Day 11: Councillor for Social Services and Welfare, Sylvia Tatnell, talks about her job and help available for expats

Photo by: Prisoner 5413

Spain’s Social Services and Welfare system is very different to the UK, the Spanish culture and way of life means that if you want help and support when you are older, you look to your family first.

Cll. Sylvia Tatnell is an expatriate living and working for the Moraira and Teulada council on the Costa Blanca. She moved to Spain 41 years-ago with her family after a bad winter in England. She learnt to speak Spanish quickly, after getting a job in the local town.

Today she is married to a Spaniard and has worked for the local council for a number of years, helping build bridges between the Spanish and the foreign communities. She was elected at Deputy Mayor’s when the independent party she worked for was elected into local Government in the early 2000’s.

Cll. Tatnell’s job is very varied and she looks after and deals with a number of social problems including truancy, drug and alcohol abuse through to care for the elderly. She not only deals with Spanish nationals, but with British, German, French and Dutch people.

But, who do expats turn to when living in Spain for help and what support is available to them? The system is very complicated and often people find they are not entitled to help because they have not registered as a resident in the area.

Sylvia praised many of the British people who come to either retire or live and work in Spain, as they register. But as from the 1st September 2012 it is going to be much harder to become a resident in Spain.  The Spanish Government are changing the laws and it will be similar to what it was like 20 years ago to become a resident.

In April 2012, the law was changed regarding the health system in Spain. Many Brits who had medical cards found themselves no longer entitled to care and support. As part of her job Sylvia works closely with a number of British charities who provide support for expats who need care and medical treatment. Without charities such as the ‘Lions’, ‘HELP’ and several cancer charities such as ‘MABS’, Marina Alta Breast Cancer Society, many British people would be left unsupported.

Sylvia loves Spain and this part of the Costa Blanca is a ‘wonderful and tranquil’ place to live. The reality of living and working in Spain without the correct papers and proof of paying into the social system could be bleak for some. But its the work that Sylvia does and that of the hundreds of charities that makes a difference to those who are not supported.

You can listen to Sylvia Tatnells interview with me, at the town hall, about her job and the Spanish social system by clicking below.



About samanthapidoux

Double Edward R Murrow award winner for 'Best Documentary' and 'Best Feature'. Community and freelance journalist and programme maker. Currently working at the Lincoln School of Journalism at the University of Lincoln.

Posted on August 30, 2012, in Audio and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. John Giles. son Nick

    Hi Sylvia. You wont remember me as I lived in Moraira 20 yearI s ago at casa Gracia, bottom of Mar del Norte.I am 87 now and live with children at Torremolinos. I lost Shirley to cancer 6 years ago.I. I had a Boxer dog sam Your family were from Greece where I did my National Service.We sold our house to Sammy in the port. Hope. you still well and happy.appy days at ISCOM

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