We meet Scott Kirk, the man behind some of the most popular groups on Facebook.
“When you have a handgun pointed at your face, it helps you realise what’s important in life.” And so began Scott Kirk’s journey from one of the most violent cities in Brazil to Portugal, one of the safest countries in the world.
It’s been five years since Scott Kirk and his Brazilian wife and young daughter emigrated to Portugal. Like many of us, they were attracted by the Algarvian climate, the low levels of crime, and the welcoming environment. At 45 years of age and with a background in IT, Scott continued to work online on projects such as educational games and website development. At the same time, he was creating some of the most popular English language Facebook groups in Portugal.
What’s truly admirable about Scott – and the moderators and subject matter experts who run the groups – is how motivated they are to help others. As Scott says, “I really admire what they do, giving up their time and sharing their expertise so freely. They’re good people.”
One of the moderators is Karen Sissons. “I offer my time and knowledge because I had very little help when I moved here in April 2013,” said Karen. “I remember it was a very frustrating period in my life, especially as I had just been widowed and was 57 when I moved here. It’s good knowing that I’m offering the help I couldn’t find when I arrived here.”
Another is Nia Queiroz. “I’m a Portuguese local, but I’ve also lived abroad. So many people helped me when I was in other countries that I wanted to return the favour by offering my knowledge and experience to people here in Portugal. I can best help those who truly want to live like locals and need assistance navigating the system and government organisations.”
As for the questions they receive, they range from, “Does income have to be passive for a D7 visa application?” which clearly requires experience and subject matter expertise to answer, to the more bizarre, “Do I have to speak Spanish to get by in Portugal?” which requires patience and a good sense of humour.
The groups attract between 200 to 300 new users per day, a remarkable number. It’s a testament to their popularity. While social media orientated, the helping hand provided by those who run the groups, and others created by Scott, extends into the ‘‘real world’ too.
As Scott explained, “During lockdown, we organised online Portuguese lessons, free of charge, frequently with over 90 people ‘zooming’ in, helping them to learn Portuguese and for some, to alleviate the pressures of lockdown. Another example is from when the Ukraine war started. Two young boys emigrated to Portugal with their mother but couldn’t make it to their new school because it was too far. They didn’t have a car and they didn’t have bikes. We put the word out and were able to generate donations to buy two brand-new bikes for the boys. One of our own moderators, Steve Given, provided most of the funds”.
Scott has identified the most commonly asked questions and produced two booklets offering answers to them. One is titled Moving to Portugal and another, Buying a Property in Portugal. Topics include tipping, visas, bringing belongings with you, transferring your driver’s licence, and the stages of buying a property. Both booklets are available for free from Scott (contact details below) and another concerning the D7 Visa (often known as the Passive Income Visa) will be available soon.
Running these Facebook groups (and others) is hard work for everyone involved but rewarding too. As Scott said, “My belief is the more positive energy you put into the community, the more you get out of it. Whether it be free information, useful contacts, or meeting new friends, it’s the way a community should be.”
Scott is the owner of the newly launched BuyProperty.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know…
Expats in Portugal Q&A – 64,500 users
Everything and Anything Algarve – 31,000 users
Expat Buy / Sell / Rent property in Portugal – 25,000 users
Long Term Rentals – 21,000
Algarve Expats – 15,000 users
Typical (and sometimes funny) questions:
- Does income have to be passive for a D7 visa application?
- How can I open a bank account?
- Anyone know a reliable accountant?
- What’s the best restaurant/bar in the area?
- Which are the best dog-friendly hikes?
- Do I have to speak Spanish to get by in Portugal?
- Can I buy normal potatoes in Portugal?
- Is it true I can’t put toilet paper down toilets?