Birmingham researcher in launch of new information website for older British people living in the Costa del Sol

Research from the University of Birmingham has played a key part in the launch of a new website aimed at supporting older and vulnerable expats in Spain.

Led by the British Consulate and the University of Birmingham, the website, which launched today on the Costa del Sol, seeks to tackle the challenges of an ageing foreign population in Spain by providing information to residents on how to get extra support and help.

The research project Support in Spain, looked at the issues older and vulnerable British people face while living in Spain, suggesting possible solutions to help prevent them becoming socially isolated.

The study identified a need to develop a website that included:

  • Contact information of the different voluntary groups and Spanish statutory authorities;
  • Advice on common questions, such as how to secure extra social care;
  • Support with a disability or assistance with paperwork in Spanish.

Dr Kelly Hall, University of Birmingham said: ‘Our research shows that many people on the Costa del Sol are facing the need to secure support and welfare as they get older while coping with limited finances and little understanding of the Spanish social security system. 

‘This website helps put all the information in one place and will be updated where needed. We hope that everyone can use it, including even friends and family back in the UK and the charities working in Spain.’

The website is also available in Spanish to allow for health professionals such as doctors, social workers and Spanish-speaking neighbours or friends to access the website.

Charmaine Arbouin, British Consul, Andalucía said:

‘It is exciting to see this project come to fruition. The challenge of an ageing population is as relevant to Britons living in Spain as it is to those back in the United Kingdom, although there is not always as much access to information here in Spain.

‘I recognise the incredible work done by so many volunteers across southern Spain to support foreign residents who are in need and I hope that this website is a useful support tool for them in their work. 

‘Our message from the British Consulate in Malaga to UK residents is clear. We advise you to plan ahead for the future as you get older and know what you will do if something unexpected happens, for example when you lose a partner. Anyone can become vulnerable at any time and it is better to be prepared.'

ENDS

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Notes to Editors

  • Support in Spain website.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked among the world's top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Support in Spain is the result of a close cooperation between the British Consulate in Malaga and the School of Social Policy at the University.
  • The project was primarily funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council with support from the British Embassy in Madrid.
  • Groups involved in the launch include the Royal British Legion, Age Care, Age Concern, Cudeca, Lions Club St. and Andrew’s Chaplaincy.