The woman’s story was one of the key studies presented to members of Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee today, Tuesday, November 16, as an example of how £330,000 in financial support from Scottish Government had been allocated to support Borderers in financial need during Covid-19 pandemic.
After contacting the advice bureau the woman received help to find out what benefits and support was available.
She was struggling with her heating bills and an adviser with the Warm & Well Borders scheme identified additional housing costs she could access.
Because of her health issues she was also found to be eligible for a back-dated Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
A report to the committee added: “Overall the client is £951 better off after CABs input, meaning she and her husband are no longer having to make a choice between eating or keeping warm.”
Committee members endorsed a further £330,000 of government funding aimed at supporting similar work by the council, its partners and the voluntary sector, including and extension to the Warm & Well Borders scheme.
Councillor Robin Tatler said: “We all know how difficult life is for some people out there at the moment in terms of a whole range of issues caused by Covid and a whole range of other issues regarding the economy and the cost of living. I was absolutely gobsmacked to see that 42 hours of work by an adviser had such an astonishing impact. It was life-changing for the person that was supported by that work.”
Mr Tatler urged anyone who needed help to “please come forward” to access what was available.
Councillor Scott Hamilton added: “The case studies give a lot of context to the story here.”
Councillor Euan Jardine said: “When I’ve been working with the Galashiels Resilience Team you go to doors and speak to people and realise how many people are needing help and haven’t come forward and in the winter it gets worse. People should not be worried in coming forward.”