at those who live and work in Benidorm, as well as those who go there regularly on holiday, or have come to retire there or in the surrounding towns. The British Vice Consul, Lloyd Milen, will attend from the Consulate to explain how to the Consulate can help if anything goes wrong whilst living in Spain or on holiday here. The pension, benefit and healthcare team will then give a presentation on how to access healthcare in Spain, when you can use your EHIC card, and also some general information on benefits and pensions entitlements in Spain. The event is jointly organised by the Town Hall in Benidorm who have provided the venue for road show. British Vice Consul Lloyd Milen said, “Benidorm is one of the most important tourist destinations for Brits in Spain, with approximately 1 million choosing to come here each year to spend their holidays. In addition, there are over 5,500 Brits on the padron who live or work here so I think it’s really important that they all have the chance to find out how we can help and what their entitlements are here in Spain. We’re specifically holding this event in the evening so that as many people as possible can attend”. The event details are as follows: Salón de Actos Benidorm Town Hall Plaza SS. MM. Los Reyes de España, Benidorm Date: Wednesday 7th March Start time: 6:00pm (Doors open 5.30pm) Anyone wishing to attend should pre book a place, which can be done online on www.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk by clicking on “Open Days” in the ‘Help for British Nationals’ section. If you experience any problems booking or do not have Internet access, call 902 109 356.
Consul and Mayor to attend opening of Amigos de La Romana 20th February 2012 Local resident of La Romana, Alan Cook, will be holding the official launch of the charity he has founded, Amigos de La Romana, on 24thFebruary 2012 at 10:30 hours at the Community Centre in Calle Mayor 47, 03669, La Romana, Alicante. The event will be also be attended by the British Consul Paul Rodwell and the Mayor of La Romana, Manuel Hernández Riquelme. Amigos de La Romana is a locally run association which will be based in a community centre supplied by the Town Hall. This community centre aims to raise funds through its charity shop which will be used to help vulnerable members of the community who need additional support. Mr Cook also wants the community centre to encourage integration and to be somewhere people can go to get up to date information about living in Spain and services available in the local community. The launch will be a chance for local residents to find out more about the association and how to get involved.
ACASA – The National Casework Service of Age Concern España - would like to say a big thank you to all those individuals who responded to our Christmas Appeal. If you missed the Christmas Appeal don’t worry, donations can still be made via our website www.acespana.org, just press the donate button, or by contacting Kim Stollard on CCM@ageconcern-espana.org or 917 146 439. ACASA has seen an increase in demand over the last month as those already struggling with illness, isolation and poverty struggle to cope with the excess demands brought on by winter and the holiday period. It is only with your help that we are able to respond to those in need. No amount is too small. ACASA has two client bases – people over the age of 50, and those of any age who serve or used to serve in the British Armed Forces, and their families, as ACASA does the work of SSAFA Forces Help in Spain. Contact 902 00 38 38 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. ACASA - Official Partner of The British Embassy in Spain, AGE UK, and SSAFA Forces Help
Translation of letter from the San Miguel de Salinas Mayor: Original letter is here NOTICE D. Ángel Sáez Huertas, San Miguel de Salinas Mayor do knowthat from the 15th of December to December 21, both inclusive, the term open to collect the Christmas Hamper at City Hall, between 11:30 h and 14:00 h, as in previous years is handed to those over 65 years registered in our town two years or more.What becomes general public knowledge and effects.San Miguel de Salinas on December 13, 2011.
Received from San Miguel de Salinas Tourist Information Office: By Louise Clarke THE GUARDIA Civil is to hold an advisory session for citizens to help protect them and their property against robberies, burglaries and other crimes. The Guardia Civil's Security Master Plan includes a series of lectures at various venues in the largest of the municipalities of the Mancomunidad Vega Baja that are designed to instruct residents on how to prevent the most common crimes. The talk in San Miguel de Salinas takes place at the Social Centre next Tuesday, 13th December at 5pm. The talk will be given by San Miguel's Guardia Civil Lieutenant, José Antonio Gómez Alonso, and he will be discussing security at home and outside, at the bank and on the internet as well as explaining how criminals commonly act and offering security advice and measures to be taken to prevent you from being a victim of crime. Jeanette Lopez will be on hand to translate for English speaking residents.
Father Christmas will be opening the Bazaar at 10am and staying until 11.30am so bring your camera and take pictures of your little ones with him. The Bazaar will be held on Saturday 3rd December in Jalon at the Library/Pensionistas building, next to the Sports Hall near the roundabout leading to Lliber. There will be a great selection of stalls and sideshows, entertainment and refreshments including mulled wine, mince pies and cava.The first prize in the Grand Raffle to be held at the Bazaar is a self catering 2 bed 2 bath holiday accomodation on the Costa del Sol! Sleeping 4 people it is a wonderful prize, the there are lots of other prizes too. Come along and have a great time and start the festive season with Jalon Valley Help. Visit our website at www.jalonvalleyhelp.com
Press Release: A team from the British Consulate visited Iceland Supermarket in Torrevieja last Thursday to give information to shoppers about their services as well as advice on living in Spain. Thanks to the cooperation from the supermarket, the Consulate in Alicante was able to meet its customers in this way for the first time as part of a pilot scheme which is aimed at engaging with Brits who have little or no contact with the Consulate and are possibly not plugged into the Spanish system. As part of the team, Laura Leeman from the Pension, Benefit and Healthcare team attended to give information about benefits in Spain and the UK and to answer shoppers’ questions on access to healthcare. As there were a number of people who were not properly registered, she was able to explain to them exactly what to do to get registered for cover. During the few hours that the team were at the supermarket, they spoke to over 90 Brits and heard their concerns. Questions ranged from issues around driving licences to how to register on the padron as well as lots of questions on how to access healthcare as an early retiree. British Vice Consul, Lloyd Milen, said “This is the first time we’ve had an information stand at a local supermarket, and it’s definitely something we will want to repeat if possible. Many people we met were still not aware what the Consulate can do for them. A lot of the customers we spoke to were also frustrated about trying to find their way through all the rumours and misinformation that circulate in the British Community and I think they appreciated us being there to give them some clear guidance and information.” The British Consulate plans to continue to look at further ways to ensure that customers can get easy access to our information and advice to try to make sure that the Consulate is as accessible as possible to the whole of the British community. Any customer with questions about living in Spain should consult the ukinspain.fco.gov.uk website and go to the ‘Help for British Nationals’ section. Detailed information about pensions, benefits and access to healthcare can also be found in this section.