Age in Spain has now launched in Canaries with former Consular Officer Deepika Harjani as Regional Coordinator

Updated 3 February 2021: I posted late last year about Age in Spain launching in the Canaries, and the organization says that it’s looking forward to the challenges of 2021 and wanted to explain a little about their work. They say:

We started 2020 with a new project in partnership with the UK Government, to help vulnerable UK nationals living in Spain to secure their residency rights under the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement. Our national Residency Helpline and outreach services have already directly helped more than a thousand people with information and one to one support. A small staff team and thirty volunteers provide the service and our caseload of people who face multiple barriers due to issues such as capacity, health, income, language or access to the internet, continues to grow.

For many UK citizens in Spain, the issue of residency still has not gone away. Many people began the process of becoming resident but are still waiting to conclude the process while others, not least because of the covid19-related delays, were unable to get appointments to even begin the process. The clear message from both the Spanish and UK Governments is that those who were legally living in Spain (ie they met the requirements to apply for residency and can demonstrate this with appropriate documentation) by 31 December 2020 can still apply for residency under the protection of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, we know that people’s “on-the-ground” experiences can vary widely and Age in Spain is still here to support people who need extra help with the residency process.

We are funded by the United Kingdom Nationals Support Fund to provide free support in the following regions: Catalonia, the Basque Country, Aragon, Navarra, La Rioja, Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Deepika Harjani Samtani is our Regional Coordinator for the Canaries, whom no doubt you are already in contact with. Where she has already been able to work with you on this project, I would like to thank you for your support.

People can contact the residency helpline on. +34 932 209 741 or email residency@ageinspain.org

Age in Spain’s casework service helps those who face losing independence and they sadly expect to see an increased workload during 2021. Their work includes assessments and care packages coordinated with other welfare organisations to provide the vital support to stop vulnerable people slipping completely through the net.

Finally, apart from helping residents with residency and welfare issues, they serve all older English-speakers in Spain whatever their nationality. They explain that in that context:

we are delighted to tell you about Friendline – our new telephone friendship service that we launched just before Christmas.

Friendship is one of the best ways to help people stay healthy and happy but sadly as we get older we often lose or lose touch with people and making new friends often gets harder. Of course, this is even more true as we live through the Covid19 pandemic.

Friendline connects people who would like a regular weekly call with trained volunteers who have similar interests. There is no threshold of “need” to become a Friendline member. If someone is over 60 and an English speaker then they qualify. One way to think of Friendline is as vaccination against loneliness and isolation – it helps prevent the negative impact.

Find out more about Friendline at www.ageinspain.org /friendline and help us reach more people. Here is a very brief video about Friendline that we have used to promote the service on social media: https://fb.watch/3jE9QJoWQP/

Original post 30 October 2020: Readers will be familiar with Deepika Harjani who was a Brexit Officer with the British Consulate in Tenerife until recently. She is now Regional Coordinator for Age in Spain which has just launched in the Canaries. Age in Spain is one of three organizations in Spain funded by the British Government to provide practical support to UK Nationals to complete residency requirements to secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement but is also obviously a charity that provides support generally to those living in the Canaries.

Anyone struggling with the residency process and in need of additional help can visit gov.uk/livinginspain but even in areas not specifically covered by one of the organizations you can still get assistance by calling Age in Spain or IOM’s helpline, and this is true for those under retirement age as well, at least in terms of residence requirements.

Age in Spain is also looking for volunteers in these islands, and those interested should click these links: