Category: Local

HELP Vega Baja aims for ‘green bags’

Following new legislation that shops, including charity shops, must charge customers for
plastic bags, HELP Vega Baja thought they would look for an alternative solution. After
looking for sponsorship, President Michele Masson met up with the José Miguel Perez from
Grupo ASV and discovered that both organisations wanted to do what they could to help
the environment.
“We are keen to do what we can to not only help keep costs down for the charity but to
consider the environment too. When we met with José it was wonderful to hear that he
shared the same views and we agreed to work together to produce carrier bags made of
paper! Grupo ASV covered the cost of the bags and we were delighted to take delivery of
1,000 bags last week.”
As charities have to now charge for plastic bags the situation can be a little crazy. For
example, we have heard from other charities that in some cases customers insist on new
bags as they are paying for them, rather than accept used bags that are often donated to
charities. Sadly this could lead to charities having to purchase plastic bags, which obviously
negates the whole benefit of the legislation.
The sponsorship and support we received from Grupo ASV has been terrific and the bags are
now available in the Help Vega Baja shop in San Miguel. The charity is still asking that
customers bring along their own bags when shopping and that any donations for the paper
bags will go towards future stocks. The aim of the charity is to go completely “plastic free”
for bags and it is working towards this.
Help is a registered charity which helps people of all ages with all sorts of problems within
the Vega Baja area from La Marina to Pilar de la Horadada. It has a centre at San Miguel de
Salinas which includes a charity shop and a hire centre for mobility equipment and a
helpdesk in La Marina. Each supplies a wide range of information and advice to members
and non-members alike. Typical enquiries include questions on residence, health care,
driving, bereavement, wills, burglaries and much more. If the answer to a problem is not
known immediately, every effort is made to obtain the appropriate information. 
The charity has the support of a hospital visiting team which visits the Vega Baja Hospital
and is also able to send a visitor to Torrevieja hospital upon request. Help has a welfare
officer who is able to offer advice and assistance. All requests for any of these services
should be made via the San Miguel centre.
If you would like to find out more about sponsoring HELP Vega Baja with any of their
projects (bags, leaflets, posters etc), volunteering or if you have a group and you would like
the team to come along to give a talk on the charity, please contact their San Miguel Centre
on 966 723 733 or Michele Masson direct on president@helpvegabaja.com or 661365606

Rotary Club helps Ukrainian children

The Rotary Club of Torrevieja has put in a request for donations to help 13
children who are victims of the troubles in Eastern Ukraine. The children have
been brought by the club to Torrevieja to have a holiday away from the
problems in their homeland.
The children have all lost close family members in the conflict or come from
families who are struggling to survive without basic necessities. They were
selected and brought to Torrevieja in conjunction with ‘Global Christian
Support’. Now, during their stay in Torrevieja, they have been given
opportunities to enjoy different activities and to be children.
The children originate from Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Slavyansk and Avdeevka
and are all between the ages of three and 11. Their families are without the
basic necessities and the Rotary Club has also been asking for support in
providing them with these basics for when they return to their home country.

Volunteers and homes wanted

Torrevieja’s animal shelter (Albergue Municipal de Animales) is urgently
seeking homes and volunteers to help lost and abandoned cats. There are
dozens of beautiful domestic cats and kittens in the shelter waiting for
adoption but not enough people are coming forward to adopt them.
‘We do everything we can to care for the cats and kittens,’ says Councillor
Carmen Morate, ‘but shelter life can be distressing for them so we really do
need more people to come forward and adopt now.’
Most of the adult cats were pets but because of different circumstances they
have ended up in the shelter. Many crave human attention and anyone taking
them home would be rewarded with an affectionate pet. Alongside the adult
cats there are many kittens that are desperate for a home. They are young
and will bond very quickly with a new family.
People are usually aware that the shelter takes in dogs but may be less aware
that it’s also the home to a number of abandoned cats. This may be
contributing to the lack of adoptions and it is hoped that word can be spread
that homes for cats are desperately needed too.
Volunteers
It’s not only homes that are needed. The shelter also urgently requires
volunteers to help care for the cats whilst they are waiting. They need
volunteers to clean the cat area and feed them. They also need someone to
spend time with them, keeping them socialised and ensuring that they are
ready for adoption when the right person comes around.
If you think you can help out, either by adopting or volunteering, then please
visit the shelter between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Friday or between
9am and 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The Albergue (shelter) is in
Avenida Los Nénufares, which is just off the CV905 close to the Habaneras
commercial centre. It is now signed posted, Albergue, from the slip road just
before the local police station.
Further information and details of lost and abandoned animals can also be
found on the Facebook site Concejalia de Proteccion Animal de Torrevieja.

