Charity’s £200k helpline cash


Scottish Government cash will help One Parent Families Scotland keep its helpline operational.

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18th February 2016 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

A charity has been given £212,000 from the Scottish Government to run its helpline.

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) received the money to run the line, which provides advice on money, welfare rights and child maintenance changes.

Since April 2015 the helpline has dealt with 2,883 enquiries with over 4,000 calls expected to be received by the end of March 2016.

The £212,000 for OPFS is part of the £2.5 million package of support for advice services confirmed in the Scottish Government’s 2016-17 draft budget.

Single parents are among the hardest hit by the UK government’s continued austerity agenda

Welfare minister Margaret Burgess announced details of the funding on a visit to the OPFS Families’ House in Dundee.

The project offers flexible childcare to families in the area as well as outreach crèches and family support, benefits and money advice to single parents.

She said: “Single parents are among the hardest hit by the UK government’s continued austerity agenda, with household budgets under increasing pressure. Making sure lone parents are aware of the child maintenance and benefits they are entitled to is crucial.

“Our £2.5m funding for advice services like One Parent Families Scotland is mitigating the impact of UK government cuts by helping single mothers and fathers manage their bills and giving them advice on childcare.

“The OPFS helpline is making it even easier for parents to get the help they need and preventing more families from being pushed into poverty as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.”

Satwat Rehman, director of OPFS, said: “We very much welcome Scottish Government funding for our unique Lone Parent Helpline which provides specialist online information, freephone advice and training for practitioners across Scotland.

“Single Parents have told our advisors that they are worried about benefit sanctions, debt, home repossession, redundancy and the impact of austerity on the lives of their children.
“We never underestimate the value and importance of a listening ear. Our Advisors are the person at the end of the phone who is empathetic and understanding. Our motto is: Information and emotional support go hand in hand.”

19th February 2016 by Catherine

I find this a very interesting development. Well done to One Parent Families Scotland on securing funds for a type of service that's almost impossible to find funding for.Back in 2011, working for a mental health charity, trying to maintain a 4 day a week telephone helpline which ran 4 hours a day was a real struggle. We not only provided telephone support, but offered 24/7 email support and measuring impact and evaluating this type of service is particularly challenging. Anonymity, lack of data (about the individual), one-off contacts (meaning you never really knew what happened to this person after the call/email) meant we had to be quite creative in gaining feedback about the service.Nonetheless, it was seen as a 'lifeline' for people experiencing depression, their friends and families etc. the then head of the Mental Health Division at the Scottish Government had no real interest in this service; it was mostly about numbers rather than 'what difference are you making'. Speaking to others running helplines, it was a similar experience and one that continued to be challenging. The helpline service eventually died.......and so a lot of people requiring support and help lost out.