Helping to break the cycle of financial exclusion. East Lothian Justice Social Work in partnership with Shelter and HSBC can help people with no fixed address to open a bank account.

East Lothian Justice Social Work Department has joined forces with Shelter UK and HSBC UK to support people who are of no fixed abode across to open and access bank accounts, enabling them to get back up on their feet.    By securing a bank account, the individuals are then able to access the welfare state and start the journey towards securing a home, and a job.

Through the ‘No Fixed Address’ service provided by HSBC UK, individuals are able to gain access to a basic bank account, without the proof of identity or address documents that are usually required.  

Thanks to a new partnership agreement with HSBC UK, via Shelter UK, East Lothian Social Justice Team can now act as a referee, and support their clients in gaining access to a bank account. 

By arranging an appointment with a local branch, an East Lothian Social Worker can refer their service user as a potential customer, and support them in opening the account.  The Social Worker provides their ID and an official letter verifying that their service user is gaining support from Social Work services.   After setting up the account, all correspondence, including the card and pin number is sent to an agreed location, either a PO Box, or the social work office.   Once the bank account is open, the individual becomes a customer of HSBC and operates their account like everyone else.

Ciara Webb, Team Leader for Justice Social Work Services comments,
“The no fixed address service is a fantastic way in which the Justice Social Work team can provide additional support to our clients.  

“Many people who are involved with our services have been through some incredibly difficult experiences, and we are here to support them on their recovery journey.    Having their own bank account provides a significant boost, and greatly assists them in taking the next steps to becoming more independent.   We have already been able to support a number of service users in this way, and have witnessed the positive impact that this has had on their outlook and wellbeing.”

One of East Lothian’s service user commented, “It was a good experience, they were very approachable, overall I’m pleased with the service provided by HSBC.”

Maxine Pritchard, head of financial inclusion and vulnerability at HSBC UK, said:

“Without a bank account, people can very often find themselves trapped in their current situation. They are unable to receive benefits, rent accommodation, or seek employment. We are committed to offering support to those who would otherwise be excluded from banking to help break the cycle of homelessness.

“Through our work with our network of charities we are able to reach more people and support them as they start their journey to reintegrate society.”

Fiona Wilson, Chief Officer, East Lothian Health & Social Care Partnership adds,
“The establishment of this partnership with Shelter and HSBC is a great example of community organisations and businesses coming together to help improve the lives of local people.   We are delighted to be able to add this personal independence opportunity to our range of existing social work services that directly assist and provide support to our clients in their personal improvement journey.”

Financial support and advice. Picture shows a ceramic piggy bank with coins around it.

Published: Monday, 21st November 2022