The British Benevolent Fund: Helping Brits in Spain for over a century

The British Benevolent Fund

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The British Benevolent Fund was founded over a century ago to provide assistance to Britons in Spain facing extreme financial hardship.

Financial difficulties is something most people face in their lives and whilst challenging can be overcome with thought and planning. Both of these are almost impossible when the person has a mental illness where making the right decision is difficult and where holding down a job is even more so.

In the case of John, a 34-year-old single British man who lived in Spain, having moved with his parents from the UK when they retired. His condition was such that social interaction caused distress and he lived in his room and his parents looked after him – he had never worked and relied on his parents for food, lodging and all life’s necessities. Except that they could not cope – they lived modestly off a small pension and had little to spare for their grown forever at home child who required constant attention – and medication.

Then came Brexit and the realisation that social service support, medical cover and local help were at risk as they had never registered as residents – and were no longer eligible. They got in touch with a local charity for support to apply belatedly which would take some time to process – however, they were confident that having been settled here before the deadline date they were still in with a chance. But in the meantime, the medicine costs were now high and beyond their small means.

The charity – one of many on the Support in Spain website contacted the BBF to see if we could help.

The BBF mission is to support those in distress and with a child with needs we wanted to help. The issue for the BBF is that wherever possible we seek that any funds are used to overcome a particular challenge – not ongoing support. In this case, all revolved around their chances of being approved – which if they were not would mean an unsustainable situation in Spain. We agreed to provide a grant to cover the following 6 months of medical costs which would be reviewed depending the outcome of their application. Thankfully within 3 they were given the green light and their application was approved meaning that all state support would not be available as well as that they would be able to continue living in Spain.

The BBF can only help with your help. If you would like to support our mission for Britons in distress in Spain, please visit

Thank you. Olaf Clayton, Chair



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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