Online Lifeline

This week the British Consulate and the University of Birmingham launched local coverage in Lanzarote of their support website for older and more vulnerable British residents. An information session took place on 17th June at the Hotel Las Costas, Puerto del Carmen, to raise awareness of the fantastic online resource that could potentially save lives with the aim of preventing British Nationals from falling into social exclusion whilst living abroad. Below are extracts from the press release from the meeting that took place on island.

The website, Support in Spain (, contains useful information on how to get extra support and help on a wide range of topics, such as health care, disabled services and benefits, as well as a directory of local support organisations. It seeks to help tackle the challenges of an ageing foreign population and was launched this week at networking events for voluntary groups on the Canary Islands.

Jackie Stevenson, British Vice-Consul – Las Palmas, said ahead of the launch, “It is exciting to see this website expanding into Lanzarote after a successful start in mainland Spain.”

“There is some incredible work carried out by so many volunteers across the islands to support foreign residents who are in need. As the Consulate cannot be in all areas at once, we hope that this website is a useful support tool for voluntary groups in their work and for residents as well.” Read more...

“We have compiled the site in Spanish, as well as English, so that social workers, medical staff and Spanish-speaking friends can, for the first time, access information on English-speaking support available.”

Jackie continued, “Our message from the British Consulate to UK residents is clear: Plan ahead for the future. Anyone can become vulnerable at any time and it is better to be prepared.”

At the well-attended event, different charities and voluntary groups from the island presented their services and also launched requests for more English-speaking volunteers to help them grow their work into foreign resident communities. Giving their interesting talks were AFOL Cancer Care, the Lanzarote Business and Residents Association, AFA Alzheimer’s Support, PerpetuARTE (cancer support) and Flora Acoge (social & welfare support).

The meeting was led by Neil Hesketh of the Support in Spain project and Caroline Sproule, Consular Officer for the British Consulate Las Palmas.

The meetings were also an important opportunity for those present to meet with a Consulate representative and network with other people working with older and more vulnerable people in Lanzarote.

Support in Spain.

The Support in Spain website is the result of a close cooperation between the British Consulates in Southern Spain and the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham.

The original project set out to research the issues older and vulnerable British people face while living in Spain and to suggest possible solutions to help prevent them becoming socially isolated in the future.

One of the conclusions of the study was the need to develop a website that included all the contact information of the different voluntary groups and Spanish statutory authorities available locally, as well as helpful advice on common questions, such as how to secure extra social care, help for a disability or assistance with paperwork in Spanish.
The project was funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The content of the website currently covers the Costa del Sol, Almeria and the Canaries, where there are high numbers of British residents. It is published in Spanish as well as English and has had over 35,000 visitors since it was launched.

Website address:
More information: Neil Hesketh, 677 688 427,