AS part of his visit to Murcia, the British Ambassador to Spain, Giles Paxman, attended a workshop with local English speaking charities and social services to help improve the support offered to vulnerable British nationals living in the area.
As the British population in Murcia has increased tenfold since 2002, all parties were keen to get together and discuss how working together could help them to better support vulnerable and elderly British nationals.
The workshop, part of the Alicante Consulate’s ConeXiones programme, was the first of its kind in Murcia, and was organised with the help of YoVoluntario, the Murcia regional government volunteer support organisation.
The Ambassador was able to see the local English speaking charities find out from social services exactly what was help was available and also discuss how they could work together in the future.
They all agreed that it is vital for British nationals to be registered on the padrón (municipal register) in their local towns as without this, they cannot access social services assistance.
Leopoldo Navarro Quilez, the head of Yo Voluntario, started the event by explaining to the local associations what support Yo Voluntario can offer and also how to ensure that they are legally registered in Spain. He encouraged people to use the resources that are available in Spain.
During his talk at the event, the Ambassador said: “I am delighted to launch ConeXiones in Murcia. The rapid increase in British population in the last decade has meant that it is essential that there is an adequate support network. It is impressive to see representatives from social services from all the main town halls where there is a significant population working hand in hand with British and Spanish charities to support those who are in need.”
As this is the first time that the Ambassador has visited the Region of Murcia, he also took the opportunity to meet with the President of the Region to discuss issues around property and the new airport that is being built. Additionally, he met with the Honorary Consul in Murcia, Antonio Berdonces, and the Delegado del Gobierno for Murcia where they discussed the location of the Honorary Consulate and contingency planning.
Charities that attended the ConeXiones event included Age Concern Costa Cálida, MABS Murcia, Royal British Legion, Help at Home and Help Mar Menor. From the Spanish side, Caritas and Cruz Roja attended as well as social workers from the key town halls where British nationals live, such Mazarrón , Los Alcazares and San Javier.