We’ve outgrown our venue at 7 Douglas Street, and we’re moving to 31 Chapel Street, in with our partners Conduit Scotland. And aside from the logistics of moving and the practical aspects of sharing a space, we’re working hard to try and establish new agreements, based on strong principles of collaboration.
The Dunfermline Advice Hub has been more than just a venue – we offer a wide range of additional services, mainly being a central point of contact for information and signposting for the Dunfermline area. Our partners will be benefiting from not only a free venue, but improved access to new and untapped citizens in need of their services. However, up to this point, we’ve had a very casual approach to our stakeholders using the Hub – we’ve not had official service level agreements or partnership agreements. From our stakeholder activities over the years, the feedback from our stakeholders have been that they were reluctant to sign up for official agreements, as we’ve not charged for our venue, and our requirements have been more about collaboration instead of cash. So, in order to cultivate trust, we’ve had a casual arrangements where users of the Hub are given an induction and a user guide, and more recently, we’ve developed our Memo of Understanding (see blog post on the MoU development). This approach has been successful in some ways, where we’ve now worked with over 70 organisations across Fife, but there have been challenges, such as sustainability and capacity issues.
So where do we go from here? In our new venue, we hope to introduce a new User Agreement. In our cash-strapped climate these days, organisations and charities are working more with less, so we have to be innovative in what we can negotiate in return. We’re in the very privileged position that Conduit are offering fantastic accommodations for us for free, so we won’t be asking for money or physical resources for room hire. We want to share our excellent fortune, but as the Hub is much more than just a venue, we will be asking our stakeholders for asking for support in different ways – free awareness training, signposting to our service, sharing of our social media posts, opportunities to promote our service at events and staff meetings – there are lots different ways to contribute that don’t cost much, but mount up to a huge impact for all of us.
Collaboration and cooperation is our CORE. From our inception from the Dunfermline Poverty Action Group, to working with the Local Authority Support Team at Scottish Government, to our Partnership Project funded by Aspiring Communities, we have been trying new ways to challenge silo working, increase knowledge, confidence and skills in signposting, and to cultivate an ethos across organisations of “no wrong doors”. To help do this, we’ve planned three events – 18th Feb, 27th Feb, and 8th Mar, where we’ll be discussing with a wide range of our partners on how we create User Agreements that work for us both, and crucially, works to improve all our services to be better, serve our community better, and increase our mutual value and impact.
Did you know we’re moving?!
And we need your help!
We need some kids clothing stock shifted ASAP, so we’re giving away bags of clothing that we’ve got in excess FOR FREE!
Limited sizes available. A bag contains a mix up of clothing – tops, bottoms, skirts, dresses etc:
- 1 bag of 0-3 m boys clothes
- 10 bags of 3-6 m boys clothes
- 1 bag of 6-9 m boy clothes
- 2 bags of 6-9m girls clothes
- 1 bag 3-4 y girls
- 1 bag 4-5 y girl
- 2 bags of 7-8 y girls
- 1 bag 10-11y girls
- 1 Bag 12-14y Boys
We also have a mixed box of hats and gloves and another box of mixed leggings. All our clothing is donated by the community, so we ask that folks don’t take more than they need, and they don’t sell or profit from the clothing they get for free here. Share this with everyone and anyone! Someone might be in need that you don’t know about and discretion is assured!
We’ve got lots in store for January, so if you’re needing help or feeling the pinch after Christmas, pop in today to see what solutions are available for you!
It has been a long time coming! We are delighted to announce that we will be co-locating to Conduit Scotland at 31 Chapel Street, Dunfermline. This is wonderful news for the Dunfermline Community, as everyone will have access to a wide range of financial, social inclusion, advice and support services, all under one roof.
We hope that working closely with Conduit Scotland, we will be able to offer an even wider range of services, and be able to accommodate many more services, advice sessions, groups and events in a better venue. For more information, see the statement of intention below or contact Katie, Hub Coordinator, on 01383 432483.
Its been quick month, not quite as busy as last, but still seeing a lot of people needing help with food, clothing and applying UC. We’ve also started showing how many enquiries we’re getting from organisations/workers, enquiring for their clients.
We’re also gearing up for Christmas. There are lots of help available for Christmas gifts, meals and hampers for those in need, and lots of opportunities to help out too. We’ll also expect a spike of people attending the Kingdom Community Bank, and accessing their shares that they’ve saved up all year round.
