Helping individuals and families across the Falkirk Council area get the most from their money is the aim of the first Fairer Money Week starting next week (13 November).

Five days of activities are planned in Grangemouth’s Advice and Support Hub in York Place between Monday 13 November and Friday 17 November that will help visitors get what they are entitled to as well as directing them to other local support.

The event will featured a number of support organisations and agencies who can offer free and confidential one to one support and advice on a wide range of issues including reducing energy costs; welfare and benefits entitlements; debt advice; affordable credit; savings and; directing visitors to other bodies that can help.

Staff will also be on hand to point visitors to Falkirk Council’s Benefits Calculator – a free online service that can give you an estimate of what money you may be entitled to.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “Many families and individuals continue to struggle with real financial hardships and are actually unaware of the millions of pounds of unclaimed every year in Scotland.

“The Fairer Money Week is designed to bring people in to speak with trained advisers who can point them in the right direction and show them how they can boost their income especially in the run up to Christmas. They can also receive free advice on making savings with their energy bills as well as whole range of advice and support.

“The advice is free and confidential however if you cannot make it to the Grangemouth Advice and Support Hub you can use our online Benefits Calculator to find out how much you may be entitled to.”

Estimates compiled by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that around £428m worth of unclaimed working tax credits or child tax credits, £190m in carers allowance, £210m of pension credit and £251m of housing benefit remains unclaimed in Scotland.

Participants throughout the week  include Falkirk Council’s debt and welfare advice team; Home Energy Scotland; Citizens Advice Scotland; Falkirk and District Credit Union and Conduit Scotland– a not for profit responsible lender who run a shop in Falkirk.

Appointments are not required for visitors however it may be necessary to book a return appointment if applications etc cannot be made on the same day.