(Committee and Staff Members)
Bute Advice Centre AGM
Bute Advice Centre held their 32nd AGM on 18th September. Chairman, Gordon Sutherland reported that the independent advice centre continues in its efforts to deliver a range of projects that support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the communities across Bute and Cowal. “A large proportion of staff time is taken up guiding clients and assisting then through the complexities of the Benefits system. Our aim is to ensure that clients receive their full entitlement of State support. We also endeavour to help clients become financially independent, by assisting them to learn domestic budgeting skills, in order that they can better manage what may be a very limited family income”. The largest projects involving Bute Advice Centre are delivering the welfare rights service for ACHA across the Bute and Cowal area and being a partner in the Money Skills Argyll project. Bute Advice Centre also continues to support the Syrian Resettlement Programme, supporting families who have settled on the Island of Bute. The Manager’s report highlighted that almost £1million client gain was achieved through the uptake of benefits, rebates and grants in the year. Particular note was given to the success at tribunal appeal level work. In addition to the one to one work carried out at the Bute Advice Centre, Rothesay and ACHA premises at Dolphin Hall, Dunoon, a number of home visits have been provided to vulnerable clients. Staff have also participated in workshops and community events. Families who live on the Island of Bute can find taking children away for trips off island a financial struggle, a highlight in the year were family trips to Blair Drummond Safari Park and Ayr Farm Park, providing a fun day away. Staff also provide support to those who need to use the Bute Foodbank run by Bute Oasis, helping them when in crisis to deal with underlying issues. Tribute was paid to Alma Mickaill who was both a volunteer and paid staff member since coming to the Island almost 15 years ago. Alma retired from Bute Advice Centre in March 2019, thanks was given for her dedicated service and best wishes for her future adventures.