Two Fife organisations have teamed up to provide help and advice to those experiencing difficulties due to welfare reform.
DAPL, based in Leven, and Frontline Fife, which provides services all across the Kingdom, have joined forces to provide a welfare reform pop-up clinic every two weeks.
Ann McManus from Frontline is leading the new Wise2Welfare service and will be on hand at DAPL’s Leven premises next to King George V park, to provide advice and support to anyone who is suffering because of the reforms.
And thanks to the Fife Advice Partnership, which involves a number of agencies from across the Kingdom, including Citizens Advice & Rights Fife, Fife Law Centre, Fife Migrants Forum and Fife Council, anyone who is need of support will have a wealth of help at their disposal.
The whole scheme has been made possible thanks to funding from the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) and DAPL is the first organisation in Fife to link with the scheme to provide this help.
Susan Innes, senior counsellor, said they were having to provide more and more of this kind of advice.
She said: “In DAPL, not only do we provide therapy, but over the years, we’ve found ourselves having to sort out people’s benefits because maybe they don’t have credit on their phone, or housing issues, for example, and all of that takes away from the time we can give them for the therapy.
“So, through my involvement with Fife on Recovery, a round-robin email came out about Wise2Welfare through the Alcohol Development Partnership, and we asked Ann and her colleague Rebecca to come and do a presentation.
“Afterwards, we thought it would be a good idea to offer this pop-up clinic, not just for DAPL clients, but for the whole community.”
Ann explained what help people will receive: “This scheme was set up to counter-act the problems with welfare reform and, because it’s partnership-based, people will be referred to me, or can refer themselves for example if they have rent arrears, or if they had debt problems due to welfare reforms and sanctions on their benefits, or just to clarify that they’re actually receiving the right benefit.
“This scheme is ideally for people who have complex issues, who need more than one agency to help them.
“Maybe they need benefit advice and housing advice, or they need money advice and housing advice – I have a team of housing advice workers who work with Frontline Fife and two workers from CARF (Citizens Advice & Rights Fife) who are part of my team.
“It’s like a spiderweb – I’m in the middle, the referrals come in and then I put them out to the relevant people.
“But I always hold the case, so the client has my number and can contact me directly if there are any issues.”
The next pop-up clinic takes place on April 30 from noon to 2.00 p.m. and continues every fortnight.
If you would like more information, call Ann on 01334 659391, email on firstname.lastname@example.org or drop into see her at Leven Home4Good on Commercial Street, Leven.