British Benevolent Fund: The story of the man who lost his job and was forced to the streets

British Benevolent Fund

Image: Followtheflow/Shutterstock

The British Benevolent Fund tries to help those Britons in extreme financial distress often for no fault of their own.

With the aftereffects of Brexit still being felt by many people living in Spain we have an increasing number of cases of people who have found themselves without residency rights, which include the ability to work legally in Spain – yet they remain.

For those people, many of whom are living in precarious circumstances, living off casual cash in hand and temporary jobs – many people have done this for years and been able to make a living and lead a life.

With those who do not have residency rights that also means the right to work.
Once that work dries up difficult choices need to be made including repatriation to the UK.

Once such applicant came to us over Christmas. He had been living rough for some months after years of living and working in Spain.

He lost his job and no wages were given. He had no rights and soon found himself in the downward spiral of depression and ill health due to his circumstances.

He had placed his belongings in a station locker but no longer had the funds to retrieve them

The British Benevolent Fund was able help him with recovering his possessions, and provide emergency accommodation and a flight back to the UK where we had arranged for him to be met by an airport care team.

For many like him a return to the UK is not a welcome one. There is no cup of tea and a help to get yourself back on your feet.

From being homeless in Spain he went to being homeless in the UK.

Like so many he had to prove that he was living in the UK by passing the Habitual Residency Test – which takes up to three months before it is processed.

In the meantime he was on the streets begging and spending nights in homeless shelters – as far away as can be imagined from his life in Spain.

There he still is – two long months and one sll to go before he can apply for state support and housing and he can begin to put his life back together.

We can only help people in distress with your support. To make a donation of any size please visit our website or contact me

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Written by

British Benevolent Fund

Olaf Clayton is the chairman of the British Benevolent Fund and shares the charity's expat stories with the Euro Weekly News every week