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Funding Localised Support Where it’s Needed

THAW Orkney is one of several organisation awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s new Accessible Advice Fund.

THAW is working in collaboration with Orkney CAB (Citizen Advice Bureau) and also received funding from the British Gas Energy Trust to provide  emergency vouchers, energy efficiency measures, emergency heating systems, property assessments and money guidance.

The Scottish Government’s Accessible Advice Fund aims to particularly support those who are hard to reach or who have not sought help before. Throughout Scotland the localised support will be delivered by advice organisations working with local services such as schools, charities, hospitals and mental health services.

Scottish Government Housing Minister Paul McLennan said:

“The cost of living crisis is putting many households across Scotland under huge strain. Advice services play an increasingly critical role across Scotland’s communities by helping people to access support and benefits they may be entitled to, as well as helping them to understand their rights.

“This funding is part of more than £12.3 million that the Scottish Government is providing this year to support income maximisation, welfare and debt advice services. It will ensure we provide people with advice in places where they are more likely to already be, and we will focus particularly on reaching families.

“We know that early access to advice can make a dramatic difference to people’s financial situation and prevent issues – including debt – escalating.”

No Wrong Door

Many organisations in Orkney work effectively together. On a recent visit to the islands Emma Roddick Highlands and Islands SNP MSP met with Orkney Money Matters Development Manager, Chelsey Clare. The ‘No Wrong Door’ approach is delivering financial support and advice to those who need it whichever organisation they go to first for help.

Orkney Money Matters works with Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau, THAW Orkney and Orkney Blide Trust, as well as providing £100,000 worth of energy vouchers to be distributed by THAW Orkney.

Orkney Islands Council awarded Voluntary Action Orkney funding to develop the partnership project, Orkney Money Matters, which is aimed at improving access to advice and cash-based support for anybody worrying about money in Orkney. Funding was provided by OIC using part of its allocation of the Scottish Government’s Local Covid Economic Recovery (LACER) fund.

See also: Scotland’s Cash First Fund Opens for Applications

Commenting on her meeting with Chelsey Clare, Emma Roddick said: 

“I have always been inspired by how well the different third-sector organisations in the isles work together, and the ‘no wrong door’ approach is another excellent example. I know that for many it can be difficult to know where to go for support, and at times feel like you are going around the houses to access different advice or reaching a dead end and having to go right back to the beginning or tell your story to someone else. 

“By ensuring that those who are seeking help and support can do so at a number of places, and they can know they are getting the same advice as they would elsewhere, is vital in helping folk feel secure, taking away extra stress from an already difficult situation. 

“The supportive approach being taken here reflects the Scottish Government’s aims to help people get the support they need and are entitled to, removing judgement and avoiding gatekeeping.  There is so much expertise in the isles already, from the cash-first approach Orkney Charitable Trust has taken for many years to the organisations like THAW who have built up resources and skills in the intricacies of energy policy and fuel cost support.

Emma  on the right pictured with Chelsey on the left at Orkney Money Matters

Chelsey’s passion for and knowledge about what she does shines through, and I can’t wait to see how Orkney Money Matters progresses, working with the full breadth of organisations in Orkney already.  I hope that the project will continue to succeed and hopefully inspire others in island and rural communities.”

Advice links:

Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau 01856 875266 or emailing bureau@orkneycab.casonline.org.uk.

OIC A Helping Hand

Help during the cost of living crisis, Scottish Government one stop shop

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Fiona Grahame

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