Paul O’Kane has hailed the “vital support” provided by organisations who attended the MSP’s ‘Financial Advice and Cost of Living’ surgeries.
The first surgery, which took place in St Mirin’s Cathedral Hall in Paisley, brought together organisations from across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire –Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Home Energy Management, Money Advice & Rights Team (MART) from East Renfrewshire Council and Advice Works at Renfrewshire Council – and religious group and faith leaders.
Two days later O’Kane hosted a second surgery in St Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenock which saw Inverclyde based organisations -such as Advice & Employment Rights Centre, Money Advice by Financial Fitness, RCH Financial Wellbeing Team and the Kidron Project- come together with religious group and faith leaders.
Inspired by a conversation he had with a priest about cost of living advice and the wider community role churches and faith groups play, O’Kane decided to host events that could encourage awareness of financial advice and support available for people struggling with the cost of living.
Commenting Paul O’Kane said:
“Overall I think the two surgeries were important because many constructive conversations were had between religious leaders and financial organisations about how best to inform people about sources of help”
“Chatting to people attending it’s clear that it’s a two way thing – statutory services and support organisations are doing great work but so are churches and religious groups so it’s vital to bring them together.”
“The reality of the cost of living crisis is that many people are being told how hard things will become without having a good sense of who to turn to for advice or help but hopefully after the surgeries more religious figures across West Scotland can point people towards helpful sources of information and support particularly in terms of financial advice and rights ”
“A big thanks must go to all the organisations who came and provided leaflets, website information and vital support-the service they provide is invaluable, particularly in recent times”
“I think more events like this will be necessary, not just for religious leaders but for anyone who wishes to have more awareness of organisations who can provide financial help and assistance”
“The surgeries also let me emphasise the role I wish to play during this crisis which is to be an MSP who can be contacted and try my best to help with whatever concerns people have”
“Do not hesitate to get in touch with my office if you need help”