The Council of Ministers has approved on Tuesday 14th March 2023 the agreement by which Spain and the United Kingdom will proceed to the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licenses as well as the exchange of information on traffic offenses in terms of road safety.
This agreement puts an end to the successive extensions applied to the exchange of permits between the two countries that had been applied since the end of the transitional period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
From now on, holders of a valid and current driving license issued by either of the two States may request the exchange of their equivalent driving license where they have established their residence, without being subject to any additional requirement of practical or theoretical test.
The agreement establishes that all valid permits or licenses of current residents issued prior to its entry into force may be exchanged, while for permits issued after said entry into force it will be an essential requirement to access the exchange that the permits have been issued in the country where the applicant had his legal residence.
British citizens residing in Spain who had not had their driving license recognized before Brexit, nor in the successive extensions granted, will be able to do so as of Thursday, March 16.
To facilitate administrative processing at the provincial traffic headquarters, a period of six months has been granted during which British citizens can circulate in Spain with their original permit while they process the exchange.
In addition, Spain and the United Kingdom undertake to provide each other with information on the data of the vehicles and their owners for the purpose of investigating traffic offenses related to road safety, especially in cases of speeding, not wearing a seat belt, failure to stop at a red light, driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs, not wearing a crash helmet, driving in a prohibited lane, or illegal use of mobile phones
Annual General meeting
Please note that the Annual General Meeting that was to be held on 28th February has to be postponed. You will be informed as soon as we have a new date for the meeting .
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY?
HELP Vega Baja suggests things to consider……
Are you prepared if there is a family emergency? It´s hard to think about emergency situations and how you will respond but as we all know, life is unpredictable and it’s better to be safe and prepared just in case. Whether it is a death, break-in or other type of emergency, there are things that we can all do to ease the stress that such situations can cause.
It is important for every home to have an emergency list with essential names and numbers – just in case. There is no need to get overwhelmed when creating an emergency list. It doesn’t need to be complicated. The main thing is to take that first step to make your list and share it with those you absolutely trust. A list should also be placed in your home in a safe place, and you should again tell only those you trust where the list can be found.
An emergency list is a physical list of “emergency information”. However, it could also be stored digitally. It can be small and refer to your healthcare wishes (in this case it is important to check with your doctor to see if there are any official documents required to accompany your healthcare request). It could also be more complex and in-depth, including information for each member of the family.
An emergency list is not simply the number of your doctor. It is a place to put all the important information you store perhaps in your head, things you do automatically without having to think about it! Passwords, codes, online payments etc. Here are some of the items that you may wish to include:
Doctor, SIP card, Health Insurance, special conditions and medications, personal ID (TIE,NIE,SIP card and passport numbers), Local contact of someone who you trust and can be called upon quickly to help, Funeral policy contacts, next of kin, work contacts, utility companies, Pet veterinarian, banking, power of attorney, deeds of property/rental agreement/will, home/car insurance, UK state pension, private pensions etc…
For all these matters, contact details, policy numbers and passwords are needed. Obviously, it is VERY important that only those whom you trust should be provided with this information.
At HELP Vega Baja we hear frequently of cases where someone has absolutely no idea where to start because their partner “did everything” and it takes considerable time and stress to work their way through what can be years of paperwork.
Particularly at times of loss, please help loved ones by ensuring they know at least the basics to take away some of the stress that inevitably occurs in an emergency.
Please see the information section of this website to download the Emergency List
Founded by HELP Vega Baja, the CARE Group of Torrevieja brings together charities and other organisations such as social services within the Vega Baja area. Meeting regularly, the aim of the group is to work together for the benefit of those in the community that may need support.
Welfare Officers and Social Workers recently held a training day to exchange knowledge on exportable benefits from the UK, such as Attendance Allowance and the Spanish Ley de Dependencia.
Chair of the CARE group and President of HELP Vega Baja, Michele Masson said “over the past 12 months the CARE group has proved a valuable resource for local charities with many issues being discussed. One issue that is often raised is what support people can access when they have difficulties coping with day to day living through perhaps a disability or illness. People often need care at home which is a cost that many cannot afford. There are several exportable benefits that, if the criteria for applying is met, can still be received here in Spain such as Attendance Allowance.
There are companies and individuals who will offer (at a cost) to help with the completion of applications for benefits, particularly Attendance Allowance applications which can appear daunting. Although these companies can legally charge for their service, charities via the CARE Group are anxious to remind everyone that if they need support completing the application, charities will help you completely FREE of charge. Volunteers throughout the area have a wealth of knowledge and work with social workers, have training sessions to keep up to date and are very happy to give their time to not only assist in the completion of the application form but also to suggest other means of valuable support, other than financial, that may be available.
Some people may also be able to apply for help through the Spanish Ley de Dependencia (you need to be resident and on the padron). Your GP, Social Worker and town hall can help you. Again, charities can point you in the right direction because we work alongside social workers day after day and this is also FREE of any charge.
Being chronically ill or disabled wherever you are in the world, can be scary, particularly when you are living in a country and you don't even speak the language. Charities, social services and in some cases your town hall will be able to help to direct you to support that can often make a significant difference in your life, personal alarms for example come to mind. Life is all about choices - the important thing is to know that you have them”.
Everyone is familiar with the concept of placing their loose change in donation boxes which are seen around bars and shops or being shaken by volunteers in shopping centres etc. Always keen to try something new to raise funds, HELP Vega Baja have come up with the idea of offering people special boxes that they can use in their own home and save their change for the charity.
President, Michele Masson said “we have had our red donation boxes in various businesses around the area for many years now and we are extremely grateful for the donations that we receive.
Recently one of our volunteers brought in a large bottle which she had been filling for a couple of years with pennies and also at one of our Christmas Appeal collection points we received a box from someone which was bursting with change.
This gave us the idea of offering people the opportunity to support us by providing them with a box to fill with coins. As a thank you, everyone who joins in will be entered in to a prize draw which we will hold twice a year”.
HELP Vega Baja have been supporting people in need for over 36 years in the Vega Baja area and Michele stated that in 2018 the charity had donated over 30,500 euros to good causes and individuals and said “everyone at the charity is extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to help so many good causes and we aim to continue to offer not only the information and advice that we are well known for, but also to continue supporting those who find themselves in need of our help including of course other charities.
Our relationship with social services means that we are often contacted when they are aware of particular families who are struggling and need our help. We have published a full list of the donations we made throughout 2017 and these can be found on our Facebook page and website.
Obviously, we owe a debt of gratitude to everyone within the community who continue to support us whenever they can and our team of volunteers without whom we would be unable to continue our work”.