New Scots welcome pack

Wheatley Group is Scotland’s leading housing, care, and property-management group and one of the UK’s best-accredited organisations.

Wheatley Group owns or manages over 93,700 homes and delivers award-winning services to over 210,000 people across 19 local authorities in Scotland.

Wheatley employs 2700 people directly and a further 2000 as joint owners of one of Scotland’s largest repairs and maintenance companies, City Building (Glasgow).

Wheatley Group incorporates the following partners:

  • Wheatley Homes Glasgow - Scotland’s largest social landlord, with almost 43,570 affordable homes in Glasgow;
  • Wheatley Homes South - with more than 10,350 homes across the region;
  • Wheatley Homes East - with more than 7200 affordable homes in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife;
  • Loretto Housing - with more than 2750 affordable homes in the central belt;
  • Wheatley Care - which provides care and support to around 8170 people in 2022-23;
  • Lowther - which owns or manages a portfolio of around 1600 homes for rent, also manages around 1320 homes for Wheatley Group RSLs and provides property-management services to almost 29,000 homeowners;
  • Wheatley Solutions - where 650 staff provide support services to the Group subsidiaries;
  • Wheatley Foundation - which invested £6.6million last year in creating opportunities for people to improve their lives;
  • and City Building (Glasgow) - jointly owned with Glasgow City Council and providing repairs and maintenance services.

Being a Wheatley Group customer
 

Customer First Centre
Our Customer First Centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days a year. Our expert Customer Service Advisors and specialist officers are trained to answer your enquiries and strive to do this at the first point of contact, or they will ensure that your need is resolved by local housing or Lowther officers. You can contact us by telephone on 0800 479 7979 or via webchat, all at a time that best suits your circumstances. If you are already a customer, you can also get us through your self-service web account.

Online services
 

After signing up for your property, please make sure you register for online services.

You can do that here.

You can use your account to:

  • Check your account balance;
  • View recent payments and charges;
  • Securely make payments to your account;
  • Report a repair;
  • And much more…

Housing officer
 

Your housing officer will:

  • arrange for you to view the property you have been offered;
  • meet you at the property, answer questions about the home and the community and discuss rent payments/any support you and your family may require;
  • complete the necessary paperwork (as along as all repairs are complete) involved to sign you up to the tenancy and will take your first rent payment. We can also arrange direct debits to be set up for ongoing payment or support with any benefits. You will receive your keys to the property at this time;
  • keep in contact with you and arrange to visit you at your new home, usually within four weeks. This is to ensure you are settling into your new home and answer any questions you may have.

Our Customer First Centre will be on hand 24/7 to support with further enquiries and can arrange for a home visit from your housing officer should you require this.

Tenancy agreement
 

On the day you receive the keys for your property you will sign a tenancy agreement. The tenancy agreement is a legally binding document which sets out the rights and responsibilities of you as a tenant and of your landlord. It is important to read this carefully as it will include key details such as your rent charge and how often it should be paid, what services are included, and the notice period needed to end the tenancy.

We have translated some of our tenancy agreements into other languages. If you require your tenancy agreement to be translated into another language, then please contact the Customer First Centre or your housing officer.

Paying your rent
 

As a tenant it is your responsibility to ensure that you pay your rent in full and on time to your landlord. Rent is paid as soon as you receive the keys to your new home. This includes if your rent is paid through Housing Benefit. If you only receive partial Housing Benefit, please check with your housing officer how much rent you need to pay.

If you receive Universal Credit then the housing costs are paid directly to your bank account. A request can be made for this to be changed and for payments to go straight to your landlord. Please note that the first payment will take five weeks to come through, putting your rent account into arrears. Your housing officer will discuss how the balance on your rent account can be paid.

Please see options below on how to pay your rent:

  • Direct Debit:  Simple to set up and the most hassle-free way to pay your rent. Your payment will come directly off your bank account on a date that suits you.
  • Online services:  An online account is a quick and easy way to pay online, view your balance, recent charges, and payments. To register for an online account please go to your landlord’s website as detailed above in online services and follow the link.
  • Call us:  Phone the Customer First Centre on the numbers detailed above to pay by debit or credit card.

If you are having difficulty paying your rent, then please contact your housing officer or the Customer First Centre as a matter of urgency. We can assist you with budgeting skills and ensure you and your family are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to, through our welfare benefits advisors (more info can be found in the section called 'Ways we can help') and have access to our range of wraparound support services.

