Hundreds of households in Falkirk district are expected to benefit from a new financial health check service delivered by Citizens Advice and funded by the Scottish Government.

The free service is targeted primarily at low-income families and older people who may be missing out on financial support they are eligible for. This could, for example, include access to the Best Start grant, school clothing grant, free school meals or a council tax reduction.

The health check involves a short, confidential interview with an adviser and is available now by dialling the freephone number 0800 085 7145. By January, it will also be available in person at Falkirk Citizens Advice Bureau.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson welcomed the service, which is part of the Scottish Government’s plan to tackle child poverty and is backed by £3.3million in funding over the next two years.

He said: “Many people who are struggling financially might be unaware of assistance that’s available to them or may be too proud to ask for help. Our social security system is there to help people in need and it’s vital that we ensure eligible households across Falkirk district don’t miss out on support that could make a big difference to their day-to-day lives.

“I strongly encourage constituents who think they might benefit from the financial health check to make use of this convenient, free service.”

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “Research has shown that around half a million Scots are not claiming all the support they are entitled to. That means families are struggling to heat their homes or put food on the table while missing out on financial assistance that could make a crucial difference.

“This service is all about identifying those people and linking them up with the grants, benefits or support that they need.”