We were delighted at the positive responses we received from last month’s article on Camposol. We wanted to reach out to all the businesses, charities and volunteer groups to understand just how they have fared over the last year. It would appear that there are many that want to tell us more so we have decided to extend this into the April and May issues of The Journal. We have never had so many web hits or on-line readers before either. Our readership is growing and the number of subscribers who receive the electronic version of the magazine is now over 2,000 per month.
It is now over a year since that fateful day, Friday 13th March 2020, around 3pm when news reached us that all
the bars and restaurants on the coast had just been “shut down” by the local police and that Camposol was next!
Within 24 hours there was not a retail outlet open other than those that offered “essential “goods or services such as supermarkets and food outlets. Mysteriously the Chinese Supermarket shop on Camposol had closed at least 24 hours beforehand, how did they know?
Once it became clear what “lockdown” actually meant, it was quite shocking. Camposol residents could no longer leave Camposol. There was a lot of very unnecessary panic buying, and there were soon empty shelves in the supermarkets and no toilet rolls to be found anywhere! For 12 long weeks this continued. The weather was dreadful too, so even those with outside space were stuck indoors, and it was not a very “nice time” for anyone, but for those trying to run a business, a charity or a volunteer group, wow! there were some real challenges. Fitness classes starting popping up on line everywhere and our wonderful local fitness instructors kept going and for no payment whatsoever!
One of the first things that became obvious was that rapid change was needed and it would not be right to forget just how some quickly “stepped up” to the challenges. Alens Supermarket on sector A was a prime example.
Alen and his father went out and sourced fresh fruit and vegetables within the space of a few hours, it was incredible. Quick Save on sector B also rapidly increased supply of all types of food and drink to try and bridge the gap. Where else would you get this type of personal service and so quickly?
Last month we reported on the C sector gardening Group “Greenfingers” and the sector A group “Los Palacios”. This month we also have updated
reports on both B Clean, and D
Community Group. All have faced chal- lenges and overcome them, despite difficult and frustrating times. We have also now caught up with MABS and Friends of Mazarrón Animals (FMA)
to see how they have coped over the last year.
All fundraising events had to be cancelled and despite having a “virtual” Race for Life in October there has been very little in the way of other income. Approximately 60% of their volunteers had to step down due to age, health conditions or shielding, despite this they continued to work as “near normal” as was possible whilst adhering to the safety restrictions.
On the advice of the medical professionals MABS also had to suspend their Home Care Support for several months but we are delighted to report that this has now been restored.
MABS patient numbers rocketed to 120 at the height of the pandemic and remain steady at 114 as people were scared about how their treatment would be affected during the lockdowns and restrictions. We are pleased to say that although there
have inevitably been many changes to appointments and treatments schedules the Health system is continuing to handle cancer patients well.
During 2020 MABS assisted with: 1089 appointments, 1088 translations, 299 car trips to hospital appointments
The respite home remained open and in the early days of the pandemic they had 8 patients in residence until in the autumn they were advised to take only the most critical patients.
MABS are working more closely now than ever with the Health Authority to ensure their patients get the best help and support they can during these very difficult times.
Two days before the first lockdown MABS ordered a new wheelchair adapted vehicle that was more versatile and suited the needs of their patients better. It was very expensive and when they realised the pandemic was going to last for a long while they did try to cancel it but it was too late so they had no choice but purchase the vehicle, but it was another drain on their funds.
So MABS are just about managing financially but they cannot sustain this level of activity and cost indefinitely so they are very pleased that they have been able to reopen their shop in Totana. Please go to the shop and support this amazing charity. Any
donation however small is always greatly appreciated.
Technology has always had an enormous role to play in the housing market but now it is more important than ever. We spoke to Mercers Estate Agents who told us the following. “Mercers have always used all the portals available and they have a very busy and interactive website. Over recent months however, social media is now one of their main targets.
The use of live videos on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Tik Tok is becoming both popular and successful.
Mercers are truly taking advantage of 21st Century technology and it is
paying dividends. Customers are both selecting, viewing and completing on properties, sometimes without actually coming to Spain. Only last month, Mercers made a live video which received over 11,000 hits. The property was sold within 4 days”.
Mercers also has the added advantage of multi lingual staff as well as customers. They can cover Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Belgian.
Their client base backs this up and at the moment there is a particular increase in Belgian clients. Mercers were the first estate agents established in Camposol and have over 35 years’ experience selling property in the region. See back page advert for more details.