Council tax
 

Council tax is a tax on domestic property which is collected by your local authority. The money collected is used to pay for local services such as rubbish collections, maintaining roads and street lighting.

All residential properties are given a council tax banding. The banding determines how much council tax you are required to pay. To find out which band your property is in please visit
www.saa.gov.uk

If you receive benefits, are disabled or on a low income, then you may get a discount on your council tax bill or don’t have to pay any council tax. If you live alone in your property, then you are entitled to a single person’s discount of 25%.

Our welfare benefits advisers can support you with your council tax bill and ensure that you are paying the correct amount (see section 3 – Ways We Can Help).

Water and waste water charges
On your council tax bill there is a charge for the water supply to your property. This is collected by your local authority and passed to Scottish Water. All households must pay this charge and no discounts can be applied to it.

Gas and electricity
 

When you move into your Wheatley Group property, your electricity and gas should already be working. Before you move in, an electrical check and gas check will have been completed by Wheatley Group. Please note that not all Wheatley Group properties have gas in them.

Take a note of your meter readings on the day you get your keys. This will ensure that you are only charged from when you became the tenant. Some meters are located outside of the property. Please click here for guidance on how to read your meter.

Your property will either have a prepayment meter, dry meter, or smart meter. Please see details below:

Meter typeWhen do you
pay for energy
How you can pay
Prepayment meterRequires you to pay for your energy before you use itCredit can be bought from a top-up point – often a local shop or post office
Dry meterPay for energy after you use itMeter readings required to be submitted and bill will be sent out by supplier with details of how to pay
Smart meterPay for energy after you use itMeter readings automatically sent to supplier and bill will be sent out by supplier with details of how to pay

You can choose which energy provider you wish to supply your gas and electricity. Our fuel advisors can assist you with energy advice and can advocate on your behalf with your supplier if required (see Ways We Can Help section).

In order for Wheatley Group to keep you safe in your home, we require to carry out a gas safety visit each year and an electrical safety check (EICR) every five years. Wheatley Group will notify you of when we plan to visit and you must allow access. If the appointment is unsuitable, please contact us and we’ll rearrange. Failure to allow entry may mean that we have to force entry to your home to conduct these checks and you may be charged.

If you smell gas, then please call Scottish Gas Network immediately on 0800 111 999 as it could be the sign of a dangerous gas leak.

Repairs
 

It is your responsibility to keep your property clean, in good condition and to report any repairs or issues you have with your property on a timely basis. You can report repairs through our Customer First Centre on the numbers supplied above, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or through online services.

It is our responsibility to carry out common repairs to the property, such as to boilers, radiators and controlled entry systems.

Some repairs are treated as an emergency such as loss of heating, electricity or a burst pipe and our repairs staff will respond as soon as possible when notified of these. Our Customer First Centre will be on hand to support you through this from reporting a repair through to it being completed.

Leaks and bathing practices
 

If you have a leak in your property due to a pipe, sink, basin or toilet or if you are getting water ingress from a neighbouring property, please report this to the Customer First Centre straight away.

When bathing please try to ensure that the water remains in the bath or shower area to avoid damage within your own property or your neighbour’s property.

Only toilet paper should be put down the toilet. Other items such as wet wipes should be disposed of in the bin.

Smoke alarms, heat detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
 

In February 2022, the law in Scotland changed and all properties must have:

  • one smoke alarm in the living room or the room you use most;
  • one smoke alarm in every hallway or landing;
  • one heat alarm in the kitchen.

All smoke and heat alarms should be mounted on the ceiling and be interlinked.
If you have a carbon-fuelled appliance – like a boiler, fire, heater, or flue – in any room, you must also have a carbon monoxide detector in that room, but this does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

It is recommended that you test your alarms on a weekly basis. If you identify any faults with your alarm, then you must notify your housing officer or the Customer First Centre immediately.

It is important that you do not remove or cover your alarms as they are there to protect you.

Cooking practices
 

Your Wheatley Group property will have either electrical or gas cooking facilities. Where there is electrical cooking, a gas supply will not be installed.

Cooking is the biggest cause of house fires in Scotland and more fires start in the kitchen than any other room in the home.

It is important to follow these steps when cooking:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended;
  • Always clean grill pans when you’ve been cooking fatty food;
  • Turn all pan handles to the side so they’re not spilled by accident;
  • Don’t leave children or pets unattended in the kitchen;
  • Never dry tea towels or cloths on – or above – the cooker;
  • Never trail electrical flexes near cookers;
  • Never put any metal objects inside microwave ovens.

