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Two community milestones marked

This year marks two important 10th anniversaries in Paphos.
Firstly, in 2016, the Friends’ Hospice will be marking 10 years of operation.
In that time, Friends’ has provided palliative care to almost 1, 100 patients. All of this has been done free of charge.
All creeds and nationalities are accepted for care.
Interestingly, considering the slightly suspicious stance Cypriot society has about palliative care facilities (Friends’ isn’t a place to go and die), 70% of patients are local people while many other nationalities make up the remainder.
I remember hearing that the hospice was opening at last. I recall that different parties in the quest for a palliative care facility hadn’t seen eye to eye about how to proceed for some time and, finally, one small group broke away and set up a wing in the Evangelismos Hospital in Paphos.
I was impressed by how efficiently this was done and the confidence with which the expat organisers moved into their premises and got up and running in true – if I may say so myself as an English lady – British style.
But as the media was asked to cover different charity events like coffee mornings and dinners and entertainment and we learned about its running costs, I privately wondered how on earth it was going to survive.
Well, 10 years on, Friends is still going and has got over some serious humps on the way. It has managed, with a team of dedicated staff and volunteers, to keep providing quality care without any core funding from the state or any other source.
Another 10-year mark is the start of EU citizens being able to vote in the municipal elections. I remember this was a huge and exciting affair in Paphos owing to the high number of European expats here.
Apathetic in the few years before leaving the UK, I was delighted to go and cast my vote alongside Cypriot nationals and excited to see an eclectic range of candidates standing for council seats.
It was a relief to – on paper at least – no longer feel like an outsider.
There are some very active non-Cypriots in local politics who have insisted on a new way of approaching old problems.
The success of these efforts, 10 years on, is hard to measure, although I think municipalities at least feel like someone has their eye trained on them.
The disappointment here has been how many more expats could register to vote and don’t. It is straightforward to do and doesn’t mean you have to become a political creature overnight, but does mean you have influence on matters that affect you.

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