Perth Citizens' Advice Bureau
This client is a single woman who’s got long-term mental health problems and a disability which restricts her communication abilities.
Her TV and broadband company was pushing her to a new expensive contract and she felt unable to communicate on her own with the company. I’ve been part of a few discussions like this and found that some customer services departments are not able to respond well to customers who may have additional needs.
I’m supporting her with her finances and how to manage her money. I help her to go through her bank statement and understand it, as well as how to reduce expenses where possible.
I managed to help her to reduce the bill from about £100 to about £20. We are also working through how to set up a budget, how to manage it on a monthly basis and how to translate figures to weekly amounts.
We also look at the ways she’s spending money. For example, she was surprised when I showed her how much she is spending on mobile-phone games and scratch cards. When playing a phone game, she’ll get a notification asking her to pay £1.99 to get to the next level, which feels like a ‘reward’. It’s hard for her to not do it because she doesn’t have many places to go, she feels isolated and playing on her mobile is fun and takes up her time. We see it a lot with online bingo, too. It seems like £1 here and there, but by the end of the month it could be £80.
I’m also helping my client to get through the review process of her benefit entitlement.
At this point in our work together I am encouraging my client to engage with Gamblers Anonymous Scotland. She doesn’t really feel confident about attending the meetings but she will use their chat online. She’s still embarrassed, but slowly getting there. It’s a process.
There’s another good outcome, too. She’s enjoying what we’re doing and her confidence has increased. Previously we had discussed direct debits and standing orders, and she got concerned about using these sort of methods of payment; now she wants to set up more of them for her regular payments such as council tax.
Also, when we first started, she was afraid of how much paperwork she’d have to do. Now, after a couple of months, she’s keen on doing a financial capability module from Money Advice Scotland with me.
To make an appointment please call the Positive Futures team on 01738 450581 or email:
The Positive Futures programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund, Perth & Kinross Council and The Gannochy Trust.