Deep frying using fat or oil, such as a chip pan, is a major risk. The best way to avoid having a fire involving hot oil is to use a thermostat–controlled, electric deep-fat fryer. They are safer to use as the safety cut-out (the thermostat) controls the temperature of the fat or oil.

Alternatively, an air fryer is a safer and healthier option to deep frying.

Customers should be aware that the use of BBQs are not permitted in the home or on balconies.

If you would like additional advice or guidance on safe cooking practices, then your Housing Officer can assist you by making a referral to Wheatley’s Fire Safety Team for a home visit. The team has various products that can be installed or used in the kitchen to make you safer.

Condensation and ventilating your home
 

Condensation can occur in our homes from many day-to-day activities such as washing, cooking and cleaning – you can help prevent this by good housekeeping practices, for example:

Do –

  • Use an airer to dry clothes;
  • Keep a window open when drying clothes indoors;
  • Keep the internal kitchen door closed when cooking;
  • Keep lids on pots and pans when cooking;
  • Use an extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom, if you have one and ensure in good working order;
  • Heat and ventilate rooms at risk;
  • Put the tumble dryer hose out the window or door.

Don’t –

  • Dry clothes over warm radiators;
  • Overfill cupboards and wardrobes;
  • Keep furniture and beds hard against walls. Allow a small gap for air to circulate.

If you get small spots of mould you can treat these quickly and easily. Use three parts warm water and one-part bleach. Make sure you dry the wall after cleaning it. If this doesn’t work, speak to your housing officer, or contact the Customer First Centre.

Getting a telephone and the internet
 

You can arrange to have a landline phone installed at your home and pay a monthly fee to use it, known as line rental. A land line is usually needed to receive internet access.

Depending on the provider and the deal you choose, they will either send you the equipment to set up yourself or somebody will visit to help you install it. There are a wide range of deals, so you should check with a number of providers before buying, or use a comparison website such as Money Supermarket, Compare the Market, Go Compare or Uswitch.

Wheatley Group has free Click and Connect computer centres across the country. These centres allow free use of computers and free Wi-Fi. To find your nearest Click and Connect centre please use the following link www.wheatley-group.com/about-wheatley/our-services/click-and-connect

Family reunion
 

Please inform your housing officer if a family reunion is planned to take place and advise them as soon as possible when your family members arrive or are scheduled to arrive.

In circumstances where your property becomes overcrowded as a result of a family reunion, your housing officer will carry out a Housing Options interview with you to discuss the options open to you, such as applying for a transfer with Wheatley Group for a larger property or applying to other landlords. The earlier we are notified of this proposed process taking place, the better we can support you.

Livingwell
 

Livingwell is a service designed to help older people live independently within their own homes for as long as they choose.

Livingwell launched in April 2018 and is an integrated service run by Wheatley Care, part of  Wheatley Group, and one of Scotland’s leading care and support providers.

The service aims to help tenants aged 55 and over live at home happier, healthier, and securely for longer. Homes within Livingwell services are available through Wheatley Homes Glasgow, Wheatley Homes East, and Loretto Housing Association.
Livingwell is:

  • Aimed at tenants aged over 55 years;
  • Staffed by mobile teams of Livingwell advisors who are responsible for different geographic areas;
  • Providing contact when it suits tenants, including evenings and weekend;
  • Providing blended services – on site at certain times, seven days a week, 365 days a year and available digitally;
  • Providing a wide range of social and leisure activities;
  • Providing OkEachDay – a service where tenants press a button to let us know everything is fine at their home and, if not, receive a call from a friendly person. The OKEachDay service is operated by Alertacall;
  • Working across different locations to provide activities to wider audiences and promote social inclusion;
  • Paid for as a service charge alongside rent for the property. Tenants will pay themselves or through receipt of housing benefits, depending on their circumstances.

To find out more information about the service, go to MyHousing at www.myhousing.org.uk, our online housing information, advice and letting service or contact your housing officer or the Customer First Centre.

Ways we can help
 

Our unique wraparound services are tailored for individual tenants to ensure they get welfare benefit advice, budgeting advice, money advice and training opportunities, which will prevent them falling into arrears or losing their home. If you feel you would benefit from any of the services below then contact your housing officer or the Customer First Centre.

Welfare benefits advice
Our welfare benefit advisors offer free, expert, and fair advice. They can help you to access money you are entitled to, guide you through the UK Government’s welfare system and help you if you need a bit of extra support. They will help you claim all the benefits you are due and will support you from identifying eligible benefits, through to appeal if necessary.

