Welfare and debt advice in Glasgow libraries proves an instant success
A scheme giving free debt and welfare advice in Glasgow libraries has generated £1.4m for the city residents.
Glasgow Life works in conjunction with Citizen’s Advice Scotland and other third sector partners to deliver the scheme across 11 city libraries.
Figures released today by Glasgow Life show 1,254 people across the city have gained £1,007,393 in benefits and £396,790 in debts have been managed.
Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Creating a welcoming, engaging hub at the heart of the community is paramount to our commitment to local residents.
"We know that the people of Glasgow truly value the key social, educational, economic and often life-changing services our community libraries provide.
“By utilising the city’s libraries to provide access to money advice outreach, I’m delighted that we have been able to support the most vulnerable people across our city to access the financial improvements they are entitled to.”
The work of libraries and money advisors is particularly important given the impact of reforms to the welfare system.
Research commissioned by the Scottish Parliament and published in 2016 highlights that by 2020/21 the impact of changes to the benefit system will result in the people of Glasgow suffering a loss of £167m a year, equivalent to £400 a year for every working age adult in the city.
The city is experiencing the greatest loses in Scotland under reforms.
With welfare claimants in Scotland set to lose further large sums, Glasgow Libraries customers are offered a helping hand to decipher the more than 50 benefits, allowances, credits, grants and payments available to people who meet the conditions of entitlement, within the UK benefits system.
The advisor...talked me through what I might be entitled to
Dave, who was given advice by he service after being made redundant, said: "My wife and I were struggling to make ends meet. I was so anxious about going along - I was basically going to have to tell a stranger about my whole life. But, the library atmosphere is so nice, you feel so calm when you come in.
“The advisor put me at ease, helped guide me through all the forms, and talked me through what I might be entitled to.
“I should’ve come to the library sooner; it would have made my life a lot easier.
"At the end of the day, I’ve worked all my life and this benefit is what I’m entitled to. Without this service in my local library I would never have known how to claim it."