The new service is funded by £3.3m by the Scottish Government over the next two years, and is launched today in Dumfries. Initially the service will be available by telephone (0800 085 7145), but CABs across Scotland will also be offering a face-to-face version by January 2019.
The financial health check involves a short confidential interview with a CAB adviser and is available free to anyone who asks for it, or any CAB client whose adviser feels might benefit from it.
Launching the service in Dumfries today, Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell says,
“Research has shown that around half a million Scots are not claiming all the support they are entitled to. That means families are struggling to heat their homes or put food on the table while missing out on financial assistance that could make a crucial difference. This service is all about identifying those people and linking them up with the grants, benefits or support that they need.
“The CAB service already does work every day to help people who are struggling, but it is an ongoing battle to make sure we are reaching all the people who need this support, so the funding we have received for this new service is extremely welcome and will allow us to offer this crucial help to thousands more people who could benefit from it.”
Sue Irving, Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service, says:
“We are delighted to be launching the service here at Dumfries. It will be available at CABs across Scotland in the new year but we are launching the telephone version of it here today, so anyone in Dumfries & Galloway or across the country can access it now.
“I know a lot of people are concerned about their finances in the run-up to Christmas, so we would encourage them to call the number 0800 085 7145 and make sure they are getting all the support they are entitled to.”
The initiative is available to anyone who wants it, but there are certain target groups who are encouraged in particular to contact the service. These include:-
• Lone parent families
• Families which include a disabled adult or child
• Larger families
• Minority ethnic families
• Families with a child under one year old
• Families where the mother is under 25 years of age
• Older people and those approaching pension age