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Orihuela Focus Group - 28 July 2015

Welcome to the Orihuela Costa and District Branch of The Royal British Legion

VICE CONSUL CHAIRS COSTA FOCUS GROUP

(Courtesy of The Leader Newspaper)

The Orihuela Costa Town Hall was the venue for last week’s ‘Focus Meeting’ with local representatives and community groups. It was chaired by British Vice Consul Lloyd Milen who, along with staff from both the Alicante Consulate and the Madrid Embassy, opened the meeting by giving a brief overview of the functions of his office.

After introducing the new Councillor for the Coast and Foreign residents, Sophia Alvarez, Mr Milen went on to explain that he was on the Orihuela Costa at the invitation of the local government to deal with issues that residents have with the consulate and to listen to the worries and concerns of those people who live in the Area permanently.

Groups represented at the meeting included The Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion, The Samaritans, RAFFA, SAT, Help at Home Costa Blanca, AECC, La Siesta Church, the U3A as well as a number of interested residents.

The Vice Consul said that he was keen to disseminate all relevant information to as many people as was possible. He said that the Consulate already had a number of sources that helped to do just that but he was mindful of the many questions that people still needed to ask. He also said that he felt the current methods of delivery weren’t getting to as many people as they should.

He explained that a great deal of information is currently available at the following sites, all of which offer a multitude of useful links:

www.gov.uk/living-in-spain

www.facebook.com/BritsLivingInSpain

http://www.diputacionalicante.es/en

Points raised by members included the Spanish Legal System with particular relevance to wills and changing legislation, welfare on the Orihuela Costa, repatriation to the UK, the local ambulance service, health services, palliative care, double taxation, integration within the Spanish Community, voting, the attitudes of both expats and British holidaymakers, cultural differences and many more, and whilst the Vice Consul was unable to give definitive answers to a number of the questions put to him he did say that he would try to respond as he gathers the answers together.

He also mentioned the Sindic de Greuges, the Valencian Region’s Ombudsman, which he felt was of particular importance, to whom residents should complain if they feel there has been a violation of their fundamental rights. Everything can be dealt with in English and complaints can be made against any organization, company or body that you feel you have a grievance with. Correspondence has to be acknowledged within 14 days, by law, and Mr Milen suggested their English language website www.elsindic.com/en as a good starting point.

In closing the meeting Mr Milen said he would also seriously consider a regular newsletter, to be distributed through the English Language media, as an additional method of communication, something that he would certainly try to organize in the coming weeks.

He said that he had upcoming meetings with local mayors in September and then in November he would be in the area once again when he would be addressing even more local organizations and community groups.

If anyone wishes to contact the Vice Consul or his staff in Alicante they can do so by email at: alicante.consulate@fco.gov.uk

Focus Group  Focus Group Web (1)

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