HELP needs Help

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What a lot of nice hardworking expats there are in Spain and researching for Charities’ Corner has given me the opportunity to meet even more of them.

There are so many who devote their life to helping others but it is apparent that, as in most organisations, a hard core of six or eight dedicated Committee members usually provide the power to keep the wheels turning and volunteers are always welcomed.

COSTA BLANCA-WIDE HELP for example was founded as long ago as 1977 and had 49 volunteers by its first formal AGM in 1985, now there are operations in Benidorm (607 386 964), Benissa (688 607 283), Benitachell (664 573 360), Calpe (616 237 135), Campello & San Juan (96 563 8259), Denia (96 642 7044), Jalon (659 624 643), Javea (96 579 5078), Murcia Mar Menor (96 857 0059), San Miguel de Salinas (96 672 3733), Teulada and Moraira  (667 036 188) and Torrevieja (965 704 282).

Some are independent, perhaps too independent, a spoonful of cooperation would surely help – indeed, I received this email: “In order to avoid confusion with other Help organisations we feel it would be better to withdraw any reference to Jalon Valley Help.”

There are also two HELP AT HOME organisations giving similar assistance headed by Lesley in Mar Menor on 96 813 4978 and Sheila in Orihuela Costa on 672 991 824.

The operations differ according to local needs. While Benidorm with its 150 Members helps lots of tourists, Denia deals largely with services associated with their new regional hospital.

Benidorm also organises lots of events for their own members such as the Albir Companionship lunch I attended, trips and local shopping discounts while still helping those in trouble who are frequently introduced to them by Social Services.

Calpe HELP told me they are assisting an elderly German lady who has no relative anywhere and another whose husband is in hospital and cannot even shop for herself. If they can’t help directly, they know where to go but one hopes they don’t have too many questions such as last month’s request for the nearest McDonalds.

Regrettably their President is ill and Calpe is in desperate need of volunteers, perhaps to shop or just sit and have a coffee; these are not difficult functions, there must be hundreds in Calpe who could help.

Carole Saunders the newly elected Calpe Councillor for Associations is tackling the cooperation issue by getting local Charities together to see how they can all help each other – some other Authorities could learn a lesson here.

The social structure of Spain itself is changing too; where families once gathered around in time of need, that is increasingly difficult as people move to find work – how can a family in Madrid provide help in Denia for example? So increasingly assistance is sought by all nationalities regardless of Religion or Nationality.

Fund raising is an essential part of their task for how else can they buy the equipment to loan out and between them they run an amazing variety of events. Not all the money raised stays in-house either, some also donate to other good causes such as Emaus and MABS the cancer Charity.

All the groups keep a stock of medical equipment for loan, where else can you borrow a Zimmer frame, crutches or a wheelchair? Where else can you find a volunteer Interpreter or someone to help with shopping, dog walking or simply share a coffee with the bereaved or housebound?

Cries of help may be beyond the organisation’s own ability to solve but they come into their own by knowing where to go for an answer. Where indeed would you have borrowed the wheelchair my own Granddaughter needed?

She thought it a lark to use one as a precaution for a few weeks, I am just thankful that her problem was not long term.

All the HELP organisations need more help. They need volunteers, prizes, equipment and sponsorship. Ring your nearest location or email [email protected] and I will gladly put you in touch.

Come on, Charities! Tell us about yourselves, your forthcoming events and the help you need. Email Ron Williams at [email protected] – Next month we will be meeting a couple of Costa Blanca Animal Charities.

FUTURE EVENTS:

CALPE beach launch party for Guardian Angels Calpe, phone Lesley on 95 587 4387

Afghan Heroes are holding a Dinner Dance at the Diamante Hotel 19th November at €55

BENIDOLEIG October 1st at El Cid Restaurant, €10 scampi and chips plus live music with Guardian Angels

BENISSA 29th September “The Party’s on the House” at the Casa Cultura for €12, phone 96 558 1483

15th October, Sixties & Seventies Nite at Finca Abril, email [email protected]

26th November, Christmas Party at Finca Abril telephone Carole on 639 637 520

DENIA, Christmas Fayre 4th December at the Marriott Hotel, €1 entrance, phone Carole on 639 637 520. These last 4 events are all in aid of the EMAUS Children’s Homes.

JAVEA 25th September “Race for Life” supporting Cancer Charities. Phone Teresa on 648 100 669

OLIVA Nova Golf Hotel, 28th October Halloween Ball in aid of MABS the cancer charity, €30 phone Fiona on 675 039 952

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