The Tech Shop Camposol Sector A
We spoke to The Tech Shop up on the commercial centre on Camposol sector A who said the following: “We would like to thank our customers who have shown us immense compassion and understanding during these demanding times”. Things have been tough for all businesses, including The Tech Shop, who told us they have made the following observations over the past 12 months.
Supply chains are really suffering with prices increasing in general as a result of the disruption. Smaller items
such as phone cases have been more commonly effected, but parts also.
Even the larger companies have not been immune with Apple in particular seeing a huge impact on their supply chain and the ability to manufacture devices.
The delivery drivers that The Tech Shop use are also feeling the pressure due to increased demand for home deliveries. The Tech Shop are very grateful though to have some amazing drivers who work with them to make sure their deliveries get to them. Over the years they have built good relationships with their suppliers, who are all based in Spain. Matthew and Farrah told us that “It has been wonderful to have conversations with people and find solutions to issues affecting us all. It feels like there is more personal interaction with suppliers, they often will call just to check if we are OK, and if we need anything and they let us know when supplies are.
- Laughter and comfort come easily because they understand what it’s been like.”
The demand for home office equipment e.g., printers and laptops has caused an increase in prices and in some cases stock shortages. Ink has also seen some disruption due to raw material shortages and an increase in demand. Most manufacturers and suppliers had contingency stocks to avoid disruption as a general precaution, but with reserves depleting and the manufacturing and supply chains still recovering, The Tech Shop believe that we are only just seeing the
effects of the global disruption to manufacturing and distribution for electrical items and expect it will take some time to return to normal levels.
In a pleasant and much needed boost to business, because of the supply issues effecting new devices, more people are looking into repair instead of replacement. The repair side of the business is very strong, and The Tech Shop are frequently operating at maximum capacity for repairs which is very positive. That doesn’t mean people are not buying new though; the need to have online communication is making many people make the move to- wards new phones and upgrade their technology. The Tech Shop have sold many people their first ever smart- phone or tablet, and have also seen a general move away from the reliance on laptops and moving to tablets in- stead. “It’s made people re-evaluate what they want their technology to be capable of.” Farrah explained. “Sometimes it means repairing or upgrading, others it means something new. It gives us immense pleasure helping someone take those first steps to be able to connect with their family and it has been a genuinely positive experience to be part of that.”
To summarise, The Tech Shop are doing their best to continue to provide a comprehensive service. Prior to Covid they had just put in place supplier agreements to bring more stock to their shop to improve their sales side of the business. This is still planned for the future but it will not be implemented at this current time. The future is looking optimistic, just a little delayed!
Richard the Blind Man
Richard the Blind Man is definitely not a ‘Jack of all trades’, he’s simply a master of one. Mending blinds is the only work he does. If you’ve seen his name elsewhere, you’re probably a member of his Facebook group, Mazarrón News and Views. He has been servicing and repairing persianas (Spanish window blinds) since 2007.
In the past year, Richard’s focus has been on pandemic necessities: keeping customers safe from him, himself safe from his customers and reassuring his wife that he returns home safe and healthy !
He now works wearing coveralls, disposable gloves and a face mask. He doesn’t enjoy dressing like this, but
it helps keep him and his customers safe.
Richard tells us that, apart from emergency repairs, hardly anyone contacted him for work in the first months of lockdown. But, since last summer he has been busier than ever, often due to key holders contacting him about problems in the properties they manage.
Finally, Richard asked us to thank all his customers for their continued
trust and support during these difficult
times. Richard, together with all of us at The Journal, hopes you all soon get your vaccinations and can get back
to seeing the people and doing all the things we’ve been missing.
D Community & Gardening Group
The last year has been nothing if not “challenging” for D Community & Gardening Group, as it has indeed been for all volunteer groups and charities. One thing the group has noticed, however is that The Camposol Community really does “pull together” when needed and this last year has been no exception.
All fund-raising events have had to be cancelled so funds are low, and they hope to be able to recommence their activities later in the year. It is a great way to raise funds, and awareness of the group and the events are a great way to make new friends.
During a few weeks last year, the team did manage to tackle some of the pruning and weeding jobs that were outstanding. They also mended some damaged fencing and enjoyed being out in the sunshine whilst doing it. D group thanks their loyal volunteers for their continued support.
Due to the restrictions their bucket collections had to stop, which was also the main source of fund raising, so it was a worry for the committee, as the group could not continue if funds got too low. An appeal was raised for D residents to help with making donations via PayPal and thankfully a few did this, and it has helped boost the bank account.