Fuel advice
Our fuel advisors help tenants of all ages with energy rates. Advisors provide energy advice and can help arrange low-cost repayments if you have fallen behind with your payments – or, in some cases, get debts written off. They can offer advice on energy efficiency including smart meters. A smart meter could help you to save money, energy and stay safe. If you are interested in learning more, our fuel advisors will talk you through the benefits of having a smart meter installed.

Wheatley Foundation
Set up in 2016 with the aim of supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people, the Foundation helps thousands of people every year within Wheatley communities across central and southern Scotland.

The Foundation’s two main priorities are:

  • maximising access to employment, training and learning opportunities for customers of all ages; and
  • supporting customers by tackling social exclusion and alleviating the impacts of poverty.

We deliver a range of programmes through Wheatley Foundation that have been developed to support our customers including:

Wheatley Works supports customers with employability advice. Our team helps customers to access quality training, work experience and job opportunities.

Valon is a Wheatley customer who had lost his job during the pandemic. He was put in touch with the Wheatley Works team and informed about the employability support and training programmes that we offer. Valon took part in two Wheatley training programmes (Environmental Roots and then Changing Lives). Valon was with Changing Lives – a one-year paid placement - for six months when he was given the opportunity to apply for a full-time position with Wheatley Group. He was successful and gained a full-time position in May. Valon said he is so grateful that he now has job security.

My Great Start supports new Wheatley tenants with money and budgeting advice and helps existing tenants to navigate Universal Credit and other benefit claims. Advisors support customers to maximise their income and identify other support requirements.

One customer had recently moved to Dumfries and Galloway with her baby and was unsure of what benefits she was entitled to and what support was available in the area. She was referred to My Great Start by her new housing officer. The My Great Start officer carried out a full benefit check, where they identified an entitlement to Universal Credit while in receipt of statutory maternity pay and the Scottish child payment. She was also given information on GP registration, local mother and baby groups, local schools and nurseries, and more practical information on which supermarket she could have food deliveries from. The customer was able to complete her benefits applications and was advised to contact My Great Start again if she required any further assistance.

Home Comforts provides free refurbished furniture, electrical appliances, and white goods to help customers on low incomes furnish their homes and access essential items they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Sharon is a Wheatley Homes Glasgow tenant who received a fridge freezer from Home Comforts. She said: “When my fridge freezer broke down, I couldn’t afford a new one, so my housing officer referred me to Home Comforts. I was so impressed with the fridge freezer they gave me – it was spotless and looked like new. It’s a brilliant service and I don’t know how I would have managed without it.”

Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides children under five living in Wheatley homes with a free book each month. The aim is to promote access to books/literacy and help bridge the education attainment gap at an early stage.

Samantha reads every night with her three children thanks to Imagination Library. She said she would struggle to afford new books for her family. She said: “New books are expensive, so the Imagination library is a big help. My children are excited to get them every month. They like the surprise of finding out what the book is. It is like getting a present every month.”

The bursary programme supports customers who are taking part in higher or further education, by providing a two-year financial bursary award. Wheatley customers can apply for a bursary each year with applications opening in May.

Erin has always dreamed of being a teacher. She is now studying for a degree in primary education at University of Glasgow’s Crichton Campus in Dumfries. She said: “The bursary has been a huge help to me this year. I was furloughed from my part time job, so the funding has helped cover some lost income. With so much remote learning this year it also allowed me to buy some of the recommended books as well as a new laptop.”

Handyperson service
If you are over the age of 60 or disabled, then our handyperson can assist with odd jobs
around your home. You can use the service as often as you like and the only cost to you is
the materials. This service is currently available to customers of Wheatley Homes Glasgow,
Wheatley Homes East, and Loretto Housing Association.

Examples of tasks the handyperson can carry out include:

  • Change plugs and sockets;
  • Change light bulbs and strip lights;
  • Clean internal windows (every 6 weeks);
  • Patch repairs to plaster;
  • Plumb in a washing machine;
  • Fix loose carpets/tiles/flooring;
  • Make small repairs to furniture and fittings;
  • Take down/re-hang curtains and blinds.

For more information on ways we can help, click here.

My home furnished let service
This service offers great value furniture to make your house feel like a home and is available for those who are finding it difficult to source their own furniture and flooring. This is available to new and existing tenants. We will support you to find furniture that best suits your needs and budget. You can access carpets, sofas, beds, a cooker and more. There is a charge for this service. Contact your Housing Officer to find out more about it.

