Media Release: Forty-three per cent increase in calls to housing and homelessness helpline, says Shelter Scotland

SCOTLAND’S leading housing and homelessness charity and major UK retailer, Marks & Spencer, are joining forces to deliver help to the 60 desperate families and individuals who call Shelter Scotland’s helpline every day.

Shelter Scotland says this represents a 43 per cent increase over three years, up from 42 calls per day in 2008/09.

Says a spokesperson for Shelter Scotland: “According to the charity, stretched household budgets, the impact of welfare reform and increases in the cost of living are putting some families and individuals at risk of losing their home. Last month, the charity revealed the shocking statistic that 5,300 children will be homeless in Scotland on Christmas Day.

“However, while calls for help continue to rise, the charity says it desperately needs support to fund more trained housing advisors to offer year-round support to anyone in Scotland facing housing difficulties.

“Shelter Scotland receives no government or local authority funding to run the helpline – which received almost 22,000 calls in 2011/12.”

To help Shelter Scotland answer more calls from desperate families and individuals, leading retailer Marks & Spencer has vowed to donate 5p to the charity’s helpline from every product sold from the Christmas Food on the Move range.

Shelter Scotland says if everyone of working age in Scotland bought just one product from M&S during the campaign, it could raise £155,855.45 – enough to help over 15,500 people through its free helpline .

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said:                                                                                                                                                                      

“Thousands of families and individuals across Scotland face a daily struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. For these people, and many more living on a knife edge, speaking to one of our advisors is a lifeline.

“Sadly, in the last three years, we’ve seen a staggering 43 per cent increase in the number of people contacting us for help. At the same time, we’ve faced some tough challenges in raising money to fund the helpline.

“We are lucky to have eight dedicated advisors who work tirelessly to answer calls and offer much-needed advice – but we need more advisors to help us meet the rising demand. I urge people across Scotland to head to their local M&S and show their support for our vital work.”

Richard Gillies, director of Plan A, CSR and Sustainable Business at M&S, said: “Our partnership with Shelter Scotland will support this valuable service which clearly helps so many. For our customers and us, it’s really great to know that something as simple as choosing your lunch can make a real difference to people who risk losing their home.”

The spokesperson continued: “Shelter Scotland says it relies entirely on voluntary income such as public donations to fund its free national helpline and offer advice on a range of issues including homelessness, bad housing, problem landlords and rent and mortgage arrears.

“Food on the Move products are available now at M&S stores across Scotland and features festive favourites such as the Turkey and Cranberry Slaw sandwich, crumble mince pies and mini Yule logs. The retailer is a long-standing supporter of the housing and homelessness charity, having worked with Shelter (England) for seven years and raised over £2 million for the charity. This year, for the first time, money raised through product sales will benefit the Shelter Scotland helpline.”

Graeme Brown added: “We’re delighted to have the support of M&S and hope that the public get behind this fantastic initiative. Buying a sandwich from the Food on the Move range is a great way to support Shelter Scotland.”

Anyone who is experiencing housing difficulties should seek advice sooner rather than later by calling Shelter Scotland’s free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 or by visiting www.shelterscotland.org.


Notes to Editors:

  1. M&S will make a 5p donation from every product sold in its Food on the Move range from 1 November to 31 December. In Scotland there are 3,117,109 people of working age. If each of them bought a Food on the Move product – leading to a 5p donation from M&S – this would raise £155,855.45 for the helpline.
  2. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
  3. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
  4. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
  5. 5p of each of the selected items will be donated to Shelter from 1 November to 24 December:
  • Three-course Christmas Feast Sandwich (£3.95)
  • Clementine Juice (£1.45, 300g)
  • Lochmuir Salmon 3 Ways Sandwich (£3.25)
  • Festive Sushi Tasting Pack (£3.50 200g)
  • Smoked Salmon Pate (£2.00, 95g)
  • Rare Roast Beef & Blue Stilton Sandwich (£3.25)
  • Raspberry & Cranberry Juice (£1.65, 500g)
  • Pork & Stilton Handcooked Crisps (65p, 40g)
  • Turkey Feast Sandwich (£3.00)
  • Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Handcooked Crisps (55p, 40g)
  • Count on Us Turkey & Festive Slaw (£2.30, 175g)
  • Turkey, Bacon & Cranberry Pastry Roll (£1.60, 130g)
  • Festive Sandwich and Roll Platter (£18.00)
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Bars (£1.00, 150g)
  • Cranberry & Cream Snowman Jelly (£1.00, 150g)
  • Crumble Mince Pie (£1.25, 90g)

Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Shelter Scotland. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on allmediascotland.com. For more information, email here.

Contact: Shelter Scotland
Phone: 08445152442
Email: mediascotland@shelter.org.uk
Website: http://www.shelterscotland.org