January was a busy month again, and we saw high numbers even from the first day we were open after the festive break. We put this down to a lot of services still being shut on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th. The most requested information was advice on Benefits, especially universal credit. Thankfully, in November, Welfare Support from Fife Council offered to hold sessions specifically to support those who needed help with setting up their claim, and helping them get to grips with the online journal.
The second most asked for topic was food aid, which we continue to see high numbers of people asking for help for. We’re working closely with the Foodbank on this, as its not acceptable that so many are reliant on food aid. We’re also working closely with a range of partners such as Cosy Kingdom, Citizens Advice & Rights Fife, Fife Council Welfare Support and Job Clubs, to get to the root cause of foodbank use, and help people to access further support to bring them out of crisis.
We’ve also improved on the information we collect. We’re now taking equalities information – postcodes, gender, family size and ethnicity, to further show the length and breadth of the people who access the Hub, and why. We’re also recording “underlying causes” – this helps us to evidence how and why people are falling into crisis, and not just the reason they’ve come here. For every person who attends the Hub, there is a story, and we want to be able to use their stories to make a better service for all.