When good people come together great things happen. If you’ve ever thought about giving back to the wonderful country that is Portugal, then Portugal Charity Chat should be on your radar for 2024

BACK IN 2017 Algarve resident Caroline Langston set up a Facebook group with the aim of creating connections between charities.

Since then, in a post-pandemic world, community spirit needs reigniting. We’ve become too used to catching up on video calls, interacting over text, sharing our highlight reels on social media, firing out emails, with in-person connection taking a back seat.

Communication can get lost in translation in this modern world of technological interaction. Face-to-face connection is where inspiration lies, ideas are sparked, and a can-do attitude prevails.

Long-term Algarve residents, friends, and event administrators Vicki Good and Sheena Rawcliffe, joined the Portugal Charity Chat community and suggested that in-person events might be a better way of getting people together.

What started as a Facebook group has now evolved into regular charity networking events where the like-minded think of creative ways to pool their resources to help those in need.

Sheena and Vicki oversee Portugal Charity Chat events that have now become a regular calendar fixture, with the last event attended by a variety of organisations from animal charities to the Royal British Legion.

The harsh reality is that the glamour of the Golden Triangle belies the abject poverty experienced by many here. With the cost of living ever increasing, many struggle to make ends meet, and a host of charities, both local and national, work hard in the background to offer essential support.

In November last year, the Portuguese Instituto Nacional de Estatística published the results of their 2023 Survey on Living Conditions and income, noting that 17% of people were at risk of poverty in Portugal in 2022 with a monthly income below €591.

Portugal Charity Chat is passionate about educating expats and Algarve residents about populations that are suffering and the charities that serve to assist them.
Sheena says: “Many people here in the Algarve may not be aware of the local charities or how to donate. There are also many people who would like to volunteer but don’t know where to go to offer their help.

Portugal Charity Chat isn’t just about connecting volunteers and charities, it’s about connecting the charities themselves, too. Their in-person networking events started before Covid-19 reared its ugly head and have grown in popularity ever since.

The events have been really successful with people who have known names of other charitable individuals but not the face to put to the name,” says Sheena. “They’ve also found that many of them have the same issues, but above all they have been able to share them and overcome them together.” A problem shared is a problem halved after all.

Aside from educating the charities on the benefits of working together and educating volunteers about what they can do, there’s a much deeper message at the heart of this wonderful community.

Vicki and Sheena are adamant there is a real need to educate the wider public that poverty needs addressing, whether it’s a human being who can’t feed themself or an animal on the street.

Workshops dedicated to charities and their volunteers are an upcoming new venture for Portugal Charity Chat, offering much- needed advice on subjects such as ‘Bettering Your Social Media Skills’ and ‘Bettering Your Presentation Skills’ – key subjects in raising awareness, support, and interest.

This is where Sheena’s decades of experience, making presentations for large and small companies, comes to the fore together with outside speaker Emma Wilson of Big Sister Social Media. Vicki comments: “It’s exciting for us to work with Emma on these workshops because she is in her early 20s and it’s so nice to see someone young, enthusiastic, and entrepreneurial who wants to be involved in helping these charities.

The aim is to spread the good work of Portugal Charity Chat throughout the Algarve. Currently predominantly based in the west, the idea is to expand the network to central and eastern Algarve, connecting local charities, volunteers, donations and more, driving community spirit and connection.

Maybe you have something you want to donate to a charitable cause but don’t know where to take it. Maybe you want to volunteer but not sure where to go.

Maybe you could be the one to oversee the eastern expansion?

If you’re reading this and think you can help, get in touch!

The next in-person charity networking event is scheduled for 24 April at Papa’s Restaurante in Armação de Pêra.
Portugal Charity Chat can be found on Facebook or drop them an email at

Words: Sally Dixon

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