Mary* is a 25-year-old woman with a 6-month-old baby. She works part-time in a low paid job and her husband, who has health issues, takes care of their daughter. They are both Romanian with limited English language skills. The family found themselves homeless and were placed in Bed and Breakfast accommodation with only a kettle for cooking facilities. When they came to the Community One Stop Shop for help, they had been in this accommodation for 5 months and were relying on foodbank support.
We arranged for a Romanian interpreter to be present during appointments and contacted the Council on their behalf. Although sympathetic, they were unwilling to commit to any changes to the family’s circumstances. We then contacted and worked closely with our local MSP and between us were able to secure a permanent tenancy for the family, and worked closely with the Scottish Welfare Fund to provide some furniture and other items for their new flat. We also arranged an appointment at the Jobcentre with an interpreter to put benefits that they were entitled to in place, including Child Benefit, Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. Life is now more secure for Mary and her family, and they are able to live with dignity in their own home.
Susan* (67) came to COSS after she had been made redundant from her previous role. She was doing what she could to apply for jobs but was unable to secure interviews. Her confidence was low and she was frustrated at not being given a chance, which she felt might have been due to her age.
Through several appointments with our employability adviser, we were able to create a new CV for Susan and uploaded it to several job websites. We gave her advice as to the tasks she might be able to complete at home, as she was confident in using a computer. During the one-to-one meetings, we helped her apply for suitable jobs, and carried out practice interviews once she was invited to interview by employers. Importantly, our regular support and encouragement gave Susan the confidence she needed to keep going in her job search.
After two months of our regular support, Susan was offered a job and was grateful for the support she received from the Community one Stop Shop.
William* is a 55-year-old Scottish man who has a long history of drug addiction and periods in prison. The problems he has experienced are mainly due to traumatic events in his teenage years which have significantly affected his life.
He is unable to work due to his health problems and his inability to communicate and interact with other people. We helped him to apply for Personal Independence Payment which was initially refused. We then worked with him through every stage of the appeals process culminating in a Tribunal for which we submitted a detailed 5-page document challenging the decision of the Department for Work and Pensions. At this stage we were successful and William now has an award of PIP to help him with his daily life and expenses. It has made a huge difference to him and he is also now seeking counselling and working to address his long-term issues moving forward.
*Names have been changed and details altered to protect clients privacy