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!
Stepping towards a better Dunfermline
Following on from our Stakeholders Report, we’ve been working with a short-term working group to develop and implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The STWG consists of representatives from:
- Citizens Advice & Rights Fife (David Redpath, Business Development Manager)
- Fife Centre for Equalities (Pat Greenhough, Engagement Officer)
- Frontline Fife (Ruth Young, Homelessness Prevention Team Leader)
- Furniture Plus (Debbie Finlayson, General Manager)
Why are we taking this approach, and what is an MoU? Firstly, we’re taking this approach because, from our Stakeholders Report, one of the key recommendations was to develop a more formal partnership agreements. However, there has been reluctance in the past to signing a formal agreement, so the short-term working group thought a MoU would assure stakeholders of our mutual values, and would be a stepping stone towards real partnership, cooperation and collaboration. The MoU would be an outline of higher-level principles of what the Hub is about, and communicate a mutual understanding for both organisations.
With thanks to the work of the short term working group, we’ve drafted this MoU, which will be adapted to include the names and contact details of key people within the organisations. Also the MoU includes principles and values based on the 2010 Equalities Act, and on cooperation and collaboration. This was communicated to all of our current Hub users (organisations who use the Hub, either for rooms, advice sessions, or as a referral point), and so far, 15 organisations have signed up.
If you would like more information about our MoU and the lessons we’ve learned in developing a culture of cooperation and collaboration in Dunfermline, please get in contact.
We saw again declining numbers accessing the Hub this month – perhaps reflective of the lovely weather we had! However, we know from our friends at F3 that this was their busiest year yet, and had to appeal for more donations to top up to ensure everyone got the help they needed throughout the summer holidays.
Everyone is finding things tough – but there are lots of community initiatives that are based on giving people a hand up, rather than a hand out. At the Hub, we have always tried to recognise that those in poverty have value, skills and something to contribute. We want to ensure that those who attend here are not seen as “cases”, but as people who have aspirations and skills, and we need to work together to bring out the best in each other as a community.
See our Full Report here or our Summary Report here
June was a little quieter than last month, and we saw a lower number of people needing fuel, food and clothing assistance. We’ve also been working to try and highlight recurring themes as to why people have to access crisis services, which has allowed us to see that benefit changes, delays and changes to circumstances have been the biggest reasons. For more on what we did in June, click on the Full Report below:
Summary Report Here:
Our volunteers are the life blood of everything we do here. And with Volunteer’s Week, we wanted to really show our appreciation for everything they do. We made up wee goody bags, showing just what our volunteers mean to us, and the invaluable contribution they make to the community in Dunfermline.
Our volunteers make all the difference here to our citizens. They’ve always got kind words, a smiling face and a warm welcome for everyone who comes to the Hub, and they make an excellent cuppa! They can also help with basic enquiries, provide essential phone numbers and help you get started on the computer. They are essential to our success and we’re blessed to have such a great team!
If you would like to get involved, contact Katie for more information
May has been our busiest month to date, and we’re seeing an increasing percentage of interactions for people asking for information. We still seeing a large number asking for help with emergency food aid, and the main underlying causes have been Low Income, and Benefit Problems or Delays. For more on what we did in May 2018, click on the reports below!