The Helping Hand team

We are Helping Hand – Nicky, Elbina and Phil. We all work closely together on projects but, in the simplest terms, Nicky is your first point of contact and in overall charge, Elbina gets things done and Phil provides financial expertise and technical support.

[Photo to come]


Nicky-gardenI’m a Brit who’s lived and worked in Istria for more than ten years, so have a detailed understanding of the trials of life here for expats and holiday home owners. I ran our rental business for over ten years and have managed the restoration of several properties. Here on LiveIstria (another of my ventures), you can read about the restoration of one of our rental properties.

Three years ago Phil and I handed the day-to-day running of our rental business to Elbina, so we had time to focus on another large international project. That has now finished, giving us time to launch Helping Hand, a service giving you access to our team’s project management and local Istrian expertise.

Before we came to Istria, Phil and I set up and ran a highly successful international marketing communications agency. Bringing our past business experience and values to our new company means Helping Hand, while located in Istria, is run to north-European standards with a commitment to high levels of customer service and quality communication.

For Helping Hand, it’s me you’ll probably speak to first when you contact us, as I’m the person who decides whether we can provide the assistance you require. During our time together, I stay involved as needed, providing client liaison as well as project management for large projects.

There’s more on me in the About Us section of Live Istria (this site, covering life in Istria from an expat’s perspective).


I’m the local part of the team. After starting work as an Istrian tour rep in my 20s, I’ve worked in tourism and property management. For the last three years I’ve been working with Nicky and Phil running their rental business, Istria Cottages, and acting as their personal assistant, interfacing with Croatian bureaucracy on all aspects of their life here.

For Helping Hand, I’m the one doing most of the work! From my previous jobs and work with Istria Cottages, I have loads of experience helping foreigners. I’ve the language skills and experience of a wide range of Croatian agencies to handle the complex – and ever-changing! – administrative issues. For getting work done, I’ve a large pool of contacts and I’m used to managing workmen to ensure things are done to my exacting standards. Finally, I love helping people and getting things done. Istria’s beautiful, I want you to relax and enjoy yourselves here rather than waste precious time on frustrating practicalities. Leave those to me.


PhilMuch of what Nicky has already said is also true for me. I too am a Brit who came here over ten years ago. I provide the financial backbone for our rental business and prior to this, founded and ran P&N Communications with Nicky. For Helping Hand I’m again in charge of money matters, provide technical support and advice as needed based on over 20 years’ experience running small businesses.

I’m also covered in the About Us section.



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