Mixing social needs with sociability
The British Association of the Var gives people the chance to meet other expats in the area but is also devoted to helping those who are in difficulty and has a welfare team which can give advice and support to any member of any nationality, as well as financial assistance which is restricted to British members living in or visiting the Var.
The association has about 500 members but is keen to expand and welcomes anyone who wants to join for the regular social events or to help on the welfare side. Their motto is “putting people and social needs together”.
The type of assistance available is varied and can include what to do and who to turn to when there is illness, accidents or bereavement. It often involves helping people to deal with the intricacies of the French system and can include attending meetings with social services, visiting people in hospital, providing information on medical aid and assistance in obtaining home help if required.
The group has a dedicated telephone number and an email for people requesting help which is manned seven days a week: “The number of requests varies from month to month. There can be a couple of calls or a constant stream at other times.
“We have a number of professionals among our membership who we can call on to give specific advice on a subject and we also direct people towards the right agency for help.
“Financial aid is given according to a strict set of regulations. It might be for someone who has been very ill and cannot pay their mortgage and has no other resources.”
The social side is also important: “We have lots going on,” says Mrs Docherty. “There is at least one event every month, often centred around a meal but with an added interest as well such as a visit round a town. There are also coffee mornings where you can buy books and a photo, art and bowls club. They are always sociable and a pleasant way of meeting other people.”
The British Association of the Var says it can support you in settling into a different country, help you become part of an established group and allow you to meet and make new friends. You can join online. Membership costs €30 per address. Included is a monthly newsletter which keeps you up to date with what is going on in the association, the Var and new legislation.
- Welfare email: firstname.lastname@example.org