By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]
Lost passports, crisis cases, notarial work and trying to meet the needs of both British visitors and the large number of British residents in the Algarve may seem like a daunting task for many. But for Clive Jewell, the newly appointed British Consul for Portimão, this is his “dream job”.
He told the Algarve Resident: “When I first saw the position advertised in the Algarve Resident, I thought I would look into the job criteria further.
“I visited the FCO website and found myself growing more and more excited as I ticked off the criteria that I felt I met and found myself really wanting the job as I discovered the challenges that it presented. The more I thought about it the more it seemed like this had to be the best job in all of Portugal!”
After spending 33 years in the travel industry, and 21 of those years in the Algarve, it felt like a natural progression for Clive to move into a consular position, a job which is “also very customer service focused”.
“I feel that I am able to offer two different areas of experience to the job, which will help me to give the best customer service possible to our customers,” said Clive.
“Firstly, as a resident in the Algarve, I am able to understand many of the problems other residents face here and the concerns they have within the community while secondly my travel background has enabled me to come into contact with thousands of holidaymakers over the years and I have firsthand experience of the issues concerning visitors on holiday.”
Originally from Surrey, he maintains close relations with his family and friends in the UK but his life is firmly rooted in the Algarve and, as a fluent Portuguese speaker, Clive Jewell believes that he will also, importantly, be able to connect with the Portuguese community equally.
“I met Isilda Gomes, the Civil Governor, recently and I am proud to say that she called me an Algarvian! It is so important as a resident to try with the language and I have found that it has helped me over the years both socially and professionally,” he said.
Concerns of residents and visitors who may be worried that consular service could be reduced, as reports of falling numbers continue, need not worry as the services will not be cut in the Algarve.
“Actually the reverse is true,” said Clive. “The Algarve remains a very important post and the consulate here is the face, eyes and ears for the FCO and we will even be opening a new office for our Honorary Consul based in Faro very soon.”
The future of the Algarve as a destination for British visitors and for those looking to relocate is looking bright, he says.
“While the Algarve experiences important and beneficial developments to infrastructure, it continues to be a place that people come to relax and there are many repeat visitors to the region,” said Clive.
“I have been lucky enough to be able to travel frequently to other destinations and the Algarve is one of the most welcoming places I have ever been to, for both visitors and residents, while the beaches are unrivalled in Europe and the unexplored countryside and interior have stunning scenic beauty.”
Recently the British Consulate in Portimão has seen many changes, not least the moving of premises, and Clive Jewell hopes to be able to build on the foundations that the previous Consul, Paul Rodwell, and the existing team have put in place.
“Paul and the team did a fantastic job and I will be working to continue this. I keep on telling people that I am literally chomping at the bit to get going with projects and really begin my work here.”
Community outreach programmes will feature a future project called Consular in the Community with the aim of meeting with residents.
“This and other initiatives will allow me
to meet with members of the community here and give residents an opportunity to learn more about what we can and cannot do for them in the Algarve,” he said.
With the past two Consuls leaving the post after a short period of time, previous Consul Paul Rodwell has now taken up the challenge of running the Alicante Consulate, Clive Jewell hopes that he will buck this trend and remain in his new position for some time.
“This is where I live and I have no plans to leave the country. I have had my time of travelling and it has felt for many years like I have come to a natural stop in the Algarve.”
He added: “Of course no job is forever but I hope I will be able to stay in this position for as long as the FCO want me and I can be useful to British residents and visitors.”
For further information about the British Consulate in Portimão and the services offered to residents and visitors, please visit www.ukinportugal.fco.gov.uk (available in English).