In response to our research, EFP developed partnerships with support agencies who could offer professional and skilled staff, to deliver ‘in kind’ drop-in sessions within the food bank centres. The support is completely optional when visiting a foodbank.
The agencies we have include Salvation Army, Changeworks, The Action Group, Big issue, Support in Mind, City of Edinburgh Council – Family and Household Support, Home Energy Scotland, Y People and SACRO.
Lorraine Duncan – Salvation Army Employment Development Coordinator.
“I first engaged with Ms Jones and her brother who were attending the foodbank following a referral..
In the first instance I introduced myself and told them of the services The Salvation Army offered. We had a coffee and a chat while they waited on their food parcel, and they advised me that due to both having worked their whole lives, they had private pensions, meaning they were ineligible for income based benefits, and were struggling financially. We agreed I would meet them in their own home to discuss options moving forward, and how The Salvation Army could assist. It was established that both met the eligibility criteria to apply for social health benefits of Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance respectively. We completed these applications, and both are awaiting face to face assessments to identify whether or not they are able to access the financial support these benefits would provide. It was also identified that by not being on eligible benefits, there is an ongoing requirement for them to pay council tax, and that there are historical arrears within the household which they are unable to afford. Mr and Ms Jones have now also engaged with The Salvation Army’s Debt Advice Service, and their coordinator has now taken on the task of dealing with their creditors in a bid to reduce the household expenditure and release income to meet their daily living needs. We have also assisted in accessing Winter Fuel payments for the household. This is a typical case of two hard working individuals who in their later life are unable to survive on their current income. Had they not been prepared and diligent in ensuring they had pensions in place, they would have been able to access state benefits and the benefits attached to them (eg. Free dental care, housing support, and council tax relief), but now feel that they are being punished in the latter stages of their life. We are still awaiting decisions on benefits, however both Mr and Ms Jones are clearly relieved to be accessing support that they were unaware of, and are assured that everything is being done in their best interests and to alleviate the pressure they are under, with a view to improving their quality of life.”
Please note client names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.