Citizen’s Advice benefits from IDS £53 challenge


Cathcart MSP, James Dornan, has welcomed a financial boost to the Castlemilk Citizens Advice Bureau [CAB] that has been donated by Southsider, Nathan Sparling.
Mr Sparling, who has raised £750 from living off £53.00 per week, has donated the money to the Castlemilk CAB to help with the excellent work that they do in the South-East of the city.

Mr Sparling decided to live off £53.00 per week following Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, claiming that he could live off the same amount.  However the UK Cabinet Minister refused to do so despite a petition calling on him to do just that reached almost half a million signatures in a few days. 
Nathan’s sponsorship has raised £750 and he has decided to give the money to the Citizens Advice office in Mr Dornan’s constituency.

Accepting the cheque from Mr Sparling, Mr Dornan said:

“I congratulate Nathan on raising this money and I’m sure that the staff and volunteers will put it to good use to continue the excellent work that they do in my constituency.

“This month has seen the Tory/Lib Dem Government inflict welfare changes on Scotland that people did not vote for such as the ‘bedroom tax’, along with cuts in other benefits that help some of the most disadvantaged in our communities.

“The Citizens Advice office in Castlemilk is a hugely important service for people in my constituency, and Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare changes will no doubt see many more people coming to their door.

“I would encourage anyone who can raise funds for their local Citizens Advice Bureaux to do so, as they need your help now more than ever.”

Mr Sparling said: “I lived on £53 for a week to try and understand some of the challenges and troubles that many people have to face on a week by week basis.

“It’s clear from my experience that Iain-Duncan Smith would never be able to live on such an amount each week. The psychological impacts that people encounter when you are cut off from any social life are quite severe, boredom and isolation can quickly lead to depression or more serious mental health difficulties – which in turn then have a cost implication on our NHS.

“It was a good experience on a personal level, I’ve been able to look at exactly what I spend my money on and focus more on budgeting to get the best of my monthly wage – but the income for the unemployed or disabled needs to be looked at. I ended up in £21.25 debt because I couldn’t afford the full bill for the week.

“I chose Citizen’s Advice to raise money for as they have seen a dramatic increase in demand for their service, with little increase in funding. I’m even more pleased to donate the final total to Castlemilk CAB, in one of the most deprived areas in Glasgow, who will use the money to give staff and clients a better experience when visiting the office.”

Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, Margaret Lynch said:

“I’d like to thank Nathan for highlighting the work of the citizens advice service in Scotland through his fundraising challenge. All across the country, CAB help people with issues that arise due to living on a  low income, from debt problems to rent arrears, benefit problems, and making choices between heating and eating.

“The strain that such financial pressures can cause on individuals and families can also cause other problems such as family breakdown and mental and physical health problems. Nathan only had to live on a low income for a week but this is a week in and week out occurrence for thousands more.”

Kate McCallum, Manager of Castlemilk Citizens Advice Bureau thanked Nathan for his donation saying:

“Everyone at Castlemilk CAB would like to thank Nathan for choosing our bureaux as the recipient of his fundraising challenge. Lack of funds means that we have not been able to do anything to the décor of the bureau in a very long time. We have decided that this generous donation is going towards that.

“A group of volunteers and I will be using this money to make our rooms and offices a better place to work and visit for both staff and clients alike.  We are seeing year on year an increase in demand for our services from the people of Castlemilk and the nature of our service means we rely on volunteers.

“The work they do can be hard and take its toll, so sprucing the place up so it can be a better environment for all, I hope will help thank our volunteers for the fantastic work they do every day for the local community.”