The refurbishment programme is almost complete. In August we started moving everything back from our temporary premises and, God willing, the doors will be open to the public on 20 September 2013. The project has incorporated the re-design of the first floor to give eight work places, an area for staff including a small kitchen and bathroom and a conference room. The ground floor is now accessible by a wheelchair ramp, and includes a classroom, two offices, bathrooms and a storeroom. The whole building has been insulated and now has air-conditioning and central heating.
Amongst the new programmes which Bep has instigated is ‘The Campaign against Poverty’ and is one of the most needed. This enables families without any income to apply through Social Services for Red Cross food parcels and hygiene and baby kits, and we are currently helping 200 families in the Mahón and Es Castell area. We try to provide a food parcel every three to four weeks containing basics including milk, oil, rice, lentils, beans, bread, tinned tuna, yoghurts, shower gel, shampoo, baby nappies, baby milk, cereal, etc. Some food supplies come from Europe. The EU buys up whatever is surplus to the official quota, for example oil, flour, rice, milk, etc. and this is distributed to Red Cross stores around Spain. When these supplies are exhausted, we rely upon food donations from individuals and from businesses, and on monetary donations from fund-raising events such as the hugely successful Spring Sale back in May. Anyone who wishes to donate non-perishable foodstuffs, baby, hygiene and cleaning products can drop these off at Scandals on a Tuesday morning at the Red Cross Craft Group Meeting between 10.00 and 12.00 horus, or to the Red Cross any weekday between 09.00 and 12.30 hours.
Another new programme is ‘Proximidad’ (Closeness) which has a dedicated phone number enabling elderly people to call the Red Cross for a volunteer to accompany them to go shopping, attend doctors’ appointments etc. Yet another programme underway provides assistance and motivation for people affected by ‘The Crisis’ to find employment and to improve their employability by helping with their CV’s, interviews, etc.
In addition to all the normal on-going programmes of the Red Cross such as equipment hire, tele-assistance, adapted transport, Meals on Wheels, etc, this is a very busy time of year for the Red Cross who always provide a strong and vital presence at the island’s local fiestas. The Mahón branch supplies ambulances and First Aiders for the fiestas of Mahon, Es Castell, Llucmaçanes and Sant Climent and their attendance at these events and other activities around the island generates enough to be able to help families with zero income, whose electricity or water is about to be cut off, or whose very home is under threat for inability to pay rent or mortgages.
It is hoped that October will see the launch of a new project, ‘Huerto Social’ (Social Farming) which will entail volunteers planting and maintaining crops on donated plots of land, to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to the Food Parcel Campaign. Also in October, it is hoped that the local branch of the Red Cross will open its doors in Es Castell. Currently there are branches in all the other towns on the island: Sant Lluís, Alaior, Es Mercadal, Ferreries and Ciutadella, all of which arrange equipment hire, adapted transport, and provide all the other regular services of the Red Cross.
Bep and the Red Cross would like to express their enormous appreciation to the British Community on the island for all the donations of food, hygiene products, children’s clothes etc and for their support and interest in the work we do. He is also very keen that any feedback, ideas and comments about the projects be passed directly to him as he would like to discuss them with you. Please call: + 34 971 361180 to arrange a time to talk to Bep – he speaks fluent English..!
The other groups under the umbrella of the Red Cross organised by British residents on the island are as follows:
The Hopsital Group which provides support, translation, DVD players etc to in-patients and their families at the Mateu Orfila Hospital. If possible, help will be given with out-patient appointments time permitting, but it is recommended especially in the summer, that patients take a Spanish-speaking person with them to appointments, if possible. Tel: 608 089 634.
The Home Group assists people when leaving hospital, in order to ensure they are well set up back at home, and also provides help with shopping, driving etc. Tel: 648 168 034.
Fundraising: Masterminded and organised by Anne Maddison, Tel: 618 373 528
The Craft Group which meets every Tuesday at 10.00 hours at Scandals to sew and create wonderful items for sale at future fund-raising events. Tel: 629 780 920 (Patricia Farndon)
Please contact your nearest branch for assistance and further information or visit the Red Cross website: www.cruzroja.es.
The Red Cross Craft Group August Report
On Sunday 28 July, the Craft Group had a stall at the Cricket Club Open Day. It was very hot out on the open ground in full sun, but it was great fun. Some of us took it in turns to visit the Pimms Tent in order to remain as cool as possible, some of us remembered to wear a hat, and sun cream was passed round at regular intervals.
The stall did very well, assisted by visiting grandchildren, especially Amber and Ethan,(grandchildren of Celia and Geoff Hanes) who walked round the whole ground for a very long time persuading people to take part in naming the teddy. The winners were Richard and Anne Yarrow who named him Rupert.
This year we took some greetings cards to sell and visiting grand-daughter Ellen Farndon stood selling cards with Marga, one of our card makers all afternoon. She also managed to join in the tug-o-war, and welly throwing between sales.
We also had a new fund-raising item at the side of the craft stall. Brian Johnson set up a ‘Splat the Rat’ stall which attracted lots of people right from the start. The queue was quite long and most people had a few goes, not wanting to be outdone by a stuffed rat in a ‘drainpipe’. The game was so well attended that, unfortunately, it eventually collapsed under the severe beatings it was getting from people determined to ‘splat’ the poor rat (who survived, and will appear again in the future) The winner was Amelia (see photo). Brian was disappointed at the early finish of the fun had by all, but he had contributed a great deal towards what was raised on the day.
There was also a lovely quilted throw, made by Polly Ewing which was raffled, the winner being a delighted Graham Spedding. And, great interest was shown in our new line of girls dresses, some were sold and there were enquiries made for different sizes.
Appeals: We still need knitting wool, bars of soap for making gifts, fabrics and patterns for childrens clothes. In addition, the appeal for the destitute families in Mahón are ongoing, and we desperately need oiletries for men/women, house cleaning items and washing powders/liquids, baby items, dried milk, dried food etc. (see article above for more information).
Meetings & Contact Details
Everyone is welcome to come along to one of our friendly Craft Group meetings, held every Tuesday morning between 10.00 and 12.00 hours at Scandals Restaurant, Carretera San Felipe, Es Castell. You don’t need to ‘join’ and we would love to meet you. For further details ring Patricia Farndon on 629 780 920 (mobile) or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or, you can follow us on our Facebook page and keep up to date with our news, photos, meetings etc. You can also tell us what you think, simply ‘Like’ our page where you can ask questions or make enquiries about any items you like. Click here for a direct link. It also includes a link to Menorca-Live.