Home fire safety
A home fire safety visit is carried out by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service free of charge. During the visit, they will provide fire safety advice and will assist with the creation of a fire escape plan. Your housing officer can assist you by making a home fire safety visit referral on your behalf or you can call 0800 073 1999 or text FIRE to 80800 from your mobile phone to arrange a visit yourself.

Wheatley also have an in-house Fire Safety Team who are available to support customers
across all aspects of fire safety within their property and provide support as required. Your
housing officer is able to make a referral to the team should you require access to this service.

Disabled customers
If a member of your household is disabled or if a member’s physical/medical needs change, then we can help you live safely and independently without having to move.

We can fit the following small adaptations:

  • Handrails;
  • Grabrails;
  • Lever taps;
  • Higher or lower power points;
  • An overbath shower.

For larger adaptations an Occupational Therapist will need to visit your home to carry out an assessment. You can request an occupational therapy assessment by contacting your local authority social work department.

Larger adaptions are considered to be the following:

  • Ramps;
  • Level access shower;
  • Extensions.

Environmental
 

If you live in a multi-storey property
We have multi-storey properties which are staffed by our environmental teams 24 hours or 12 hours per day. Your housing officer will confirm which you will be living in when they meet with you to sign your tenancy agreement.

24-hour site
Your local environmental team will become familiar faces to you. They are working in your neighbourhood 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They will ensure your landing and stairs are cleaned weekly and foyers and lifts cleaned daily. They will carry out patrols every day within each block, to ensure the areas are free from litter or hazards. Our patrols within buildings and neighbourhoods will help to keep you safe.

The team will offer a reception service and you can contact them day or night if you have an issue and they will be happy to help. They also monitor CCTV cameras, that are located within the site.

During summer months they will maintain the area surrounding the blocks which will allow customers to enjoy the open space areas.
Customers are expected to dispose of refuse through the bin chutes located on each landing.

If customers have larger items to dispose of, please see on site staff who will provide access to larger bin areas for these items.

12-hour site
Your local environmental team will be on site between 8am and 8pm every day. They will ensure your landing and stairs are cleaned weekly and foyers and lifts cleaned daily.
The on-site staff will patrol the blocks during the day and at night the patrols will be carried out by our mobile team.

During summer months they will maintain the area surrounding the blocks which will allow customers to enjoy the open space areas.

Customers are expected to dispose of refuse through the bin chutes located on each landing. If customers have larger items to dispose of, please see on site staff who will provide access to larger bin areas.

Mini-multis
Some of our mini-multis do not have an environmental team on-site, however, they are linked to our 12-hour sites.

If you live in a tenement flat
Each week our Neighbourhood Environmental Teams will arrive at your property to clean the internal building. In some areas the teams will also remove any bulk waste that has been left in the backcourt area (please check with your housing officer or the Customer First Centre). During summer months our teams will cut the back garden area every two weeks.

For customers who reside in a block where there are a majority of owner occupiers, then Wheatley Group may not provide a close cleaning service. If there is not an arrangement in place, then tenants may need to take a turn to ensure that the block is cleaned.

Customers should dispose of general waste in the bins provided within the backcourt area and place recycled waste in the bins provided.

If you live in a house or main door property
Your property will have a bin for household waste and bins for recycling for items such as cardboard, garden waste and glass. Please check your local authority’s website to ensure which bins you should have and contact them if any are missing. You are required to put your bins out on the street so that they can be collected. Your local authority’s website will advise of when your bins will be collected.

If you have a bulk waste item that doesn’t fit in the bin you will require to contact your local authority to ask them to uplift and dispose of it. Please note that some local authorities will charge a fee for uplift of a bulk item.

Neighbourliness
 

What is neighbourliness?
The hallmark of a thriving neighbourhood is good neighbourliness - but what exactly is that  in practice? Good neighbourliness is behaviour and actions which consider the right of others to have a peaceful and harmonious home life. It is refraining from activities which cause aggravation or nuisance to others.

Should an issue arise with a neighbour, the most appropriate action would be to approach them directly and discuss the issue. Most matters can be amicably resolved through open and transparent communication. A kind and understanding discussion will go a long way to resolve a matter to the satisfaction of all.

Good neighbourliness starts by respecting others and considering how actions impact others.

