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Scotland’s third sector unites to call for Universal Credit roll out to be halted

Scotland’s third sector unites to call for Universal Credit roll out to be halted

Today One Parent Families Scotland has joined forces with twenty four charities and individuals to call for a halt to the accelerated roll out of Universal Credit in October.

Together these organisations represent a broad cross section of Scotland’s third sector, and offer services and support to those affected by the implementation of this new benefit.

Read the letter published in The Times today below and use #haltandfixUC on social media to show your support.

31st August 2017

Dear Sir,

The UK Government decided to phase the rollout of Universal Credit (UC) on a ‘test and learn’ basis, prior to an accelerated rollout beginning in October this year. This was a sensible approach to a very major change.

In five years UC will be claimed by over 650,000 households in Scotland. In principle, it is a good idea which should make life easier for both the claimant and the delivery agencies alike.

However, having seen how UC has worked so far, it is clear that it is leaving thousands of people struggling to make ends meet.

The flaws include a six week waiting period between a person’s claim and their initial payment.

Another issue is that UC is an entirely online system, yet our evidence is that many applicants don’t have access to computers or the skills to use them.

Together, we believe the Government must halt the rollout of the benefit so that these and other flaws can be fixed before they harm any more people. This will require serious changes, not just minor adjustments.

Fundamentally, we need a benefits system that supports those in need, and it is in that spirit that we are calling to halt and fix UC.

Yours faithfully,

Ewan Aitken, CEO, Cyrenians; Jackie Brock, CEO, Children in Scotland; Graeme Brown, Director, Shelter Scotland; Yvette Burgess, Director, Housing Support Enabling Unit; Claire Cairns, Network Co-ordinator, Coalition of Carers in Scotland; Annie Gunner Logan, Director, Coalition of Care and Support Providers; Neil Henery, Director, Camphill Scotland; Delia Henry, Chair, Disability Agenda Scotland; Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance; Jamie Livingstone, Director, Oxfam Scotland; Rory Mair, Chair, Citizens Advice Scotland; Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Marie Curie Scotland; Robin McAlpine, Director, Common Weal; Suzanne Munday, CEO, Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project; Satwat Rehman, Director, One Parent Families Scotland; Emma Ritch, Executive Director, Engender; Pete Ritchie, Director, Nourish Scotland; Bill Scott, Director of Policy, Inclusion Scotland; Theresa Shearer, CEO, ENABLE Scotland; Martin Sime, CEO, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; Sally Thomas, CEO, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations; George Valiotis, CEO, HIV Scotland; Dr David Webster, Glasgow University; Meg Wright, Director, Carers Trust Scotland; Gavin Yates, CEO, Homeless Action Scotland.

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Supporting practitioners to support single parents

Supporting practitioners to support single parents

Practitioners working with single parents can now call a new Practitioners’ Freephone Advice Line on financial inclusion issues that affect single parents.

Funded by Comic Relief the service includes a free helpline, email service, case referral service, single parent awareness seminars and practice forums. The service also provides representation at various tribunals and courts.

Practitioners’ information sharing groups are held every two months where anyone working with single parents can come along and network with other advisers.

Single parent awareness training at a location to suit your needs can also be arranged.

We welcome enquiries from advisers at all levels and experience.

Call free on 0808 801 0323 between 9:30am-3:30pm (Tues-Thurs) or email Anne Baldock.

Practitioners_Advice_Line_Poster

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School Clothing Grants

School Clothing Grants

A big thank-you to the 343 parents throughout Scotland that completed the School Clothing Grant Campaign survey about school clothing grants, and cost of uniforms. OPFS are running this campaign in partnership with CPAG and Poverty Truth Commission. Key results were;

  • 83% of parents have found it difficult to afford all the uniform requirements at least once
  • Over 1/3 of single parent families find it difficult to afford uniform most years, compared to 1/5 of two parent families
  • Over half (58%) of parents had to borrow money to buy school uniforms
  • ¼ were unable to buy full uniform
  • 1/5 of parents were late paying rent or other essential payment to pay for uniform
  • 1/4 of parents don’t apply or know if eligible for school clothing grant
  • More than ¾ of parents are spending more on Secondary school
  • 3/4 of parents have experienced pressure from additional costs
  • More than 4/5 don’t think the school grant amount for their area is sufficient.
  • 9/10 believe that a higher clothing grant should be given to secondary school pupils

All pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 are automatically entitled to free school meals. Even if you are in paid work you might be entitled to a clothing grant and/or free school meals for your school children, check entitlement and apply online via your local authorities website.

Look out for the full report and updates of how the School Clothing Grant Campaign progress in future newsletters and updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cranhill, Glasgow Community Information Hub

Cranhill, Glasgow Community Information Hub

Our Cranhill Single Parent Community Outreach Hub provides support, advice and information to support you if you are thinking about or would like to enter training, education or employment.

One of our staff team will arrange to meet with you at a time and place that suits you, to share information and discuss activities and resources that will help you to take up opportunities that suit you and your family’s needs:

  • Training
  • Peer Support
  • Advice & Guidance
  • Small material grants
  • Childcare
  • Confidence Building
  • Work Preparation
  • Welfare Rights
  • Money & Debt Advice
  • Access to local resources and services

Areas covered include Cranhill, Riddrie and surrounding neighbourhoods, every Monday, 10 am – 12 noon.

Travel Fares Reimbursed (keep a hold of your ticket), Refreshments provided, Creche provision (please book a place).

Email Sarah or Elaine, or call 0141 847 0444 or 07789 866 113 for more information.

