An agreement was signed last week with the Elche Acoge Foundation, an organisation that works with immigrants, which will provide administrative and legal advice to about 5000 people in Santa Pola.
Councillor Samuel Ortiz, explained that the organisation will provide advice to immigrants in the town in regards to social care, legal, administrative care and welfare.
The councillor says that the service has only recently becaome available thanks to a collaboration with the Elche Acoge Foundation.
Ortiz added that it was previously lacking but now “I am proud of the efforts that we have made within the council and from the consistory to reach this stage where everything has now been agreed in a very satisfactory manner. The idea is to offer comprehensive, diverse and complete care in both the Community Social Center (C / Espoz and Mina, 55) and in the Municipal offices in Gran Alacant.
Dimas Vega, who is a social worker with Elche Acoge, said that there are two specific areas to the new agreement. The first is with regard to social and health care, problems in not being able to access health cards, education for children and so on while the second area will concentrate on integration within the community in Santa Pola and Gran Alacant.
According to the latest report conducted by the Bureau of Statistics at the Santa Pola Council, there are almost 7,000 immigrants living in the town from a total population of 34,000. They comprise of 90 different nationalities including the United Kingdom, Norway, Colombia and China. The councillor emphasised, however, that is unofficial data that is yet to be verified by the National Statistics Institute (INE).
So the immigrant population accounts for more than 20% of the total number of residents living in the municipality. That is why various arrangements are being made and and events are being organised to help them better integrate.
Dimas Vega has announced that in May he wants to make a photographic exhibition and in July the fair of equality, with the idea of transmitting the different nationalities of Santa Pola. Also, on December 18, the immigrant fair will be held coinciding with the International Migrants Day, where several activities will be done.
Of course the main problem faced by a migrant is the language barrier. Dimas Vega says that this complicates everyday tasks such as looking for employment or talking to a doctor. In addition, there are vast differences amongst the immigrants with regard to their economic situations. The majority of those who live in Gran Alacant are educated and reasonably well off whilst in many settlements in Santa Pola the immigrants are living in much more precarious conditions.
Samuel Ortiz said that as a councillor he deplores many of the bureaucratic obstacles that exist in Spain. This new service, he added, will help overcome those many of those barriers that immigrants have to encounter. “These people are also citizens of Santa Pola and they should feel as such. This will be the purpose of this new public service. ”
With this new service it is wanted to provide additional and much needed facilities to all the immigrants who live in Santa Pola information of which can be obtained by telephone as follows: 966 69 6208 (Oficina AMICS ), 966 69 4200 (Civic Center) and 966 69 6050 (Gran Alacant).
Photo: Samuel Ortiz, Gema Molla, Begoña Igual and Dimas Vega at the Social Social Center. Photograph by Carlos López.