Private motor home park to be opened

The mayor, José Manuel Dolón, has made the announcement that a decree from the Valencian community does regulate the parking of motorhomes on public land. Until now, this particular law does not appear to have been acted upon. However, the intention seems to be that it will be in future. The regional law states that vans should not remain in the same public place for more than 48 hours. In fact, the mayor suggests, it should be less than this where there are no services available to accommodate the vans.
At the moment campervans and other types of motor homes are scattered at different points across the town, often frontline to the sea. They can be seen in the coves between the beaches of Los Locos and Torre del Moro and next to Cala Piteras. The official line now seems to be that the law must be complied with and that we can expect those staying longer than their welcome to be moved along.
At the same time it has been announced that an individual has got the go ahead to process their application to construct a private motor home park in the urbanisation La Veleta. Plans are already underway to convert the area, which should begin in October. The town council is expecting that there will be some opposition to the scheme as announced in the paper Informacion.

Police torture trial continues

The trial of five police officers from Torrevieja has continued in Elche with further revelations. Now, recordings from phone calls made at the time, present new evidence to support the allegations of torture.
The alleged mistreatment of the two detainees happened in 2006. One of those arrested had two broken ribs when taken to the hospital to deal with injuries that the police claimed were sustained during a fall downstairs. The two detainees were a Spanish woman and a Colombian man who were caught after entering and robbing the property of a police officer.
The officers are accused of torture, making threats and harassment and the subsequent cover up of events afterwards. The length of time between the incident and it coming to court has created difficulties for the prosecution including that of locating the two criminals concerned.
According to one of the phone calls officers are heard saying: ‘I have a problem. There is a detained person here who robbed a police officer’s flat this morning and has been beaten and now when we take him to the doctor and to the court he will talk.’ The phone call continues; ‘Although he is a criminal, he has serious injuries.’
Those at the trial heard fragments of further telephone conversations that appeared to substantiate the accusations against the officers. The court had already heard how official video recordings of the two detained criminals had been erased. Further snippets of telephone conversations further suggest that these recordings had been deleted deliberately.
The trial continues and it is expected that sentence will be passed in the middle of September.

Torrevieja welcomes children from the Sahara

It’s an annual event. A small group of children who live in the Sahara come and spend their summer in Torrevieja free of charge. It’s a gesture to show recognition of the harm that Spain did when abandoning the area, creating many refugees.
This year there are ten children who are taking part in the ‘Vacaciones en Paz’ and are staying with local families. On 18th July the children met the mayor, José Manuel Dolón, at the town hall and received gifts including school equipment.
The programme that takes place every summer is organised by FANS which stands for Familias de Acogida de Niños Saharauis. Carmen Pérez is the president and she has made an appeal for more families in subsequent years to provide accommodation as there are no shortages of children who can benefit.
The age range of the children varies from six years old to ten and children are limited in the number of years that they can take part. Back in their homeland, they live in very difficult conditions in refugee camps. The temperature there reaches 56 degrees in the summer and they do not have the luxury of air conditioning and sometimes lack water too.
In addition to this summer placement scheme there is also one which allows children to attend during the school year and return to their homes in the summer. At intervals, items are also sent over to the camps including basic provisions such as toothpaste. Recently, 800 toothpaste kits were distributed there.
Whilst the children are over here they are able to relax and enjoy themselves whilst also undergoing a variety of medical checks to ensure that they are in good health.

