The British Benevolent Fund was represented by Charlie Wilson (treasurer) and Chris Neill (case support officer) at the annual meeting organised by the British Consulate and the Alicante local government at Alicante on Thursday 7th March, 2019.
This yearly event brings together the Alicante Consulate, which represents over 15, 000 registered British Citizens in the Alicante region, the local Spanish government and local Charity organisations that work in the Alicante area.
British Consul Sarah Jane Morris and Mercedes Alonso, the provincial councillor for International Residents in Alicante, welcomed everyone and presented the introduction to what turned out to be a fascinating day.
Esther Ponzoda presented the official website of the International residents department. She explained how local organisations can use it to apply for public funding online.
Melisha Strachan, who is a specialist advisor and social worker to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, outlined the resources in the UK that are available to returning British Citizens upon repatriation to the UK.
Consular Officer Laura de la Fuente gave a brief talk on the mechanisms in place to deal with cases of domestic violence and the role of the consulate in such cases.
Of course Brexit was never far from the agenda and we were introduced to Elena Jurado who has just taken on a new post in the British Consulate as the Brexit Social Worker Advisor.
Later Sarah Munsterhjelm, the Alicante Vice Consul, outlined measures that the measures that the Spanish and UK Governments are taking in the case of either a deal or a no deal Brexit and reassured British Citizens that at present, all existing rights to residency and healthcare access will be maintained.
This was an excellent opportunity to increase BBF visibility in the Alicante region.