Cost of living clinics in our libraries
Citizens Advice outreach worker James McDonald says it’s not unusual for a queue of people to be waiting for him at Loanhead Library for his Monday drop-in clinic.
The clinic is among a number of advice sessions offered in the council’s libraries to support people during the cost of living crisis.
As well as Citizens Advice, which holds weekly drop-ins at Loanhead, Lasswade and Gorebridge libraries, Social Security Scotland, the government agency making sure those who need benefits get them, and the community-owned bank, Capital Credit Union have regular sessions in our libraries.
Benefitting local people
Council Leader Councillor Kelly Parry said: “This is a great example of partnership working for the benefit of local people.
“If you are already struggling to afford food or heat your home, the last thing you want to do is spend money travelling or using up valuable minutes on your phone trying to get help.
Getting local help quickly
“Joint initiatives like this mean people can get support and advice locally and quickly.”
New national report
This partnership approach is echoed across Scotland, according to a new report published by the local government Improvement Service.
Efficient and cost effective
Analysis in Advice Services in Accessible Settings concludes “local authorities are committed to offering innovative person-centred advice services, in many instances in partnership with others. If additional resources are available it would be most efficient and cost effective to use them to support, develop and replicate existing approaches that are working well.”
£5 million pounds
Manager Sue Peart at Midlothian Citizens Advice would agree. She says: Last year the volunteers and staff of the Midlothian Citizen Advice Bureaux achieved over five million pounds in financial gain for our clients and are committed to providing easy access to advice for all our communities.
Help and advice
James McDonald often finds six or seven people waiting for him. He helps them with everything from debt management to getting benefits.
£20,000 for pensioner
Thanks to his intervention, an old age pensioner with mental health problems was awarded more than £20,000 in unpaid pension and pension credit.
Get cost of living help