British Benevolent Fund extends help to expats on Costa del Sol amid twin challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit

A MADRID charity set up to help Brits in Spain who find themselves beset by financial difficulties has expanded to the Costa del Sol as “the twin challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit” take a toll.

The BBF held its first event on the Costa del Sol last week to raise awareness about its expansion.

“We’ve had hundreds of cases on the coast and the islands with the impact of Brexit and Covid and that is where we need to be right now,” Olaf Clayton, the chair of the fund, told the Olive Press.

“There’s a lot of destitution along this stretch of coast,” admitted Clayton.  “People struggling to keep up appearances or those living under the radar and when the money runs out and they discovered they don’t have health care, that they can’t access state aid here in Spain, where can they turn?

He reveals that recent cases included repatriating a Brit whose residency was refused. “Just like that they were told to leave, in fact they were half way through medical treatment but it suddenly stopped. The BFF can provide the funds to get people home.”

The BFF can support other charitable organisations who already have a big reach within the expat community and provide one off financial aid when it can make a difference.

More than 30 representatives from the British community in the region, including the Malaga Consulate, Age Concern, Cudeca, Lions Club, Age In Spain, Support in Spain and others joined the new Costa del Sol team, for a coffee morning awareness event at the Cerrado del Águila Golf Club on Friday September 30.

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“Our plan is to raise awareness of the plight facing Brits and to offer funds in those serious cases where that can make a difference. For example if someone needs help to be repatriated,” said Clayton.

The BFF is an independent association run entirely by volunteers that has as its patron, the British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott.

British Consul for Andalucia, the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, Charmaine Arbouin said: “I am delighted to welcome the BBF to the Costa del Sol. COVID has made things more difficult for those for whom times were already tough and the support of organisations like the BBF has been invaluable. That’s why I am so glad that you are extending your reach to the south of Spain. I know that you will receive a warm welcome from people right along the coast, and I and colleagues in the Malaga consulate look forward to working closely with you in the years to come.”

The BBF hopes to build further new networks and branches in those areas where there are large British communities over the coming year.

The pandemic has caused a significant increase in the number of cases dealt with by the fund, with a rise from 44 cases in 2019 to 130 in 2020, and over 200 cases so far this year.

The financial grants covered a wide range of items including medical expenses, help with utility bills, residency applications, repatriation costs  among many others. 

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The BBF’s next Costa Del Sol event will be a Halloween fish and chips fundraiser. DETAILS HERE


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