We provide financial support to help Brits in Spain get back on their feet.
Anne had always thought of a life abroad.
She had worked as a teacher in England which she enjoyed but found something missing.
She was young, healthy, single and with a thirst for adventure.
She decided to use her experience to good use and take a TEFL qualification to teach English as a foreign language abroad.
She chose Spain because it was close enough for her to fly back and see her elderly parents in Liverpool and in September 2018 found herself starting work in a language academy in the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Barcelona.
She loved her work, her students and her new life. She found a small apartment in the Gothic quarter which though slightly more expensive than she should have for her starter salary, she was expectant that as she progressed her salary would rise and she could always supplement her income with private classes – there were plenty of takers.
As the academic year started in the autumn of 2019 she had every reason to feel happy with her life. She had friends, work and lived in one of the great cities of Europe.
At the office Christmas party her boss took her aside and said that they would like her to consider running their summer school – she beamed and said she would think about it. Of course she was delighted.
On the other side of the world the first reports of a deadly flu time virus was beginning to filter through.
The first she heard about it was from her colleague who said that the classes had been cancelled the following day. She phoned the office who confirmed that they were expecting all schools to be forced to shut by the government and it might apply to the academy too.
They waited for the official announcement on the measures to be taken to combat the coronavirus that was sweeping the news headlines across the globe.
As they did other regions in Spain started to close the schools.
Two days later the Spanish Prime Minister broadcast to the nation the stringent measures that would be implemented immediately.
Everyone was to stay in their homes and all but essential businesses shut until further notice.
He also announced a furlough scheme to allow businesses to survive and allow for staff to be paid the majority of their salary.
She and her colleagues assumed that this would see them through and in any event, this was going to last a few weeks… and payday was around the corner.
Like the other teachers, she sent her application in for the furlough money. Unlike the majority, she was not entitled to anything and it transpired hadn’t even been registered.
She called the boss who said that he would look into it but it must be an administrative error.
Then come payday nothing received. She called her boss but no reply.
The company went into liquidation owing staff salaries amongst many other debts.
Anne meanwhile had to get on with her life – she had little money in the account, nothing saved and needed income to keep a roof overhead.
Her parents were able to help initially and she hoped that work would soon start – maybe in the summer it would be back to normal.
But work was very limited and online, her landlord said if she left she would forfeit her deposit of 2 months and she was finding it harder and harder to pay him at the end of the month and pay for utilities and food.
She searched around for solutions – there appeared only one and that was to get home.
But how? flights now were sparse and very very expensive and to her horror, she realised her passport had run out.
She managed to cling on till the autumn and agreed with the landlord to use the deposit in lieu of rent till the contract expired when she would be made homeless.
In desperation, she called the British Consulate in Barcelona and explained her situation. “ I just need to go home”.
The consular officer referred her case to us.
We were able to provide some vital funds for accommodation and upkeep whilst we helped get a flight back to back to London and then onward travel to her parent's home in Liverpool – there her relieved mum and dad gave her a big hug to welcome her home.
She wrote to say thank you to all who helped her in that difficult time – she is now back working again in her home town……
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