Current Projects 2016-17
Power Of Attorney Month
During November MFIN will be able to link people with local solicitors who can help set up a Power of Attorney through the Legal Aid Scheme. Also some solicitors have generously agreed to offer discounts to those who don’t qualify for Legal Aid and in some cases may even be able to waive their fee. The full cost of setting up a Power of Attorney is normally around £380 so anyone interested in granting Power of Attorney can benefit from significant savings during the awareness month.
Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives someone you trust powers to act on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, for example if you were to become effected by dementia, or if due to physical difficulties you need help to manage your financial affairs.
MFIN will also produce a Local Guide to Power of Attorney and this will include ideas for how to broach the subject with family members. The guide can be found on our Useful Resources page.
For more information about the project, please contact Penny at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Midlothian Fuel Bank
Funding will be used to supply emergency utility payments to eligible residents in crisis. This will reduce the need for people to choose between ‘heating or eating’, and provide warmth in homes over the cold winter period.
The Fuel Bank trial will begin in December 2016.
Better Banking, 2015-16
The focal point of our Better Banking project was an informational leaflet, outlining the new basic bank accounts which were introduced by high street banks in response to recent UK Government legislation. This leaflet has was circulated to a range of organisations and premises in Midlothian, e.g. through MFIN and Welfare Rights meetings.
The project also allowed us to map cash machine availability through ALISS. Whilst this was primarily used to identify local gaps, we’ve also promoted it as a resource for local support organisations.
We spoke to directly to the high street banks for the first time in our organisation’s history. RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, and Clydesdale each answered our questions on financial inclusion and access to basic bank accounts.
The project also prompted fresh engagement with Credit Unions. Castle Community Bank (CCB), an amalgamation of 3 Edinburgh-based credit unions are modernising and seeking to expand across Midlothian. Following an organised presentation by CCB at the 3 March MFIN meeting. Because the bank is actively seeking to support financially excluded people, it is interested in certain features of our research, such as availability of cash locally.
Better Banking was funded by the SCVO Community Capacity and Resilience Fund.
The Midlothian Area Resource Coordination for Hardship (MARCH) Project, 2013-15
At the start of the 2013-2014 financial year MFIN worked together with Midlothian Council, Changeworks and other local organisations in a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund. Three new posts were created from the £200,000 award during the year under the MARCH Plan, including a Hardship Coordinator employed by MFIN. The project was then successful in securing additional funding from the Scottish Government’s HWRDF for 2014-2015 to mitigate the impact of Welfare Reform on health inequalities.
In year two of the project, 416 bus tickets were allocated to 73 individuals in hardship and 1013 tickets to 10 support agencies across Midlothian. These enabled people in crisis to travel to important meetings and receive support. The Hardship Coordinator also managed 134 hardship referrals and enquiries to and from organisations; and contributed towards a Community Cafe Guidebook in partnership with The Kabin, and Midlothian Food and Health Alliance.
The project was funded by Big Lottery, and delivered in partnership with Midlothian Council and Changeworks.
The MARCH Project ran until October 2015, and information from the project is available on our ‘Useful Resources’ page.
Digital Support Hub at Gorebridge Library, 2014-15
The Digital Support Hub project at Gorebridge Library took place from January to September 2015, under the oversight of MFIN’s Project Officer. The project’s main focus is was helping users’ access government services online, jobsearching and using the internet to aid social inclusion and employability. Improvements were made in the library to increase privacy and accessibility in the IT area.
The project was delivered in partnership with Midlothian Council and Volunteer Midlothian, and funded by Scottish Government’s Welfare Reform Resilience Fund.