The bucket collections are now back up and running every Friday 9.30-12
at The Hut (next to Janes’ Memorial Garden), please stop by and make a donation. Their collectors are fully aware of all the current regulations and they are being followed, so volunteers, as well as the general public are not put at risk.
In December 2020 D group Gardening team, planted lots of poinsettia’s, and put up the Christmas decorations around the Hut and Jane’s Memorial Gardens with some lovely sparkly lights, they did a great job and worked so hard, and they carefully placed Santa so residents could see him as they were leaving D sector.
Photographs were on show on several Facebook sites and the positive response was great. everyone was saying how it made them smile and it felt good to see such a lovely display Sadly, a week later, someone decided to demolish Santa and cause some damage. This was not a good day for residents of D. Once the word got out about this, the offers of financial help getting another Santa installed and correcting any damage was overwhelming, it was great to see that residents of Camposol were working together to get this sorted. One of
our residents, Tracie Smith-Rowley came to the rescue and provided us with another Santa, in his outfit, and once again Santa was installed on the bench, looking grand, and he stayed there throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
As D group moves forward into 2021, it will be slow going for a while longer. The committee is working on keeping the group going, behind the scenes doing admin, they are sorting out the website, getting posters printed, and setting up a new Facebook page.
The D group always need more volunteers, if you can spare any time, they will be delighted to hear from you, please call 604 206 018 or email sec- email@example.com.
Facebook page D Community
FMA – Friends of Mazarròn Animals
There is no charitable organisation anywhere that can say the last year has been easy, anything but, finally, FMA (Friends of Mazarrón animals) are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel; it may still be far away but it is there, glimmering in the distance.
March saw the launch of their new initiative the ‘Pop up Boutique’ and it proved to be very popular and productive. Along with a ‘Popup Bookstore’ they also raised much needed funds
for the animals in their care. If you would like to have the Boutique visit you at your business or in the privacy of your own home then please contact them on the number listed below. At the time of writing this article they were due to have a resumption of their musical events; The Magic of the Musicals and the Jersey Boys should have gone ahead in March and we are sure there will be a glowing report in their next article. FMA also have
a fabulous Tom Jones tribute act booked for April so please reserve your tickets for that as it’s bound to be a sell-out.
All their other fund-raising measures, the 100 club, book shelves, and the online market, are all working really well and FMA would like to thank everyone for their continued support.
As ever it’s a very busy time for them in animal rescue. They continue to home cats and dogs both here and abroad and their relationship with different animal organisations keeps growing.
Their work with the “hunter community” is improving and more Galgos (Spanish Greyhounds) have been rescued. March also saw a number
of other dogs in all shapes and sizes come under their wing. Some of these dogs though neglected are in reasonable condition while others come in, in a terrible state. One of these was Shiloh. FMA do not know exactly the suffering that she endured in her life but from her injuries and lack of care they do know that she has led an appalling life. Now safe, Shiloh is such
a sweet girl and a true example of the forgiveness of dogs. So many of you have taken an interest in her and FMA are truly grateful for all your support and good wishes for her. Updates on Shiloh and all their animal rescues can be found on the fMA Facebook Page.
“B Sector is the smallest of the Camposol four sectors but is probably the busiest as regards commerce and traffic, both foot and vehicular. Consequently, one of our local gardening groups, B Clean, has plenty to do as regards general maintenance of our
green spaces and planning and undertaking new projects to improve our environment. Unfortunately, B Clean is hampered by a very limited income and even more limited availability of people willing to assist in the work needed just to maintain some sort of status quo.
Needless to say, both matters do hamper their efforts so the local effects of a global pandemic were not going to make the situation any better. For many weeks, the small work party (usually just 4 people!!), had been unable to operate outside but the plants,
specifically the weeds, continued to grow unabated and the fly tippers and others who lack any respect for our locality still failed to dispose of their rubbish in a responsible manner by dumping waste around the sector.
As they were unable to operate as a group, residents may have noticed individual efforts by members such as clearing rubbish around the bins and tidying up the green skips in the lower car park. It was, admittedly, a drop in the ocean so to speak but something is better than nothing in this difficult situation. At least now, the restrictions have been relaxed and they have been able to resume the trimming
of the oleander hedges and planting some new trees and yuccas around the car park.
