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Fife voluntary organisations use local gift card to support first tenancies and people facing crisis

A Welcome Home Project to support new tenancies post homelessness and a collaboration with Dunfermline based voluntary organisations are two of the projects taking place in the Kingdom using the Fife Gift Card. Cards can be spent with over 170 local businesses

The Fife Gift Card is being used by voluntary organisations in initiatives designed to support those in need, including those moving from homelessness into their first tenancies, and people facing crisis circumstances.

A collaboration between Fife Council and their housing department, Kingdom Housing Association, Fife charity Furniture Plus and a range of voluntary organisations including Link Church and the Abbey Church of Dunfermline, the Welcome Home Dunfermline project aims to give people additional support when moving into their first home to enable them to sustain their tenancies.

In the Welcome Home project, families who meet the criteria receive a welcome home pack containing a £20 Fife Gift Card, a housing starter pack with items such as plates funded by Furniture Plus, a £50 Furniture Plus voucher plus a welcome home card signposting to localised support.

The £20 Fife Gift Card within the pack is being funded by the Abbey Church through their St Margaret Gift Fund. Monies in this fund are being raised by the congregation and local community specifically to support local people in their first few months of entering social housing. The Fife Gift Card is part of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card concept and can be spent with over 170 local businesses.

Fife Council is also collaborating with third sector and voluntary organisations in Dunfermline, such as churches and pantries, to distribute the Fife Gift Card to those experiencing crisis circumstances, via volunteers.

The initiative allows volunteers at voluntary organisations to issue cards at their discretion to individuals in need, offering immediate support, aiding the volunteer’s confidence in their role as part of wider work and training by Fife Council. Fife Council works closely with voluntary organisations to upskill volunteers and provide training opportunities.

Lindsay Gilfillan is anti-poverty and community wealth building project officer at Fife Council and said:

“For the Welcome Home project, the information we had from our housing associations was that people were moving from homelessness into their first tenancies without having what they needed to make a home. The project aims to ease the pressure that people feel from making such a momentous life change.

“The main reason we chose to use the Fife Gift Card is the flexibility it offers, and the dignity. In the project, we may have 10 different people with 10 different needs, the cards allow the individuals to determine what they need and how to spend the card, from food to fuel or even the ability to have a coffee in a local café to have a break. Supermarket vouchers are great but they may not address the individual’s specific needs.

“Some people are also moving from different areas of Fife, and the Fife Gift Card is a way of them getting to know and connecting to local places and people and hopefully reducing the barriers that they might feel when moving to a new area. The feedback we’ve had so far has been positive.

“The ability to track spend on the cards is also useful, particularly because it helps voluntary organisations who are using the card to distribute funding to evaluate effectiveness, such as people spending their cards in stores to buy food or to top up fuel.

“Both initiatives have helped to create collaboration between the council and local voluntary organisations. We know that when people are in crisis, they will go to where they feel comfortable accessing support. This is a great example of the voluntary sector and the council coming together on a positive piece of work to benefit the community.”

David Williams, Joint Session Clerk at the Abbey Church said:

“The Fife Gift Card offers an easy way for us to provide tangible support to those in need, while letting them choose what will make a real difference to them in their early days in their new home.”

Link Church, Dunfermline, is one of the voluntary organisations distributing the Fife Gift Card to individuals facing crisis circumstances.

Doug Allan from Link Church said:

“As part of our work to support the local community we organise a weekly community café. At times, people coming into the community café will be experiencing difficulty and may be short of food or other essential items.  We work closely with the local Council Community Development Team, and they have provided Fife Gift Cards which can be given to people in these kinds of crisis situations.

“The cards are ideal in providing immediate and flexible support which people can use in many local shops and stores to meet their individual or family needs.  We like that the cards can be used discreetly and promote the dignity and choices of the person requiring support. From our experience of using the Fife Gift Cards, people receive effective emergency help whilst also at the same time being given assistance to access the other longer term support they may need.”

Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex, who deliver the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card alongside Scotland’s Towns Partnership, and said:

“The work being undertaken in Fife is an excellent example of how local gift cards can be used within voluntary organisations to meet a wide range of organisational and service user needs.

“From our research with third sector and voluntary organisations, we know that choice for service users, dignity, ease and support for local are all key considerations for organisations offering support. The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card gives organisations a means to offer ultimate local choice to service users with tangible support for the local area, all wrapped up in a gift card that is easy for the organisation to distribute, and easy for the service user to spend.”

Nicola Hutchinson, of STP, said:

“This scheme is a fantastic example of the way that lives can be improved when organisations embrace the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card. Not only is this project providing help to people when they need it most, the money they spend is being invested directly back into their local community through the businesses accepting the card. Everyone wins. By collaborating like this, we can build stronger places and economies, simply by supporting the people and businesses around us.”

Voluntary organisations can find out more at or email [email protected]

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