From left: Mike Evans, David Thomas and wife Jane, and Clive Jewell, UK vice consul in Portimão
From left: Mike Evans, David Thomas and wife Jane, and Clive Jewell, UK vice consul in Portimão

Safe Communities Portugal holds first community lunch since the pandemic

For the first time in over two years, Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) invited their followers to a community and fundraising lunch at the Quinta do Moinho Restaurant, in Loulé, recently.

The event, which was also to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the organisation’s official founding, was attended by 60 people from across the region and the special guest speaker was Mr Clive Jewell, the UK vice consul from the office in Portimão.

Those attending included Shirley Dunn and Christine Fay, president and vice president, respectively, of Rotary Club Estoi Palace International, Paul Streeter, president of foreigners’ association in Portugal AFPOP and his wife Andrea, and Sue and John Bannister from the Royal British Legion.

David Thomas, president of SCP, started the event by thanking SCP management team member Mike Evans for organising the event, and in particular Clive Jewell for being the speaker.

It was through Clive’s invitation some 11 years ago that Safe Communities attended a British consulate outreach programme in Albufeira officiated by the then British Ambassador Jill Gallard, where David announced the forming of Safe Communities Algarve, as it was then known, in response to the serious crime that affected the Algarve at that time. Clive had continued to give great support to SCP since then.

David then spoke about how it was not until a year later that Safe Communities was officially registered, being the first crime prevention organisation registered in Portugal. As interest and demand in its services grew, it changed its name to Safe Communities Portugal in 2014, taking on new challenges in the area of civil protection including, in particular, rural fire preparedness.

The association had held around 35 seminars at that time, bringing the GNR, PSP, SEF, Civil Protection and the Algarve Tourism Board together before a foreign community audience. The aim was to develop public awareness of safety and security risks and foster closer engagement between the community and the authorities.

He explained how the association had been recognised by the government Council of Ministers and had become a qualified Civil Protection Volunteer organisation under Portuguese law.

David added that these steps were essential in building a close relationship with the government and resulted in SCP being involved in parts of the review process following the 2017 major fires.

David gave an overview of the considerable challenges the association faced in dealing with Covid-19, its current work in disaster risk reduction and covering major incidents as well as plans for the future. He concluded by thanking the management team, members and followers.

Clive Jewell then gave an interesting talk on what the day-to-day life of a vice consul entails. He spoke about the core work of the consular team in supporting the British community and the various services that they offered, as well as his own role. There followed a number of questions.

David Thomas said that this was the first of what they hope is a series of lunches around the country. The event raised €465 in donations to SCP. The next lunch will be in the new year and plans are currently being finalised.