Age Concern, Costa de la Luz Sur
It appears that we at Age Concern (AC) have been a bit remiss in getting the word out about how we´re doing…and what we do. It may seem like you´ve been hearing about a local AC branch here in Chiclana for years, but haven´t seen anything develop, and you´d be right. A bit of history: a little over two years ago, as a result of a recommendation by Yvonne Ferrier, ChiFRA hosted a community meeting regarding Age Concern. We had guests from Madrid (the embassy) and Estepona (the president of the Federation of Age Concern Organisations and a colleague).
After the meeting a group of volunteers agreed to take on the task of organising a branch of Age Concern in Chiclana. This group (headed by Edwin Cherry) was first tasked with fund raising and over the next couple of years they collected more than twice the 3,000€ needed to start up an Age Concern Organisation (ACO). A fantastic accomplishment. A few months later the new President (elect), Bob Hamilton, attended the ¨Federations¨ Annual General Meeting and Age Concern, Costa de la Luz Sur, was accepted as a member. There is a one year probation period, after which we will be full members.
Since completing the initial fund raising, the following has happened:
• The Constitution and Statutes have been approved, signed, and submitted to the Junta de Andalucía. We expect to have our charity registration completed in a couple months.
• We have solicited the Hacienda (tax office) for a Tax Number. We have been issued a temporary number which allowed us to open a bank account. We expect a permanent number in a couple months.
• A mostly new committee has been established and approved (we are lucky to have four members from the fund raising committee still on board). Named positions have been ¨scrubbed¨ and assigned.
• We have set up a Lifeline (the number one calls for assistance). The number is: 634 315 289. It is manned from 09:00 – 17:00 Monday through Friday. There is a voice mail available for calls outside of working hours or calls missed during working hours. Many thanks to the folks at La Alternativa for donating a telephone for the Lifeline.
• We have begun training volunteers in their potential duties/responsibilities. We are very fortunate to have Pam Gallagher to help with the initial training. Pam
has a lot of experience in these matters and has offered to help out as a
volunteer, and to provide training for our new volunteers. We also have a couple of other folks on tap to help out in the future.
• We are continuing fundraising. Committee member Val Simmons is heading up this on-going work.
We are now beginning to provide service to the community (we cover all of the province of Cadiz, but intend to start off here in the local area and progress outward as we develop the necessary skills/experience).
So, what is Age Concern and what does it do?
First, it is not an emergency service! If you have an emergency you should contact local emergency services. If you don´t know how to do that, we can help.
We do help with such things as shopping, doctor/hospital visits, befriending/lending a friendly ear, etc. We should be thought of as ¨facilitators.¨ If assistance is needed in an area in which we cannot help (medical/medicinal care, cleaning, lifting, gardening, etc.) we will help arrange services. We will mediate with the local social services as necessary. And so on….
From our formal statutes, the following:
• Protect the rights and promote the wellbeing of the elderly (over 50 years).
• To provide assistance and help of whatever nature to whoever indicates a need for it.
• Promote the integration of foreign residents in the daily life and culture of Spain.
• Inform foreign residents in respect to the customs and normal practices in Spain, maintaining contact with the authorities, both Spanish and foreign, in order to facilitate a better mutual understanding.
The objectives will be supported by the following activities:
• Visits to hospitals and private homes of people who require help of any sort.
• Organisation of excursions, classes of Spanish language, and events with the collaboration of institutions of the autonomous community of Cadiz, the British Consulate, and other associations, all with the aim of help and integration of the foreign community and their place of residence.
• Help with the management and solution of problems, maintaining the appropriate contact with appropriate official departments in charge of resolution of said issues.
You will probably note that there is some overlap with what ChiFRA does. We are in close contact with them and you will see close collaboration between us in the future. There are three members of the ChiFRA Management Committee on the Age Concern Executive Committee, which makes that collaboration much more likely and easier to accomplish.
So now what? As mentioned, we are training volunteers, but we are in need of many more. As it is a volunteer position, one is not required to be on call all the time and for all things. If you can provide a couple hours a week or an occasional ride to the market or doctor/hospital, that´s great! If you can provide more, even better. The more volunteers we have the easier it is to parse out the volunteer time and efforts. We will provide all the training you want/need to do what you would like to do. We are all in the learning mode at this time. So, if you´d like to help out your community, especially those who are a bit older and may not be able to fend for themselves completely, please give us a call at the Lifeline number or shoot us an email at
, and we´ll meet up to see what we can do together.
Once we´re well established, we´ll have two types of supporters: members and ¨Friends of Age Concern.¨ For now we´re keeping the members (who can vote on issues affecting the organisation) to a minimum. It just makes it less cumbersome to organise. However, we are actively seeking ¨Friends.¨ To be a friend requires an annual contribution – whatever you want to give – and will make you the first to know about what we´re up to and the events scheduled (plus a discount on events, etc.).
I´ve attached a copy of our first newsletter for your perusal. If you´d like to continue to receive them just drop us a note at the aforementioned email address, or give us a call. It will also be posted on the ChiFRA website on the Age Concern page, located on the top of the www.chifra.org home page (I promise I´ll get it cleaned up before too long). You can also find more info on Age Concern on our page on the ChiFRA website.
That´s about if for now. You know how to get hold of us if you have any questions. We are hoping to hear from you.
All the best
President, Age Concern CLS