What is anti-social behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour includes a range of nuisance and criminal behaviours which cause distress to others. Examples of anti-social behaviour include:

  • Criminal behaviour involving serious incidents of violence or threats of violence;
  • Conviction or criminal charges of drug dealing or production of a controlled drug;
  • Nuisance noise (loud music/disturbances);
  • Threatening or abusive behaviour;
  • Threats (verbal or written);
  • Dog fouling;
  • Vandalism;
  • Hate crime;
  • Wilful fire-raising.

What should you do about anti-social behaviour?
You should report any incident about you, or any member of your household, to the Customer First Centre or your housing officer. They’ll record it and we will investigate according to our anti-social behaviour policy. If a crime has been committed against you or a member of your household, you should also contact Police Scotland to report this on telephone number 101, or 999 in the event of an emergency.

Your housing officer might require to speak with other neighbours to see if they have been affected by the anti-social behaviour you are describing to get what is called corroboration. In doing so, we’ll never confirm to them who made the original complaint. We’ll speak with the person the behaviour or conduct has been reported against and take the most appropriate action. We won’t tell the alleged accused person who made the complaint against them and will keep you fully updated throughout this process on the progress of the investigation into the incident.

What happens if the anti-social behaviour doesn’t stop?
Our anti-social behaviour officers are on hand to deal with more serious types and persistent cases of anti-social behaviour. Officers work closely with Police Scotland and our legal team to deal with these types of cases. We will always try and work with all individuals, to try and support them to stop acting in an anti-social manner, however where this doesn’t work, we can issue tenancy warnings and, as a last resort, we may be required to take legal action to stop the behaviour.

The antisocial behaviour is serious. What should I do?
If you or any member of your household are subjected to a serious act of antisocial behaviour or feel attacked or threatened, you should -

  • Contact the emergency services on 999 and ask for the police;
  • Report it to us through the Customer First Centre, your housing officer, or online services.

Health and wellbeing
 

Social work
Within each local authority area, social work services have a statutory duty to ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable children, adults and older people. They also support people to live independently and to exercise choice about the way they live.

Social work services include:

  • Adults and older people;
  • Children and family;
  • Mental health;
  • Learning disabilities;
  • Services for carers;
  • Criminal justice;
  • Homelessness;
  • Drugs, alcohol, or other substance misuse problems.

You or a member of your household can request access to a service by contacting your local authority social work department. This is usually done by phone, email or by completing an online form. You will find details of all local authority social work services departments here. If you feel that you require support with this, please contact the Customer First Centre or your housing officer, who will be happy to help.

Where there are vulnerable or at-risk adults or children identified by Wheatley Group or our partners such as Police Scotland or Scottish Fire and Rescue, then a referral may be made to Social Work. Please note that that Wheatley Group or our partners do not require your permission to make this referral.

To receive a formalised package of care, social work require to carry out an assessment of you or your household member’s needs. Social work will give priority to those with substantial or critical levels of needs. The social work assessment outcome may be that you or your household member do not qualify for a service from them, however they should signpost you to other agencies who can support or provide advice and assistance.

In Scotland all local authorities offer Self Directed Support (SDS), also known as personalisation. Social work will complete their assessment, and if approved, you or your household member will be given a budget to spend on your care and support needs. You can spend this budget yourself choosing your own support providers, or you can let your local authority do this for you. An example of a support provider is Wheatley Care, who provide support services to a wide range of customers.

Scotland’s service directory
Scotland’s Service Directory allows you to enter a post code to locate the following services:

  • Accident and emergency and minor injury units;
  • Dental services;
  • GP practices;
  • Health and wellbeing services;
  • Hospitals;
  • Opticians;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Sexual health clinics.

The NHS inform website has information on healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers.

Health information
Please use the NHS Inform website which provides health information in different languages and formats.

Registering with a GP
It is important that you register yourself and all members of your household with a local doctor (also referred to as a GP, standing for General Practitioner). Please use Scotland’s Service Directory as per above to find your local GP practices.

Some GP practices have an online application form on their website, whereas others will require you to go into the practice to complete paperwork. If you require an interpreter, advise the GP practice so they can arrange this for you. If you feel you require assistance to register with a GP, then your housing officer can assist with this.

If you, or a member of your household, are registering with a GP practice in the UK for the first time, then your medical records won’t be accessed from abroad. Medical records from another GP practice in the UK will be transferred to your new practice (NHS Scotland, 2022).

