A new community hub to deal with the huge number of issues arising from the Government’s new welfare reforms could soon start up in Kirkcaldy town centre.
Councillors decided last week that, in addition to the need for almost £200,000 to tackle some of the problems, there was a need for a central facility where people could go for help and advice.
And, with the Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) operating from the former social work premises owned by the Council, at 15 Wemyssfield, and Fife Voluntary Action drawing up plans to move in, the next step could be to bring similar organisations under the one roof.
Councillors discussed the need for funding of £191,312 from the Council’s welfare reform budget to help support families at a meeting of the Kirkcaldy area committee last week.
Fife Council has set aside £5.4 million to tackle the impact across Fife, and, as well as covering administration costs, £1 million will go to develop support plans through a Welfare Reform Action Plan (WRAP).
Councillor Neil Crooks, committee chairman, said: “We’re asking for £190,000 for Kirkcaldy to help us take preventative measures in the area. It isn’t just a hand out, it will be used locally to assist with fighting back against poverty.
“We plan to link services together and offer people access to online facilities with the support to use them. There will be employability support, including short courses aimed at young adults, job club support and community based adult learning.”
Other possible projects include: money advice; cash support for low income job seekers and support for IT access and training.
Councillor David Ross, council leader, added: “We have to be able to assist people when they face a crisis, are particularly vulnerable or in need of help. But it’s just as important to try to address the causes of poverty in our communities.
“In the long run, this investment will benefit everyone in Fife, reduce the need for welfare payments and things like food banks. In the meantime, we have to ensure everyone has access to the advice and support they need, particularly when they’re being hit by the worst aspects of the reforms such as bedroom tax.”