Christmas can be a stress-filled time, especially for those on a low income. However, it also can bring out the best in people – we’re always inundated with requests for information Christmas provision, whether its to donate, volunteer or to pass on information to those in the community that need it.
We were busy again this month – we were quieter last month, but with the weather turning colder, and the school holidays, people are feeling the pinch more.
We’re also seeing a lot more people who are “NFA”, or no fixed abode. This covers a range of homeless situations – rough sleeping, sofa-surfing, hostel, etc. This might be due to a change in homelessness services in Dunfermline and the closure of the Home4Good centre at Segal House being one change. However, before this happened, we worked closely with Fife Council Housing and Frontline Fife (housing and homeless prevention charity) to ensure we knew exactly where to send people to that were needing help. We’re glad that we were able to be there for people experiencing this kind of crisis, and to help with a place to get signposting information, as well as a cuppa, warm, welcoming place to stay and be listened to.
We’ll continue to work closely with our stakeholders, partners and networks to help people navigate through their crisis and identify support that works for them. The Dunfermline Poverty Action Group is great example of one of the networks we’re actively involved with – we meet regularly with local organisations who have a remit in anti-poverty, and share experiences, good practice or coming up with solutions to issue that we know might affect our mutual clients.
If you would like more information on what the DPAG does, or would like find out how to join, please get in touch!
On the back of our successful Stakeholder events and report, we’re delighted to announce that a steering group has been formed!
One of the key themes that came out of the Stakeholder activities and report was that there was a lack of perceived ownership of the Hub. The organisations involved felt that they didn’t have a role in the management, development, or direction of the Hub. Furniture Plus Ltd, who have taken the lead on the Hub Project for the past three years, took the decision that a formal steering group would be more appropriate, and that decisions for the Hub should be made by the group.
So, in October, Fife Council and Furniture Plus reached out to all of our Stakeholders, inviting them to a public meeting, or to fill in a questionnaire, on how we, as a group, could get involved in the planning, delivery and development of the Hub in the future. From that meeting, we are pleased to welcome our new Steering Group:
- CHAIR: Gillian Taylor, Dunfermline Community Manager, Fife Council
- Derek Bottom, Chair of the Dunfermline Local Planning Partnership
- Geoff Cartwright, Chair of the Board of Furniture Plus Ltd
- Shirley Melville, Community Learning and Development Manager, Fife Council
- Kenny Murphy, CEO, Fife Voluntary Action
- Stephanie Plotnikoff, Contracts Manager, Conduit Scotland
- David Redpath, Business Development Manager, CARF
- Dianne Williamson, Senior Health Promotion Officer, NHS Fife
The group will be meeting in November, to discuss the immediate issues of our venue, and will continue to meet to work with the Hub and its stakeholders to develop and deliver an excellent service for the Dunfermline community.
For more information on the Steering Group and how to get involved, please get in touch with Katie Thomson, Advice and Information Coordinator, on 01383 432483.
It was a quiet month for us, and we also noticed lower numbers attending the Job Club and Credit Union sessions too. We’re not sure why this was, but we can only hope that we’re not required for crisis help, or that citizens are going to sources of help themselves. Either way, this is bonus for us, as we’d rather not be required at all!
For me, this month was really challenging. I attended Mental Health First Aid training, and this really helped me gain a greater understanding of mental health. The course was over two days, and the key thing I took away is that its okay to not have all the answers, but to be there, to listen and to empathise.
We’re also preparing for October, and working with F3 to support families who go hungry during the holidays. We work closely with F3, who refer to us, the clothing bank and our advice sessions providers, to offer further support and longer term solutions.
Our numbers increased this month, perhaps due to the schools going back, and the weather turning more autumnal. We saw a few more people requiring information, particularly about emergency food aid, benefits entitlement, and information about the Kingdom Credit Union.
One thing we didn’t make too much of a fuss of is that we celebrated our three year birthday! It doesn’t seem that long ago that we opened our doors, but we’re delighted to still be here to help anyone who needs it!
We also feel so privileged to have helped so many organisations. To date, we have worked with over 60 organisations across Fife and beyond, from venue hire, to organisational support, to just finding more about an agency, so that we can signpost the right people to them at the right time.
If you’d like more information about what we can do for your organisation, pop in to the Hub, call or email me and we’ll have a chat!