One year after signing an agreement with the British Embassy, the Red Cross has taken fresh steps to get English-speaking charities to work more closely with their local groups and to encourage more English speakers to volunteer.
The British Consulate, along with Pedro Dominguez, newly hired by the Red Cross as European Residents’ Coordinator, held meetings in Calpe and Torrevieja to allow the Red Cross local groups to get to know their English speaking counterparts. They were keen to collaborate and were unanimous in what their main need was – more volunteers.
The different groups also discussed how to get more vulnerable British nationals to use ‘teleasistencia’, the Red Cross panic alarm service which allows at risk people to continue living independently as they can call for help whenever needed.
Many British nationals don’t realise that the Red Cross offers this service in English and that it isn’t just a case of pressing the emergency button – volunteers will also carry out regular welfare checks so the user doesn’t become isolated.
Following the meeting, British Vice Consul in Alicante, Sara Munsterhjelm said “A year from signing the agreement to work more closely with the Red Cross, it is fantastic that they have now employed a full time English-speaking member of staff to work with European residents. The benefits to the Red Cross and the English speaking charities from working together are clear – the charities can benefit from the Red Cross’ knowledge and infrastructure and the English-speaking charities can help the Red Cross reach vulnerable British nationals and give support with fundraising.”
Pedro took note of all the ideas that came up in the meeting, especially the cry for more volunteers. He said “I’m excited about this new role and can’t wait to get on the road to work with all the different associations. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about volunteering to get in touch with the Red Cross or any one of the English speaking charities. It’s a great way to get involved and to integrate into the local community.”