Torrevieja Mayor In Spanish Call

British residents in Torrevieja have been told to learn Spanish by the Mayor, Jose Manuel Dolon, in a bid to stop what he calls “problems and misunderstandings within the local health and social service sectors”. Dolon (pictured third from the left) made the call during a meeting with the British Ambassador, Simon Manley on Monday, which was attended by leaders of Alicante Province municipalities that have the largest amount of British people living within them.

The so-called “Top Ten Towns” group meets on a regular basis with British consular officials, and took advantage of Manley’s visit to Alicante City this week where he was launching a new partnership with the Spanish Red Cross that will be piloted on the Costa Blanca before being rolled out across the whole of Spain.

Jose Manuel Dolon said the British Embassy needs to do more to encourage ex-pats to learn Spanish, and he added that with the bulk of the British population being retired, communication problems were a serious issue. The Torrevieja mayor added that many ex-pats are not registered on the padron and that means they don’t get involved in local matters, including voting in local elections. He said this was a hindrance to greater co-operation between the British community and the council.

Other leaders from the region echoed Dolon’s comments about better integration in the meeting with Simon Manley, accompanied by Alicante’s British consul Sarah-Jane Morris, and vice-consul, Lloyd Milen. The ambassador agreed that it was crucial that every British citizen is registered in the locality in where they lived, in order to access all local services, and to be informed about their obligations as a resident in Spain. He added that the British Embassy plans to launch a padron registration campaign in association with local authorities to address their concerns.

After the meeting, the Ambassador launched the new partnership with the Spanish equivalent of the Red Cross, the Cruz Roja, with British residents encouraged to play a greater part in the organisation.  The new initiative will first be tried out within Alicante Province, before being rolled out across the whole of Spain, with Manley, and Cruz Roja national vice-president, Javier Gimeno giving more details.

The new agreement aims to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable expats, and their ability to access Cruz Roja services. It also seeks to encourage people in the British community to volunteer for Cruz Roja activities and promote collaboration with other British community associations, many of whom were at Monday’s signing ceremony. They included  Age Concern Costa Blanca South;  the Royal British Legion; the Samaritans; the Royal Airforce Association; Help at Home; the International Residents group from  Daya Nueva; AFA Torrevieja; MABS Cancer Support; Help at Home Mar Menor, and the HELP groups in the Vega Baja and Mar Menor.

Simon Manley said:  “People in the British communities have a wealth of experience and skills, and I really hope that this new partnership with the Cruz Roja will encourage more people to volunteer their talents and support for the benefit of others. The agreement will also help to ensure that British expats in the Costa Blanca area have easier access to the wide range of Cruz Roja resources, which can improve their quality of life.”

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