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Glasgow Single Parent Employability Support

Glasgow Single Parent Employability Support

OPFS Glasgow provides support, advice and information to support single parents who are thinking about or would like to enter training, education or employment. One of our staff team will arrange to meet you at a time and place that suits you to share information and discuss activities and resources that will help you to take up opportunities that suit you and your family’s needs:

  • Training
  • Peer Support
  • Advice & Guidance
  • Small material grants
  • Childcare
  • Confidence Building
  • Work Preparation
  • Welfare Rights
  • Money & Debt Advice
  • Access to local resources and services

Available Monday to Friday between 9.00am – 5.00pm

Email: Elaine Thackeray, Lee Anthony and Sarah Cawley or call on 0141 847 0444.

 

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Dads R Us Hub

Dads R Us Hub

Our Cumbernauld Dads R Us Hub is going from strength to strength.
The Wednesday Hub session includes information on health and wellbeing, family finances, welfare reforms, parenting and the opportunity for the dads to meet other dads for general conversations and pick up some hints and tips on parenting alone.

One to One support outwith the Hub is also provided. Our mentors have been single parents and are aware of the issues and barriers many single dads are face. Single dads taking part have informed us this is an invaluable part of the service. The dads have been supported with housing, legal, hardship and several other matters that have been affecting their lives.

The award of £1200 from the Scottish Government Participatory Budget programme which was hosted by Cornerstone House has been well spent over the holidays by providing the dads and their children with fantastic days out where all the families have had the opportunity to be out and about and take part in numerous activities. Memories and photos from these days out will be collated in a personal memory book for the families, which they themselves will work on.

Crèche, transport costs and light refreshments are provided for all families

  • Every Wednesday 12 pm-2 pm, Cornerstone House, Cumbernauld
  • Dads R Us Family nights, new evening sessions TBA
  • Weekend monthly family activities – various locations

Contact Margaret McTaggart on 07751529034

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Glasgow Single Parent Information Hub

Glasgow Single Parent Information Hub

Our City Centre Single Parent Information Hub provides support, advice and information to support you if you are thinking about or would like to enter training, education or employment.

One of our staff team will arrange to meet with you at a time and place that suits you, to share information and discuss activities and resources that will help you to take up opportunities that suit you and your family’s needs:

  • Training
  • Peer Support
  • Advice & Guidance
  • Small material grants
  • Childcare
  • Confidence Building
  • Work Preparation
  • Welfare Rights
  • Money & Debt Advice
  • Access to local resources and services

Tuesdays, 10am – 12 noon, email or call 0141 847 0444 for more details 

Travel Fares Reimbursed (keep your ticket) & Refreshments provided

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NEW: Get Advice on Facebook

NEW: Get Advice on Facebook

From 22 August until 1st September, we are offering a new Facebook advice service. You can send a Personal Message to us and an adviser will get straight back to you with confidential advice.

You can contact us for advice on a variety subjects and single parent issues. An adviser will be online between 9.30 am – 4:00 pm during this trial period.

 PM us!

facebook logo

 

See our Factsheets for single parents

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First Steps Project Glasgow

First Steps Project Glasgow

New First Steps Project

Are you a young parent aged between 16 – 24, and live in Maryhill or Canal area of Glasgow? Contact Marissa and Marie by email or telephone 0141 847 0444 if you would like further information.

Download First Steps Leaflet

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2017/18 Training Programme for Professionals

2017/18 Training Programme for Professionals

We’ve just announced more dates for our 2017/18 training programme for professionals working with single parents. Courses are booking now at a cost of £25 per session.  All courses will be held at our office at 100 Wellington Street, Glasgow.

There are three half-day courses available:

  • Universal Credit
  • Child Maintenance Service
  • Conditionality and Sanctions

Universal Credit

Updated for 2017/18, this course is aimed at professionals who want to understand how Universal Credit will affect the single parent families they work with.

This course covers:

  • Timetable for continuing rollout
  • The application process
  • The individual elements that make up Universal Credit
  • How the calculation works
  • Sanctions and Hardship payments

Basic benefit knowledge is necessary to get the most out of the session.

Glasgow dates:

Child Maintenance Service

With Child Support Agency cases being closed, parents will have to make a decision whether to opt for a family-based arrangement or use the statutory Child Maintenance Service for which there is a charge. This course will help professionals understand how the system works and prepare parents for the choices they will have to make.

This half day course covers:

  • The mandatory gateway
  • Charging for parents with care and non-resident parents
  • How child maintenance is calculated
  • Updating of maintenance assessments
  • Shared care arrangements

Glasgow dates:

Conditionality and Sanctions

Single parents are subject to conditionality once their youngest child is one year old.  This means they have tasks to perform in order to claim and remain entitled to benefits.

This course explains the pitfalls and how to avoid them by looking at:

  • The benefit claiming process
  • The Claimant commitment
  • Sanctions and Hardship payments

Basic benefit knowledge is necessary to get the most out of the session.

Glasgow dates:

In-house training – we can come to you

  • Need to know how universal credit will affect single parents in Scotland?
  • Are conditionality and sanctions making life increasingly difficult for your clients?
  • Would receiving child maintenance make a positive impact on the single parent families you work with?
  • Would you or your staff benefit from training on these issues?

OPFS can deliver training on universal credit, conditionality and sanctions and child maintenance to you and your colleagues in your own workplace, cutting out costly travel expenses and valuable time out of the office.

If you are interested in having us come to you please contact our training delivery coordinator Nicky Sugden on 0131 556 3899 or email for more information.

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Registered as: One Parent Families Scotland, a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered at Edinburgh under number 094860. Scottish Charity Number SC006403