Registering with a dentist
It is also important that you register yourself and all members of your household with a dentist. Please use Scotland’s Service Directory as per above to find your local dentist practices. If you require an interpreter, ask your dental practice if a translation service is available to you.

Please note that not all dentists provide free NHS dental treatment, and if you were to register at a practice that doesn’t, then you would need to fund private treatment.

NHS treatment is free, at no cost for the following individuals:

  • Those aged under 26;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Mothers until their baby is 12-months old;
  • Those receiving certain benefits (please check online for further details).

Those not entitled to free NHS treatment are required to pay 80% of the cost, to a maximum £384 per treatment. Your dentist should discuss and agree costs before proceeding with any treatment. Your yearly check-up and examination have no charge.

Medicine (prescriptions) and pharmacies
If you are prescribed medication, then you will be given a prescription which you can take to any pharmacy to collect. Prescriptions are free of charge in Scotland.

You can also attend at any pharmacy for advice regarding a minor illness. You usually don’t need an appointment and the pharmacist or trained member of the pharmacy team will give information, provide medicine if necessary, or refer to another healthcare professional.

Urgent care/emergency care
For urgent care or advice when your GP, pharmacy or dental practice is closed, please contact NHS 24 on telephone number 111. If English isn’t your first or preferred language, then there is a translation service available.

In an emergency care situation or if you or a member of your household are really unwell, then please contact the emergency services on telephone number 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Mental health
The NHS Inform website has information regarding mental health conditions and provides a range of self-help guides.

It is important to speak to your GP if you are experiencing any mental health issues, as they will be able to support you and direct/refer you to the most appropriate form of tailored support to suit your circumstances and needs.

For support or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can contact NHS 24 on telephone number 111, 24 hours per day to speak with their mental health hub.

If someone is advising you of their intent to take their own life, please contact the emergency services immediately on telephone number 999 and ask for the police. This will allow for a welfare check to be conducted on the person as a matter of urgency.

Isolation and loneliness
Please contact your housing officer if you are feeling isolated or lonely in your new property. Our housing officer can refer you to our internal wraparound support services or signpost you to external services. These services can assist you and members of your household settle in to your new property, build social networks and access learning opportunities, training and employment.

Other options you may wish to consider are -

  • Calling a friend, family member, counsellor or health professional to discuss your feelings;
  • Contacting the Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone number) or by emailing jo@samaritans.org
  • Join a group or a club that focuses on something you enjoy. Please see New Scots Connect Map below;
  • Connecting with the outside world by getting out into nature.

New Scots Connect Map
The Scottish Refugee Council’s New Scots Connect Map allows you to locate support, information and groups in your local area.

Alcohol and drugs
There are lots of organisations who offer support if you are concerned about your own or a household member’s alcohol or drug intake. Please use Scotland’s Service Directory to find services in your local area. Services are free and are confidential.

Problem gambling
If you feel that you may have a problem with gambling, please visit the NHS Inform website where there is a short questionnaire, which will give an indication if you require further support. There are lots of organisations who support people with problem gambling. Please use Scotland’s Service Directory to find services in your local area. Services are free and are confidential.

Safety and wellbeing
 

Domestic abuse
Domestic abuse is an incident, or a pattern of incidents, committed by a partner (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partner (Police Scotland, 2022a).

Domestic abuse can include:

  • Verbal abuse including being threatened, name calling or derogatory remarks;
  • Emotional abuse, including controlling what you do, where you go and who you speak to, accusing you of cheating, or not allowing you to see your family or friends (isolation);
  • Threatening your children or threatening to report you to authorities over your parenting abilities;
  • Threatening to expose your sexual orientation;
  • Sharing or threatening to share intimate images of you with family, friends or work colleagues;
  • Stalking or harassment, which includes unwanted attention through either telephone, text messages or email, or physically turning up unannounced at your home address, place of work, or any other location you attend on a regular basis;
  • Physical abuse, including being hit, kicked, punched, burned, bitten, or have objects thrown at you;
  • Rape and being forced into sexual acts against your will.

If you are in fear for your safety, then please contact the emergency services on telephone number 999 and ask for the police immediately, who are there to help. If it is no longer safe for you to remain in your property, then emergency accommodation can be provided by your local authority homeless team, or if you are female, then through Women’s Aid, who offer refuge (a safe place to stay) on a female-only basis.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please let the Customer First Centre or your housing officer know, we are here to help and will offer supports as necessary from our Wheatley wraparound services. Our specialist Group Protection Team will work alongside partner agencies to tie you into any necessary support as required. We offer a Safe and Secure service, where we can discuss safety planning and offer equipment such as video doorbells.

