As I’ve said in previous small society posts, e.g. HERE, we live in municipalities first and foremost, and to the largest possible extent this is the level at which “the authorities” matter to us in our lives as foreigners abroad. It makes sense therefore to look from a personal perspective at how an ayuntamiento functions, and what effects it can have on our lives – for good and ill. So, as promised, here is the first of two pieces – the “good” ayuntamiento: Adeje. Below is a piece written from within the borough, as posted in the Simply Adeje Facebook group HERE:
Why Adeje works…
When you attempt to analyse why a place ‘works’ for you, there are at least two levels to look at – emotional and practical.
For many of us ex-pats who now live in Adeje we possibly came here almost by accident – we were sent by a tour operator on a holiday and decided to return; we knew someone who had an apartment to rent here and took a quick break which turned into a lifestyle choice; we came with a friend/partner, or with the newer generation of ex-pats our parents moved here when we were kids and the family stayed – all ‘for instances’. On the more practical side others decided to open a business and looked around and saw opportunities in Adeje, or liked the location. Some opted for the borough given its relative distance from the airport while still giving a wealth of location options that include rural, coastal and urban destinations.
And we stayed. We stayed for the weather, for the people, for the charm and the friendliness, for the easier way of living and the growing quality of life here in this borough. And the longer we live here, for many of us, the more we feel we made the right choice. Adeje is, without doubt, one of the better places to live in the Canary Islands, and a lot of that is also down to the practical pluses of living here.
From an administrative point of view there are some things that have to be done, no matter what part of Spain you decide to live in, for ease of day to day stuff, and making sure you have a residency certificate is one of them – but signing on the ‘padrón’ is a borough matter, and we are lucky in Adeje to have one of the better foreigner-friendly citizens advice centre, just in the front of the town hall. It’s the little things that make a difference – there is generally someone on hand who speaks English and you don’t have to bring photocopies of your documents as they will scan things at their desks as they are processing your request. There are almost 120 different nationalities living in Adeje, and they want them all to be registered, so they work to be more inclusive. And all of the staff are friendly and very helpful. This is also the office where you would go for travel certificates etc.
Added to that, the Hacienda office, near the main post office, where you might need to go with local tax queries, or to register your dog, also fall into the ‘friendly and helpful’ category. And if you are in need of social assistance – seeking help from the food bank, legal aid for a separation/domestic situation, the department of social welfare, located in the lane between the Calle Grande and the Calle Universidad de La Laguna, are also very much there to listen and help in any way they can.
Education for all
Education needs are also well met in Adeje – like any other borough there is a selection of local public infants, primary and secondary schools, but there is also an excellent council run crèche, a day centre for those with special needs, and a great range of grants available for school materials, transport to schools, etc. The council regards education as a vital service and are frequently stating that it’s one of the pillars of a society that offers equality of opportunity to all – couldn’t agree more. And furthermore it is home to the University Campus Sur where, in conjunction with the University of La Laguna, students can study third level courses.
Outside the school hours there is also almost too much to do in Adeje with a huge range of municipal activities, from football to theatre, the quite excellent Adeje school of music and dance, which takes kids from a very young age and really does nurture their talents. There are also schools of, judo, basketball, rhythmic gymnastics, traditional Canarian sports, cheerleading, and with the sea on our doorstep it’s no surprise that Adeje can boast national and world champs in bodyboarding, underwater photography and is the favourite training ground for the world’s best free divers.
On a more practical level Adeje is also a good place to look for work or open a business. A recent national survey body listed Adeje as one of the top three boroughs that has best survived the crisis in the Canary Islands (unfortunately Arona was on the other end of that list), and given the excellent work of the local job creation and economic development service, the borough also boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in Spain. The CDTCA offices and the FIT (Factory for Innovation in Tourism) are creating jobs and job opportunities for everyone and with big developments in the offing, like the huge development in El Puertito and the Tropicana shopping centre, there will be thousands of jobs in the future as well.
So all in all, not a bad place to live.