British Benevolent Fund: Homelessness caused through Covid

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 The British Benevolent Fund is the oldest English-Speaking charity in Spain. It has existed for over a century to provide assistance for British nationals in Spain who face extreme financial hardship. 

We look wherever possible to help people get back on their feet – and for some getting back on their feet can seem like a mountain to climb. 

Late last year the BBF was approached by a partner charity – one of many that we work with listed on the embassy supported – to see if we could help. 

The case involved a man in his 50s who had lived in Spain for most of his adult life – he was a legal resident – and had been working doing odd jobs and gardening but had had increasing difficulty making a living. 

He was barely able to work over the pandemic, during which he found himself unable to pay the rent and was forced out.  

He had applied for state assistance but it turned out that he had made an administrative error and was deemed to owe many thousands in social security payments – which he did not have. 

By the time he was referred to us he was living precariously out of his car and relying on a local food bank to survive. 

It seemed as if the mountain was insurmountable. 

The very best seemed that he would have to return to the UK and restart his life there – homeless and without income or savings. We were going to have a difficult conversation. 

He was determined to stay and made the case that he would be able to find work but he needed help to get it. 

We agreed to give it a go. 

We were able to provide him with a modest sum for emergency accommodation, basic living expenses for a month and some help with clothing. 

It did the trick. With a clean shave, new clothes and a bed to sleep in, a weight had been lifted and he was able to focus on finding work. Which he did within a few short days.  

We need all need a helping hand sometime. 

The BBF can only do this with your donations. If you would like to support our work supporting the vulnerable across Spain please visit or contact me 

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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