Monthly Archives: July 2015

Update From The Chairman – July 2015

StewartAs the application to register as a legal entity in Spain approaches its conclusion, it provides the opportunity to develop the British Benevolent Fund (BBF) as an independent charity and to increase its base of donors, clients and volunteers.

The BBF has relied heavily on generous independent donors but once registered, attractive corporate donors will be able to contribute financially and in kind to obtain certain tax breaks that make giving in the corporate world an incentive to give generously.

Once the registration process is complete, the correct steps will be taken to comply with the law in Spain. The British Ambassador to Spain will continue to be our Honorary President and extra time and training  is being given to all the British Consulates around Spain to improve communication with the BBF and to ensure worthy cases are brought to our attention and managed promptly. We are also developing further our partnership with Age Concern España. As we know there are many British people living in Spain and a number have suffered through the crisis and as their old age approaches many are faced with very difficult decisions. It is hoped that through our partnerships with The British Consulates and Age Concern more British people in need will become aware of the relief available from the BBF and that we are able to help more people in the future.

 It is also hoped that with the continual development within the BBF we will be able to reach out more effectively into the community to attract new volunteers as well as donors. Giving something back to the British community in Spain can be extremely rewarding and you may see from the website that there is a leaflet describing what you could do to help suitable entitled “Volunteer Leaflet”.

The development effort this year will include the SUMMER FETE on September 24th, 2015 where the BBF and St.George´s Church have combined to show what is available to the English speaking community in Madrid. This will be the second year of the fete, although this year it brings together non-profit making organisations and for the first time commercial stalls will also be present.

The fourth year of the FUNDRAISING CONCERT will take place at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando on October 22nd, 2015. Tickets are now available on the BBF website and this year the theme will be scenes from well-known operas performed by musicians trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London. With generous sponsorship from Bodegas Martúe, Mahou and Tanqueray Gin, the concert will be followed by a reception where the audience gets to meet the performers. This is always a popular event so reserve your tickets early!

As the summer break takes place please enjoy your time whether in Madrid or elsewhere.

Stewart Cusden
The British Benevolent Fund

Annual General Meeting 2015

SIMON MANLEYThe Annual General Meeting was chaired by H.M. Ambassador Simon Manley CMG at the British Embassy on 21st May, 2015. His opening comments praised the work of the BBF and how it was a great example of how people can work together to help other people.

The event was well supported by regular donors to the Fund and the Minutes of the AGM in 2014 were soon approved before moving on to the Annual Report for 2014. The Chairman, Stewart Cusden thanked the Ambassador for his continued support of the BBF and went on to elaborate on his Annual Report.

The Treasurer, Charlie Wilson reported an increase of €30,000 in cash reserves for the previous year pointing out that the number of regular donors had increased which it is hoped will be a continuing trend. The number of cases that the BBF had dealt with in 2014 had also declined mainly due to an arrangement that H.M. Government had introduced to lend money to individuals in need wishing to return to the UK and that this had relieved the BBF of some repatriation costs during the year.

The BBF continues to work with the Consulates around Spain to ensure they are aware of the resources at their disposal through the BBF and continuing efforts are being made to improve communication and training so that cases of extreme distress are dealt with professionally and promptly.

The Legal Adviser to the BBF commented on the status of the application by the BBF to be registered in Spain as a legal entity with a national scope and that a response would shortly be forthcoming.

A reception was held after the formal meeting had closed where donors and Committee members were able to speak to each other informally.