Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has thrown her support behind the Citizens Advice Bureau in their attempts to raise awareness of the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF). The voluntary organisation held an awareness week last week to ensure that advisors felt confident in helping any vulnerable clients apply, after it was revealed that half of the fund was going unclaimed.
As a result of changes to the social fund scheme, from the 1stApril this year crisis loans for living expenses and community care grants stopped. They were replaced by the SWF which is delivered by local councils and provides two types of grant; crisis grants, which provide a safety net in the event of a disaster or emergency, and community care grants which help people to live independently.
After surveying advisors and finding that around two-thirds felt that more training on the SWF would be beneficial, the awareness week helped advisors gain a deeper understanding of the details of the fund by providing information booklets explaining the fund and the different options available to people in crisis. The UK Governments welfare reforms and the complex issues surrounding it mean that advice is in high demand.
Ms McTaggart said “I would like to pay tribute to everybody at the Glasgow Citizens Advice Bureau for putting this awareness week together, and especially Lynn Pilkington who I know went to great lengths to ensure that the information being given to advisors was as clear and engaging as possible.
The Citizens Advice Bureau does some incredible work in helping often the most vulnerable people in society and as a voluntary advice service, the people who dedicate their time and effort to helping others have my deepest respect. I hope that with the success of the awareness week, more people will be able to access the SWF which is providing real help to people suffering from the coalition’s draconian welfare reforms.”
The Glasgow Central Citizens Advice Bureau has an email advice service which can be accessed here:
Find out more information on the SWF here: