The British Consulate in Tenerife recently held a workshop in the Escuela de Seguridad y Convivencia in the Las Torres area of Adeje. The idea was to help inform and coordinate the various agencies involved in helping British nationals when they run into problems in Tenerife.
These problems can be varied: some will be in hospital, others in prison; some will develop dementia, others will be physically injured; some need help to “get home”, others need help immediately after arrival if they’ve been involved in a crime or accident; some will need home assistance as they recover from illness, others need temporary financial help to get them on their feet.
In all these situations, and many more, a whole range of resources comes into play, from the Foreign Office’s Consular network to local Ayuntamientos to registered asociaciones – what we would know as “charities” (have a look HERE). The workshop allowed each in turn to describe and explain their roles and functions, whether it is getting people on the padrón (the councils) or organizing help or support (the asociations) or the Consulate itself when official and formal international accords are in play.
The day was organized by Consular Officer Mary Suarez and it was an event of which she can be enormously proud because everyone present seemed to have not only enjoyed it greatly, but benefited from it immensely. It is one thing knowing intellectually that there are systems and resources, and having an understanding of what they are, what they do, and how they work together, but it is another thing entirely to have one’s wider senses involved and hear people’s passion and experience shine through their accounts in a way that is simply not achievable when reading the written word.
Another thing impossible with the written word is group work, and apart from the individual presentations, there were case study sessions to examine how the different areas functioned together, and how each offered something individual and significant, and that no one duplicated another’s provision. It is hugely reassuring to know not just that these resources exist, but how they fit together and perform well. As Mary said, the key is that everyone has a function and operates as a TEAM because Together Everyone Achieves More. I have added the details of the associations to the Charities section of the Resources page HERE, and detail them also below.
At the bottom and above are a few photos from Mary of the day as well. All those who attended are responsible for having our backs, as the saying goes. We all might need them just as surely as we all hope we never will – but we can be very glad they are there for us if we do.
Acufade – Association for improving quality of life for the elderly, vulnerable, and their carers and families.
British Benevolent Fund (BBF) – one of the oldest English speaking charities in Spain which provides financial support and other assistance to British nationals who find themselves in Spain and in severe distress.
El Arca de Noé – association for those who have been “left behind” because of homelesses or other situations which have left them in despair.
Afate – Association for families and carers of Alzheimer’s and other dementia sufferers.
Asociación Comedor Social La Buena Estrella – social dining room in El Fraile to feed people daily who are in extreme social/financial distress
Royal British Legion Tenerife – help for British servicemen in distress in Tenerife
Age Concern España – information, advice and support for common issues that affect the over 50s in Spain.
Prisoners Abroad – assisting British prisoners and their families and friends.