New Dalkeith CAB touchscreen installed at trust premises

Dalkeith CAB touchscreen

A new, easy-to-use touch screen offering local people up-to-date information and confidential advice on a range of support services has been unveiled at Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust (MAEDT) pantry.

Getting help quicker

The screen, the first of two available in local communities, directs people to help from, among other organisations, Midlothian Council, the Scottish Welfare Fund, Women’s Aid, VOCAL, and Dalkeith Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). 

Struggling with demand

Speaking at the launch, Dalkeith CAB Bureau Manager Julie Podet, whose team designed the content, said: “We hope this will enable more people to get the help they need, quickly.

Supporting frontline work

“We have been struggling to keep up with the demand for our services, and hope if VERA – which stands for Virtual, Expert, Remote Advice - is a success, we can introduce it in other areas of the community to support our frontline work.”

Cost of living crisis

Julie said the ongoing cost of living crisis and legacy of Covid have led to a year-on-year increase in people contacting Dalkeith CAB for help. 

15% increase in enquiries

In 2023, almost 15% more people required help with benefits, debt, housing, employment, home energy, emergency food and other issues than in the previous year. 

Putting £4 million back into the local economy

She said: “We put over £4 million back into the local economy via assisting clients to maximise their income and renegotiate their debts.”

Scottish Government funding

Dalkeith CAB successfully applied for £8,423 for the screens from the Scottish Government’s Place-Based Investment fund. 

Community-led projects

Administered by Midlothian Council, the fund supports community-led projects that align to priorities identified in local Neighbourhood Plans.

Six organisations funded

Midlothian Council Leader, Councillor Kelly Parry said: “The VERA screens are among six projects to benefit from £370,000 of Place-Based Funding. 

Signposting to supports

“We think the screen will be a huge help in signposting people to the supports they need, especially during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Hub of the community

“And having it here, in the MAEDT pantry, is the perfect spot given the number of people who come through the door daily. It really is an essential hub of the community.”

Staff training

Staff at MAEDT will be trained in using VERA to help clients with limited digital skills and be able to give basic support and assistance with signposting to help from other organisations.

Positive partnerships

MAEDT Manager Sharon Hill said: “Our weekly CAB clinic is busy so we are delighted to have VERA with us to offer further options of support to clients. This really highlights the positives of partnership working between agencies to benefit the local community.”

Applications opening soon

Applications will be opening soon for the Place-Based Investment Fund, details of which you will find on our grants page.

Other successful applicants

The Energy Training Academy, One Dalkeith, The Steading, Rosewell, Dalkeith CAB, Loanhead and Danderhall Libraries Lend & Mend Hubs all benefitted from funding. The funding was also used to contribute to the electric library bus. 

In the picture

In the picture from left to right are: MAEDT Manager Sharon Hill, Midlothian Council Leader Councillor Kelly Parry, John Doyle, who is on the board of the Dalkeith CAB, Poverty and Crisis Adviser with Dalkeith CAB Izabela Adamowicz and Dalkeith CAB Bureau Manager Julie Podet 

20 Apr 2024