Archive for October 30th, 2014
The British Consulate Is Here To Help You

Every time I meet the British Consulate team for Tenerife I learn something new and helpful. I could have sworn it was a classy version of Girls Aloud or Pussycat Dolls as they took their places at the top table in the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre but their advice was music to all our ears.

Kicking off the new season of the Europeans Citizens Group, the consulate staff were introduced by Carol Salisbury, the new President of the former Ciudadanos Europeos. From left to right meet Consular Officers Monica, British Vice Consul Helen Keating, Penny Gomez, and Mary Suarez. For their purposes Tenerife refers to the province, that includes La Palma, El Hierro, and La Gomera so there’s a lot of ground to cover with two million visitors a year and 30,000 registered settled ex pats. That brings us to one of the hot topics for the consulate and the European Citizens – the padron. Registering as a resident of your municipality (Arona, Adeje etc) helps the councils to assess community needs. It gives you the right to vote in the council elections (coming up May 2015) and the big carrot is the 50 % travel discount between the Canary Islands and to mainland Spain, you even get discounts on theme parks and events.

Passports can be a cause for worry, resident renewals now all go through the UK and there are ways to avoid feeling stranded. A bit of flexibility is helping to untangle the backlog that built up over the summer, you can apply for a free temporary one year passport extension but only if your passport expired in the last six months or will expire in the next three months, you have not already applied to the UK, and you have at least three clear pages in the old passport. The consulate can also issue an Emergency Travel Document if your passport is missing, this will cost 95 pounds or 125 euros.

Helping the vulnerable is another key area for these dedicated people, especially if it involves minors, the hospitalized, crime victims, and those with disabilities. The consulate staff can liase with the main agencies such as police and medical to help repatriate or contact family back home via trained specialists. We can all take measures to make sure we are covered for the unexpected, residents need to register with the health system, the EHIC card is only valid for visitors but even with these safeguards travel insurance is still a cheap way to avoid expensive shocks.

There was so much good information coming across at the meeting my pen was sizzling, the growth of social media means you can browse all these subjects and more at your leisure so save the contact points below that are aimed at Brits who are resident in Spain. The European Citizens group is itself an excellent network and all for just 20 euros a year per household – and they have a better social life than I have ever had! They regularly have interesting guest speakers, this time Ros Jeffrey of the South Tenerife Christian Fellowship gave a talk on behalf of She Europe, an organization that offers help and support to women in distress. The Fellowship have recently taken over The Living Room, a drop in centre in the nightclub heart of Playa de Las Americas, they have always done great work and can now continue to do so. Isn’t it good to know there are so many safety nets and generous people out there in Tenerife ready to catch you if you fall.

Tel 902109356



Helpline 690964145



Motors Running And Tops A Popping In Adeje

There are some big, bold projects on the starting grid for Tenerife, none more so than the motor racing circuit at Atogo, San Isidro in Granadilla de Abona. My early morning destination was Adeje for a press conference update on the long proposed project and the Fleetwood Mac Grand Prix music was steering around in my brain.

FIT Canarias, the factory for tourist innovation was the very impressive host, the bright white office spaces are a relatively new tenant in the CDCTA tourism development complex at El Galeon. Eduardo Pintado Mascareno, the legal councilor of commerce for the Tenerife Cabildo (government) spoke at length and with some passion about the planned track and the benefits it would bring to Tenerife. Basically it’s taken a big push to get the idea to the stage where all the layout and technical designs are ready, the Cabildo has given its blessing to the project and just the difficult subject of finance has to be conquered.

Tendering is open for the 30 million euros investment needed and we were told there is strong interest. The Cabildo has always said it would chip in with the supporting infrastructure links, the south airport is just 2.5 kms away and the TF 1 motorway passes nearby . Of course the question of Formula One racing was raised again, the councilor said that would be the dream aim but realistically they were looking at top European racing at several levels on four and two wheels. You can take an in depth ponder at the special website, it’s a long term project that will take at least two years to build once the first digging starts but with a lot of faith and imagination you can almost smell the engine oil.

Back out in Adeje I was shocked to see an old favourite missing from his post. The statue of the Guanche warrior was no longer perched on his plinth on the way into the old town. Instead it looked like one of the cages for the Christmas lottery, El Gordo, had been given a prime position. Closer inspection and the help of some information boards revealed it to be a sculpture called Sphere Solidarity by Juan Antonio Hernandez containing thousands of used plastic bottle tops. The promotion, Tapones Solidarios, aims to fill the container with the discarded poppers to help the charity Iraitza Association to recycle the tops and donate the proceeds to help people with physical or mental disabilities.

You can help Adeje to reach its target by dropping off collections of the bottle tops near the sphere. They need to have the recycling mark on them for number two or five, if Dorada bottles had such tops I’m sure I could have a go at filling it in double quick time. There was better news of the Guanche statue, he wasn’t guarding a fish pond in a councilors garden or being used as an advertising gimmick. Further down the hill I could see him partially obscured as he was being fixed into place on a large traffic roundabout. I’m sure he would approve of the cause.