Reward for missing cat

Please can you help reunite Casper with his distraught owner? Casper the cat went missing several weeks ago, but has been seen in the areas around his home and may well be being fed and looked after by someone who has no idea he has a loving home and is missed very much.
Casper is a cream cat with hint of ginger in his fur and lives at Lomas de Cabo Roig, near to the Aldi supermarket. His owner Teresa bonded with Casper as a kitten, taking the rescued feline from Finca Castellana three years’ ago. Casper means the world to her, and she is offering a reward for his safe return. Teresa said the Casper has been castrated and has a skin problem and conjunctive eye and so needs regular treatments and she is concerned for his welfare.
If you can help please call Teresa on 693 907 007.

Car crash close to town school

On the 19th July a car ‘landed’ outside Las Lagunas secondary school in Torrevieja. The car had left the road Avenida de las Cortes Valencianas to finally stop just outside the school on the playground. This is an area that on a normal working school day would be full of school children.
The car had ploughed through the perimeter fence and a service lane before finally coming to a halt. It was being driven by a woman at 9.50 in the morning and was travelling in the direction of Alicante. It is currently unknown how and why the woman lost control of the vehicle.
The Local Police were called to the accident and began to investigate how the car had ended up so far from the main road itself. It is estimated that its final resting place was 20 metres from the dual carriageway where it had been travelling.
It is believed that the car had just come off the controversial illegal roundabout and managed to travel across and demolish a number of barriers before finally stopping. It was a lucky escape for the school children who use this area and would have been there had it not been holiday time.
Las Lagunas secondary school is the largest in Torrevieja and has 1,200 students including evening classes. The school has raised its concerns on a number of occasions about the Avenida de las Cortes Valencianas which used to serve as the old N-332.
This part of the road became a dual carriageway in the nineties and the roundabout was built there illegally in the year 2000. Since then there have been attempts to organise its demolition and recover the money from the company who built it. However, this company, JOST, are now no longer trading.

Alicante Consulate gets a facelift with GREAT and Visit Britain branding

Customers visiting the Consulate in Alicante will enjoy a renovated look with images that showcase scenes from the UK regions.
The images and messages have been selected from the GREAT campaign as well as the new “I Travel For” Visit Britain campaign. Most of the images chosen are UK outdoors scenes, and the Consulate took a particular interest in featuring parts of the UK their customers most frequently come from.
Visitors will be greeted by Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse and Henrhyd Waterfall as they come in. Once in the waiting room, the Bristol Balloon Festival, a night scene of Edinburg and a view of the Lake District have replaced extra notice boards. Other UK scenes have been distributed in meeting rooms and other non-public areas of the Consulate.
Consul Sarah-Jane Morris said:
“We have upgraded the look of the Consulate with our customers in mind, to help them to feel more at home and reduce the stress that a lost or stolen passport can cause. Our consular team in Alicante are available to assist any customers who need our help, and we hope they will enjoy the new images displayed around the public areas”
The new images are already in display for citizens who need to visit the Consulate this summer. Otherwise, please remember that advice for UK citizens living in the EU can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/advice-for-british-nationals-travelling-and-living-in-europe . We recommend following our Brits in Spain Facebook page, and to sign up for alerts from the gov.uk page to ensure you are getting accurate information.
GREAT Campaign
The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the best of what our whole nation has to offer to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. It is the Government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign ever, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain. The campaign has already secured confirmed economic returns of £3.4bn for the UK.
The UK has a huge amount to offer, with world-class universities, ground breaking research, high tech start-ups and entrepreneurial business people. Global leaders in the creative industries like music, fashion, design and film, Britons can offer visitors unforgettable experiences, breath-taking landscapes and iconic attractions.
The GREAT Britain campaign captures the best of all that is familiar about the UK, but also what is new and surprising about this country. The aim is to encourage people around the world to think and feel differently about the UK.
Visit Britain’s I Travel For Campaign
VisitBritain’s ‘I Travel For…’ digital marketing campaign uses short films and story-telling to shine the spotlight on unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations in Britain, alongside its globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions. The short films and images align the passions that motivate visitors from Spain to travel with experiences they can only have in Britain, inspiring them to ‘Find Your Great Britain’ and book a trip right now.

