Glen Oaks team offers helping hand to families ‘starting out’
A trail-blazing community project from Glen Oaks Housing Association aimed at helping people is proving a big success.
Glen Oaks’ “Starting Out” initiative is providing a helping hand to people living in areas of Glasgow’s south side where it has its homes ranging from welfare rights help to information technology advice.
The Starting Out project has been generously funded by grants from two sources - £160,000 from the Big Lottery Scotland and £40,000 from the Scottish Government’s “People and Communities” Fund.
The project has a number of objectives:
Information Technology - Advising on using computers and smartphones to completing forms and getting online
Welfare Rights – Applying for grants and benefits which some people may not know they are entitled to
Energy Efficiency – Checking if people can save money on energy bills and whether they are on the right tariff
Debt and Money Advice – Offering the chance to get free of debt, into savings plans and help with budgeting
Support from External Agencies – Assisting in making referrals for additional support such as home help services.
Much of this help has always been on offer from the housing association but the funding has allowed its services to be expanded with a renewed focus on helping people keep their tenancies.
Alasdair McKee, chief executive of Glen Oaks, said: “The Starting Out project allows us to offer a helping hand to the community in a greater way than has been done before. Housing associations do so much more than simply collecting the rent. This is a shining example of that kind of work.
“We’re very excited to be able to deliver this level of help thanks to the generous funding we have received from Big Lottery Scotland and the Scottish Government.
“Of particular note is the work we are doing on information technology and the drive to get more people online. We are also able to help absolute beginners who need advice with a smartphone or computer to people wanting to search for jobs or apply for benefits online. This is an important aspect of the project to ensure an increase in digital inclusion within our communities.”
Glen Oaks already has a highly advanced computer suite and this has been used for drop-in sessions.
Two new members of staff - Stephanie Shipley and Steven Morrison – have been recruited to the Starting Out project and both have a strong background in I.T. bringing expert advice to anyone to needs it.