£2.4 million funding to help families deal with debt
Community projects which will help vulnerable families deal with debt and welfare problems are to benefit from a £2.4 million funding boost. The money will see 16 projects receive significant funding through the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s ‘Tackling Money Worries’ programme.
Local independent advice agency Granton Information Centre is a partner in two Edinburgh initiatives – with Stepping Stones and Changeworks in Canny Families, which provides help to young families and expectant mothers in North Edinburgh, and the Family Friendly Money Advice project in Leith, a collaboration with NHS Lothian, Citadel Youth Centre, Dr Bell’s Family Centre, the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Community Food.
See below for the full Tackling Money Worries project list
‘Tackling Money Worries’ support will be focused on low-income families facing a change in their circumstances, as this places them at higher risk of debt and money problems. Among the projects are:
• Eight projects focusing on the birth of a child and early years;
• Two projects focusing on changes to family structure; for example, when a relationship breakdown occurs;
• Six projects focusing on the impact of going through the criminal justice system, including families where someone is in prison or about to leave prison.
There will be direct advice and help for families to deal with crisis debt issues, as well as help with building on their money-management skills to support family life throughout their early years and childhood.
The TMW programme will bring together quality debt advice providers and agencies that are already trusted by families in their community. It will also build lasting and effective connections that will benefit families in the longer-term.
The funding of these projects has been made possible by Scottish Government approval for SLAB to spend up to £2.4m between October 2014 and the end of September 2016 on initiatives related to the Child Poverty Strategy.
This is on top of Scottish Government funds which, in combination with funding from the Money Advice Service, are already supporting 92 grant funded projects.
These programmes were due to end in March 2015, but both funders now intend continuing this funding partnership beyond that date. This would enable extension of help for people on low income in Scotland across a longer period.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “In the past week we have seen the publication of a report that laid bare the extent of child poverty in Scotland. This is a totally unacceptable situation in a country as wealthy as ours.
“It is vital that the most vulnerable members of our society are provided with the help and support that they need, at the times in their life when they need it most. The Tackling Money Worries programme will help 16 projects across Scotland deliver this support through a £2.4 million investment.
“We know that the UK Government’s benefit reforms are driving people into poverty and that is why we are investing £81 million in the next financial year to help mitigate the effects of these changes.
“This help is vital but I am clear that we must also work to address the underlying issues of poverty in our society. That is why we have set out the need for Scotland to have full responsibility over welfare and employment powers to the Smith Commission.”
Dr Lindsay Montgomery, Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Aid Board said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of this new programme of projects. The projects will play an important role in helping find long-term solutions for low-income families struggling with financial difficulties by dealing with their underlying debts.
“They will provide support to some of the hardest to reach families in Scotland who are most at risk of facing complex financial problems. We appreciate the financial support from the Scottish Government for this programme of grants.”