Not only had the work party members been unable to meet up but their committee members were also similarly restricted. As a registered charity with rules to follow and general day to day
business to conduct they have had to liaise with each other and the internet has proved of great use in this respect. They could check documents and even view photographs of problem areas in the safety of their own homes thus minimising the spread of this awful illness which has already affected our community. Hopefully, they will be able to meet up again soon.
One matter that needed a committee decision was the question of the palm trimming on B sector’s public roads
and roundabouts. To avoid the possibility of damage to the trees by cutting them during the warmer weather when the palm weevil is active, this work has to be done in the early part of the year when these horrible bugs are not active. Even if B Clean had greater numbers of volunteers, the
work is really not suitable for non- professionals now that so many of the trees are very tall which means that specialist equipment is required. The council has carried out tree cutting
on other sectors and they had really hoped that they would be next but this has not been the case. It is a little
surprising as, to some extent, B sector is the gateway to much of Camposol with both roads leading to C and D sectors passing through it plus the presence of a large commercial area which attracts visitors from all sectors as well as beyond the urbanisation.
This has meant that their funds have taken another major “hit” again with 1400 euros of donations/subscriptions being spent on contractors’ charges to maintain the safety and tidy appearance of the public roads. The work always attracts plenty of compliments but, unfortunately, this still leaves a large hole in the B Clean funds.
The last 12 months have been difficult for everybody and they fully understand that some are suffering more than others but, they really need support if they are to keep B sector looking pleasant for residents and visitors. Support comes in two forms, the obvious one being financial so they do encourage local residents to join B Clean so that their subscriptions (5 euros a month payable quarterly or annually) give a steady income topped up by bucket donations when this is permitted. When the collectors
to their treasurer, Colin Barton. Colin also organises the work parties and would be very happy to hear from anybody who would like to put their names forward as volunteers. The current regular turn-out of just four people means that projects have to be prioritised and things they’d like to do to improve things have to go on an ever growing “wish list”.
One of their members, Colin Thack- well, has decided to try to help out with fund raising over a period of 14 weeks by cycling the equivalent of some 80 marathons (each over
40kms) whilst staying in one place! He originally set his bike up outside The Consum Supermarket in early March but, later, had to temporarily “work from home” as a result of the heavy rain. B Clean are hoping that people will be feeling extra generous once he reappears in public complete with his donations bucket. It would be nice if Colin’s efforts and dedication encouraged a few more residents to join up and assist the handful of volunteers who are currently doing the maintenance work.
The B Clean group know that things will get better and maintaining the community values and environment must be part of the way forward.
They would like to wish everybody a safe and healthy time as they move through 2021 and look forward to hearing from anybody who would like to assist them in our efforts. “
Facebook “B Clean” Community Gardening. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Camposol Health Clinic
We spoke to The Camposol Health Clinic up on sector A which has remained open all through the lock down attending to anyone; bridging the gap as far as possible with the closure of regional health centres as a result of covid 19.
During this period, they have been able to physically attend to all the people of Camposol and surrounding areas who need treatment. This included making prescriptions for those people who could not return to their home countries and who needed medicines to continue with their ailments. This included X-rays, ECGs, eco graphs, cure treatments and injections. Some patients just needed to see a doctor to put their mind at rest.
The clinic has also provided a unique service which was to inform by telephone, the procedures to follow in case of infection by covid 19.
They organised an interview with Radio Costa Calida and their Dr. John Carlos, (the senior doctor), to fully explain the symptoms of Covid. He also advised on the best way to act when everything was confused and people were nervous as many were still ignorant of the new virus and its consequences.
It has been an extraordinary effort by everyone at the clinic to be the first line support when there was little knowledge of the virus and all other services were closed! The health clinic was very aware of the needs of their patients because there was currently no alternative health service.
At the same time, their doctors and nurses who also work for The National Health System have made a super- human effort to be able to cover the large increase in required services.
The Camposol Health Clinic has had to adopt many sanitary measures that were within its reach to guarantee and adapt its facilities to comply with the anti-Covid measures. This was absolutely necessary to ensure the health of both clients and staff by implementing restrictions on the capacity of the number of patients in the clinic. To ensure the clinic could maintain social distance, hygiene and everchanging regulations the clinic have also installed new anti-Covid screens, and an ozone therapy system (similar to that used in hospital operating rooms).
To summarise it has been an immense human and economic effort over the past 12 months. A very worthwhile effort however, because in the end The Camposol Health Clinic can truly say that they have the satisfaction of having contributed to the well-being and health of the inhabitants of Camposol and surrounding areas in such difficult circumstances that are reflected around the world.