Good Neighbour Award winner

Elaine Berry in centre and Alison Brophy to her left Credit: Stronger Together

Age In Spain’s Good Neighbour Award sets out to highlight the best examples of neighbourliness in Spain.

In some cases, nominees for the award are people who have done something really significant for their local community; in other cases, grateful neighbours simply want to say thank you to someone who has done them a kindness or gone out of their way to help.

From a strong field of finalists in the 2023/4 award – launched in conjunction with the Euro Weekly News – an overall winner has emerged.

This year’s winner

She is Alison Brophy, of Corralejo, Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands nominated for creating ‘Stronger Together’ an organisation which exists for the benefit of non-Spanish residents, simply “to help people, to improve things, to help the nationalities integrate and generally to improve the life of everyone in Fuerteventura”.

Alison has lived in Spain for 27 years. She first arrived to buy a karaoke bar – which she still runs – but became interested in helping people during the COVID lockdown when “time presented itself and I wanted to do something to help”.

Since then, thousands of people have come for advice or support, evidenced by the large number of nominations received for Alison.

‘There are so many people needing help here and no one to help them. And what professional help there is can be very costly. Right now, we have a membership of 650, among whom 26 nationalities are represented.”

Stronger Together

Stronger Together aims to integrate people into Spanish society, for example by providing language lessons, facilitating social activity, and encouraging people to register to vote in local elections; it navigates bureaucracy and helps people with their TIEs, their driving licences, or their business start-ups. The association arranges care packages when needed, accompanies people for hospital visits, and it also liaises with consulates, government bodies and other charitable organisations. It produces Breeze, the only English language magazine on the island and for which Alison has secured local business sponsorship.

Not content with all of that, Alison has another idea – what she calls her big dream. She’d like to build an assisted living complex for the island and is in search of a business backer for that.

“I know there’s a market for this and it’s a real business opportunity for someone. Right now, we have to send people home to the UK if they are looking for assisted living facilities because there is no full-time care on the island.”

Praise from British Ambassador

Commenting on the announcement of the Good Neighbour Award winners, UK Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, said:

“Stronger Together is a respected organisation in Fuerteventura and has worked with Las Palmas Consulate to provide support to the most vulnerable of British people. My very warmest congratulations go to Alison Brophy and all those commended by Age in Spain for their good neighbourliness. It can be tough integrating into a new country and navigating different systems, but all those recognised by this award make a real difference in their local communities, helping to make day-to-day life just that bit easier for others. I applaud all these wonderful local ambassadors for the UK in Spain.”

Special commendation

Several people received special commendation in the awards scheme, among them Alison’s friend Elaine Berry, who is President of Stronger Together and helped Alison set it up.

Elaine has worked with the Spanish courts as a legal translator and has also helped the British Consulate and several holiday tour operators when visitors have met with difficult circumstances while on holiday, acquiring expertise that she has put to good use in Stronger Together.

She commented that she has developed a specialism – helping people cope with bereavement, guiding people through all that is involved and arranging funerals, cemetery arrangements, dealing with the banks and with the deceased’s will.

Details of other people who were commended  in the Age In Spain Good Neighbour Awards will appear in future posts.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page