La Mata Town Hall feels Forgotten

La Mata might officially be classified as part of Torrevieja, but it also has some of its own distinct facilities, including its own branch of the town hall. However, residents there have felt for many years that they are the forgotten neighbour when it comes to the provision of services and some have even called for La Mata to be registered as a town in its own right.
Now, the latest concerns voiced relate to the town hall in La Mata itself. Those using it claim that councillors in Torrevieja have forgotten the public building and that it is being neglected in comparison to other buildings in Torrevieja, for example.
Some of their concerns include the lack of provision of drinking water, toilet facilities that remain unrepaired and unusable, an automatic door that doesn’t work properly and air conditioning that doesn’t work. Some of these deficiencies mean that those working there sometimes have to abandon their stations, to get a drink, go to the toilet or just to cool down.
Due to the type of windows on the upper floors, council workers sometimes feel torn between opening them for ventilation or keeping them closed for security reasons. There are also problems with the internet and telephone lines meaning that sometimes workers resort to using their own mobiles to make necessary calls.
Now, demands for the repair and maintenance of these offices are growing, amid allegations of neglect of this council building

Local charity makes new ambulance possible with €31k donation

Local charity Help at Home Costa Blanca (HAHCB) has donated a staggering €31,000 making up the total needed for the Cruz Roja to buy an ambulance to be used across the Vega Baja. The fundraising was undertaken in memory of well-known and much-loved charity volunteer Kathleen Vahey who lived in Orihuela Costa passed away a few years ago.
The cheque presentation took place at the Emerald Isle, La Florida, where HAHCB holds its weekly charity market. Many of the charity’s volunteers were present as was President Carmen Perez, Charity Secretary Patricia Muirhead and Charity Fundraiser Silvia Sakir. The Cruz Roja was represented by Andres Ramon Alonso, President of Cruz Roja Orihuela and Antonio Navarro, President for the Alicante Region.
The original campaign aimed to raise funds for a disability van, however, as HHCB neared the final amount it became clear that a disability van was not really what the community needed and also that running the van would be a drain on the charity’s resources. So, the charity met with the Red Cross and discussed it needs. When the organisation said what would really make a difference was a new ambulance – they only last 10 years and the Cruz Roja vehicle has had its day – the volunteers threw themselves into even more fundraising. In total, the vehicle would cost around €60,000 but the Cruz Roja would also raise money towards this very worthy cause. The ambulance will have the HAHCB logo and ‘in memory of Kathleen Vahey´ as part of its livery.
It took two years for the charity and its volunteers to raise the €31,000, and it was done through many different fundraising events and initiatives. These included: weekly markets at the Emerald Isle, fashion shows, Christmas markets and dinner dances with the Campo Verde Reef band. In 2017 HAHCB was named as the nominated charity at the Cabo Roig St Patrick’s Day Parade, Villamartin Plaza also held a fundraising event for the campaign and there has been continuous support from local groups such as the Red Hat ladies, The Rendezvous girls, and many other generous private and group donations.

Finca Castellana going the Green Mile

It is always busy at Finca Castellana in San Miguel, but the last few months have been particularly manic. The cattery team has been inundated with requests for help with feral cats and kittens. They rescued a kitten, which was on its way to the airport…in a car engine! They also had to scale a chimney to retrieve a Mummy cat that had given birth to three kittens inside of the chimney and were unable to get out.
In addition, the volunteers have just started a project called ‘The Green Mile’ to raise funds to pay for the release of dogs and puppies from Cereco where they are waiting to be put down. Up to date the charity has rescued 34 dogs and re-homed 29. It intends to make this a permanent project helping as many dogs as possible from certain death.
One of the volunteers, Beccie said: “After years of rescuing hundreds of animals, people’s cruelty still shocks us all sometimes. Eight, one-week-old puppies, were dumped in a shop doorway, tied up in a plastic bag. Luckily for them, a group of youngsters came across them and took the bag straight to their Mum, who contacted us just in the nick of time. “Unbeknown to the dumper, the shop had CCTV and the man in question was identified and the police sent to his house. We are now awaiting a court date for the man to be prosecuted for cruelty. The great news is, all of the eight puppies have gone to a forever home.”
More good news came for the charity as Finca Castellana opened its new charity shop in the Filton Centre, Los Balcones, open Monday to Friday, 10-3.30pm. For more information or to make a donation please see Finca la Castellana on facebook, visit: www.fincalacastellana.org or call Janette on 610451133.

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