COLUMN: Sometimes There is No Alternative
Updated: May 8
This column first appeared at euroweeklynews.com on 2 February 2023.
The British Benevolent Fund is one of the oldest charities in Spain for the British community.
It was set up under the auspices of the embassy and with whom it still maintains a close relationship through the consular network.
Many people assume that the consulate have the financial resources to fund Britons in need and distress, which they do not.
Instead the consulates look to partners, including the British Benevolent Fund across the country to step in when there are no other alternatives.
After Brexit there are many Britons who had been living in Spain who found themselves as not officially resident and therefore have no right to Spanish state support or healthcare.
For those who have health issues and no resources for private health care this increasingly means a return to the UK.
Many times, those returnees are alone with no family, elderly and with health issues and no or limited resources.
Imagine the feeling.
It's not a happy ending to a life lived in Spain.
The consulates do the heavy lifting of finding accommodation and ensuring that the person has access to NHS care, which many times is neither easy or quick.
One such case was an 80 year old man, who had lived off grid for decades in Spain. He had no residence or any paperwork and was no longer able to support himself nor pay for medication and was increasingly found in emergency waiting rooms for pain that he could not bear.
The consulate was able to help place him in the UK for healthcare provision and he was fortunate that he was found a nursing home to go to.
The BBF was able to pay for his flight return from him as well as help with the costs for his passport from him.
It was a modest sum which although not the happiest circumstances allowed him to receive the care he needed.
There are many more like him.
We can only help them with your generosity, any donation goes a long way for people like him.
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