THE Angus and Dundee Citizen Advice Bureaux’ are celebrating their joint grant funding from the Big Lottery Fund totalling £794,643.
The money will go towards improving financial capability for those who have difficulties understanding how to manage their finances.
Budgeting, banking, borrowing and benefits will form the back-bone of their campaign with advice on all four being the main focus of the new service.
George Allan, head of Angus CAB said: “We aim to support some 6,000 people over five years and we see the project as becoming an active force in preventing people being caught up in the endless problems debt can bring.”
The project, called ADAPT (Avoid Debt - Act Positively Today) will involve many other partner agencies who will promote the programme and refer their own service users for the help and support the project will bring. He continued: “We made a preliminary application to the Big Lottery for funding for Angus, they liked the look of it and suggested we might consider a joint approach with Dundee.
“Our two organisations are used to working collaboratively with each other in other areas so we jumped at the idea”.
Mary Kinninmonth, Director of Dundee CAB is looking forward to the imminent recruitment of a Project Manager and four specialist Financial Capability Support Workers.
She said: “One of the things we have learned in CAB is that debt problems are likely to develop when there has been a life changing event, such as divorce, separation, unemployment or premature retirement, and people find they become entangled in debt and life becomes a crisis.
“It is our objective to bring competence in money management and both short and long term financial planning into people’s lives.
“Hopefully, this will empower people to circumvent potential problems and act preferably before or when these issues arise.”
In Angus alone an inordinate £6.3 million of debt was rescheduled by the Bureau’s money advice team in 2009/2010 and the CAB service generally believes that only positive preventative measures to reduce levels of spending will facilitate economic recovery for the individual.
Congratulating the CAB on their Big Lottery success Angus Council’s Social Work & Health Convener Alison Andrews said: “I am delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has recognised the important work carried out by Angus CAB and made such a significant grant to what is a very worthwhile cause.
“Angus CAB delivers a very valuable and professional service, and this funding will enable them to support local people develop money management skills throughout Angus.
“Angus Council has worked in partnership with CAB for many years to provide assistance to those in the county who are experiencing financial difficulties.
“This additional funding is particularly welcome as it will offer practical advice and support to local people to prevent them falling into difficulties at a time when many families are facing financial uncertainty and pressure.”
Associating himself with these remarks Dundee City Council administration leader Councillor Ken Guild said: “The CABx are to be congratulated on their success in winning this funding.
“Too many people get into difficulties because they don’t understand the hidden costs and potential pitfalls of many of today’s financial products.
“Many have difficulty budgeting for life’s expenses, while others are financially excluded because they often can’t get access to the savings and benefits which direct debits and on-line purchasing can bring.
“Prevention and early intervention have to be the keys to minimising the number of people falling into debt and poverty.
“A lack of financial awareness and capability have been problems for many people but this project will help them take back control of their finances and hopefully ease the pressure on hard-pressed crisis intervention services and projects across Dundee which are helping people who are already in difficulties.”
Alison Magee, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair said: “This award really illustrates what the Big Lottery Fund Scotland is all about, supporting those with the greatest needs to be able to play a full part in our society.
“We live in challenging times and our funding is not only a lifeline to a particular project but can make all the difference to the wider community”.
The ADAPT project is not a debt management project but is aimed at debt prevention by educating people to avoid debt and follow sound principles, particularly in relation to budgeting and where they borrow money ensuring they use a reputable lender.
“Both Bureaux are extremely pleased at the outcome from the Big Lottery Fund and are excited about the challenge they now face.