To eat or not to eat?
Mary had just been advised that DWP were moving her onto Universal Credits and that she would have to wait over a month for her first payment! To add to her worries, she would not know until a few days prior how much she would be entitled to. Mary was distraught not only at the timing of her transition to Universal Credit (so near to Christmas) but also that she would have to manage on the meagre £20 per week she was left with after existing commitments were deducted!
Mary has two teenage sons at home and £20 per week scarcely covered basic food staples, let alone the huge volume of food routinely consumed by growing teenagers. Mary often went without or ate the bare minimum so that her sons would have enough.
Naturally Mary’s mood was low, and in desperation, she went into her local Conduit Scotland shop to ask if she could apply for a loan to tide her over. Mary had previously taken out several loans with Conduit and had repaid them on time.
Conduit Scotland is a responsible lender, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and as Mary did not know what her future income was going to be, Conduit were unable to accept a loan application.
However, Conduit is a lender with a difference and work closely with a wide range of organisations to help customers make the most of their income and get help to access support with benefits.
Conduit staff told Mary about the local Foodbank, but Mary already had an appointment later that day with another service provider who would issue her with a Foodbank voucher. Mary did not however know that the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) can consider an application for a Crisis Loan or a Community Care Grant www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/. Mary did not feel confident in her ability to apply online so with her permission, Conduit staff helped her submit the application, for which she was extremely relieved and grateful.
Later that day, Mary phoned Conduit to advise that she had applied for an advance of her Universal Credit and now had an approximate figure of what she would likely receive. Due to Mary’s proven track record of loan repayment with Conduit, the Conduit loan officer decided that they would be able to offer Mary a loan of £200 with a first repayment instalment date to coincide with her first payment of Universal Credit.
Mary left Conduit shop that day with a relieved smile on her face and feeling optimistic about the other appointments she had that day.
Conduit staff contacted Mary again and Mary advised she had collected her Foodbank pack and had also been approved for an advance of £800 on her Universal Credit! Mary’s repayment amount would be higher than the Conduit loan, but the advance was for a higher amount and had no interest payable on it. Mary asked if she could withdraw her Conduit loan application, which Conduit immediately agreed to as Mary now had access to a more appropriate lending option and Conduit is a responsible lender. As she had now been awarded an advance on her Universal Credit, SWF had declined her application for a Crisis Grant. Mary was fine with that decision, but thanked Conduit for telling her about the SWF as she had not known about them and although they could not give her financial help at that point, they did make referrals for her to other services for help to get whitegoods and some furniture.
Mary said that she would always be grateful for the help and support Conduit staff had given her and she would be telling all her friends and family about Conduit Scotland as they are definitely more than just a loan provider!