The Informal English Speaking Group of Loja Starts Its 6th Year

The February 2nd meeting of the Informal English Speaking Group marked the beginning of its 6th year.

Started by Peter and Patricia Love in February 2004 the Group has gone from strength to strength and now has had no less than 400 people through its books.  From the start it was intended that the group should be totally informal - no fee, no Committee, no agendas, no minutes, no formalities! The meetings were solely designed to be somewhere where English speakers (no matter their nationality) and people new to Loja and the surrounding area could meet and make friends. In addition those who were in business could bring their business cards and flyers and network with members. Help and information was offered on the basis that if the answer wasn't immediately to hand then another member could probably supply one. A number of members of the group are also willing to give time to assist people, who are a little unsure of their Spanish, when making appointments or visits to hospital.

For the last 5 years a good deal of time has been spent by Peter and Patricia working quietly behind the scenes helping newcomers to settle into their new life and become fully integrated into the community of Loja. No massive publicity from press or TV but relying on word of mouth from those members who have found the help offered to be invaluable and the friendships made to be strong. Good contacts have been made with the Consulate, with De Cotta McKenna Y Santafé (who give free regular talks and updates on some of the more frequently asked questions and difficulties that can arise when moving to live in a new country) and with various Spanish and British businesses within Loja. The Hotel Almazara has also been extremely cooperative in letting the group use the hotel for their meetings.

Talks on various topics have been given by members of the Group, visits to the Lobo Park and to the lights in Malaga have also been well supported. The Summer Fayre was a regular June attraction (unfortunately not in 2009) but it will be back in 2010!  Also this coming year are planned talks by the Group's lawyer, visit to the Lobo Park, and visits to the Spanish countryside with Mick Richardson, a long standing member of the group. In addition there will be the usual Coffee mornings and events put on by members in various parts of the Poniente and aimed at raising awareness of cancer and supporting the work of the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer.  (In September and October this year coffee mornings and the Walk around the World raised nearly 2,000 euros for the Association, of which Patricia is the Loja Vice President.)

The group is now representative of the international community and there is a wide diversity in age and nationality. To date there are members of 12 different nationalities.

 

Everyone is welcome to come along - the group meet on the first Tuesday of every month from 12 noon until 2pm at the Hotel Almazara, Riofrio, Nr. Loja.

 

 

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