Since April 2017, we have run a successful project called the Financial Inclusion and Capability Service which aims to lift people out of financial hardship, through the provision of information and advice at four, locality based, Alcohol & Drug Recovery Hubs in Edinburgh, and at Dalry Primary School. Specifically, the project aims to:
- Increase and improve people’s budgeting skills through money advice.
- Raise awareness of illegal money lending such as loan sharks and warn against the dangers of legal but unaffordable forms of credit such as payday loans.
- Provide information about access to bank accounts and other appropriate financial products such as credit unions.
- Explore savings opportunities.
The project was initially funded by Trading Standards Scotland but their funding is coming to an end in April 2018. Luckily, we have now received funding from NHS Lothian which enables us to continue our vital work.
Project Outcomes (Between April 2017 and March 2018)
- 242 individuals engaged with the Service.
- A total of 763 issues were dealt with.
- Representation was provided at 35 First-Tier Tribunals to help people with benefit appeals.
- £628,289 of client financial gain was achieved.
- A booklet with information on financial capability resources was produced, along with bi-monthly newsletters.
Here is some of the feedback we have received from key stakeholders:
“It is essential for us to have dedicated Financial Inclusion workers embedded in drug & alcohol services. Our client group is uniquely vulnerable to illegal lending as they are forced to access criminal networks for substances already. Although individuals we work with struggle to engage with mainstream financial help services, CHAI’s embedded Financial Inclusion & Capability Service has had great success engaging and helping our clients.” Team Leader, North-West Recovery Hub
“CHAI provide an invaluable service to our clients. The increasingly complex benefits system is confidently navigated by Joy and Sarah and the service helps to provide stability to the financial situation of our clients that could be exploited by unscrupulous money lenders.” Recovery Co-ordinator, South-East Recovery Hub
“The service provided by Joy and Sarah is second to none and has been an invaluable resource for our patients. They are very approachable and knowledgeable, allowing patients to apply for the correct benefits easily which alleviates high levels of anxiety surrounding benefits issues. It would be a great loss to our patients if funding for this service is lost.” Community Psychiatric Nurse at NHS South East Recovery Hub
“Having the support from CHAI in our school community is invaluable. Our school is about more than individual pupils; it’s about them and their families. We want our parents to be part of our learning community and support their child’s learning at home. This is difficult to do as a parent, if you are coping with stress and anxiety over adult worries such as housing and finance. CHAI is able to provide that extended family support which will benefit our pupils in the long run.” Family Engagement Worker, Dalry Primary School.
“An amazing service and staff are all helpful, respectful and non judgemental” Service User, Recovery Hub