Glasgow City Council are currently running a Financial Inclusion Support Officer (FISO) project aimed at embedding Financial Inclusion support into a school setting. The foundations of this project are based on listening to parents and community groups with lived experience of poverty and using data to identify need and service gaps.The aim is to look at new ways to tackle child poverty aimed at targeting the three main drivers of Child poverty, the cost of living, maximising entitlement to generate income from social security benefits and income from employment. The programme is education centred in that the advice by a named FISO is taken to the parents by the schools using the “support for families” booklet and engagement with the FISO and advice is encouraged using social media and group call facilities through the individuals schools.
The primary purpose of this pilot is to support families and alleviate poverty, by providing one to one support for parents and families in the fields of welfare rights and debt reconciliation. New direct referral pathways have been introduced to further enhance the focus on reducing child poverty through the main drivers; A direct referral pathway to employability support has been introduced, offering parents access to training and education, help to start their careers or a move towards better paid employment. They have also introduced Digital supports in recognition of digital inclusion and the barriers it presents.
After a 12 month pilot with 4 secondary Schools, the programme is currently in 13 secondary schools in the city with the aim of rolling it out to the remaining 17 secondary schools over a 12 month period. To test potential future provision 2 primary schools and 1 assisted learning school are also benefiting from the service.
Over the course of Phase 1, 790 families engaged with the service and 257 of these families are now in a better financial position.