The Women’s Aid agencies below offer specialised support to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women:

AreaNamePhone
number
Emailwebsite
EdinburghShakti Women's aid0131 475 2399info@shaktiedinburgh
.co.uk
https://shaktiedinburgh.co.uk/
GlasgowHemat Gryffe Women's Aid0141 353 0859womensaid@hematgryffe
.org.uk
www.hematgryffe.org.uk/


If your relationship has broken down due to domestic abuse and you have a visa to stay in the UK as the spouse/partner of someone who is a British citizen or has settled in the UK (including as a refugee) you may be entitled to support. There is an immigration application process specifically for victims of domestic abuse who are in this situation. This application can be complex, and it is important to get specialist legal advice to assist with the application. Just Right Scotland can help you navigate the immigration process. Alternatively, you can find a solicitor to help you through the Law Society of Scotland.

If you are unable to support yourself, you can apply through the ‘Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession’ and may be able to access public funds (up to 3 months) whilst you are waiting on your application for settlement in the UK. Your legal specialist will be able to support with this process.

Honour based abuse/forced marriage
Police Scotland (2021) defines honour based abuse as:
“The terms honour based abuse, honour crime and Izzat embrace a variety of incidents or crimes of violence (mainly but not exclusively against women), including physical abuse, sexual violence, abduction, forced marriage, imprisonment and murder where the person is being punished by their family or community. They are punished for actually, or allegedly, undermining what the family or community believes to be the correct code of behaviour. In transgressing this, the person shows that they have not been properly controlled to conform by their family and this is to the shame of the family. Honour crime may be considered by the perpetrators as justified to protect or restore the honour of the family”

Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence. Police Scotland (2021) defines forced marriage as:
“A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of some adults at risk and children and young people under 16, cannot) consent to the marriage and some element of duress is involved.”

If you are a victim of honour based abuse or are being forced to marry or have been forced to marry, then help is available. If you are in fear for your safety, then contact the police by phoning 999. Please let the Customer First Centre or your housing officer know so that we can offer supports. Please also refer to domestic abuse section above.

Hate crime
 

A hate crime is any crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated (wholly or partly) by malice or ill will towards a social group (Police Scotland, 2022b).

There are seven groups of protected characteristics currently covered by hate crime legislation in Scotland as follows:

  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Transgender identity
  • Age
  • Variations in sex characteristics

Hate crime or hate incidents can take many forms, including:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Harassment
  • Bullying or intimidation
  • Physical attacks
  • Threats of violence
  • Online abuse
  • Damage to property

Please report any incidents of hate crime to the police. You can report a hate crime in various ways, including:

If you are a victim or witness a hate crime and do not feel comfortable reporting it directly to the police, you can visit a third party reporting centre to make the report. Third party reporting centres have staff who have been trained to assist people in submitting a report to the police.

Please notify the Customer First Centre or your housing officer if you have been a victim of a hate crime. We will offer supports as necessary from our Wheatley wraparound services and will work alongside our partner agencies to ensure you receive all support required. Incidents of hate crime are escalated to our anti-social behaviour team and dealt with under the most severe category of anti-social behaviour within our policy – Category A.

Female genital mutilation (FGM)
 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, altered, injured or parts removed for non-medical reasons (WHO, 2020). It is also known as female circumcision or cutting, and by other terms, such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan among others (NHS, 2021). It is an extremely harmful practice which can have devastating short and long term health consequences.

The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 means that it is a criminal offence to have female genital mutilation carried out in Scotland or abroad. The maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment (Scottish Government, 2022).

If you are concerned for yourself or any girl who may be at risk of female genital mutilation:

  • Contact the emergency services on 999 and ask for the police if you or someone you know is at immediate risk, or are concerned that you or someone you know might be taken overseas for the purpose of female genital mutilation
  • Contact the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) on 0800 028 3550 (24-hour helpline)
  • Contact the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline on 0800 027 1234 (24-hour helpline)
  • Contact the Customer First Centre, your housing officer, teacher or any health professional.

If you have had female genital mutilation carried out, then you can receive help from a specialist gynaecologist or FGM service. Please contact your GP or discuss with your midwife or any other health professional to find out about specialist services located in your area.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI)
 

Scotland has a rich history of the promotion of equality and diversity within our communities, which includes equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals. Same sex marriage was made legal in 2014 through the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 and The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 allows same-sex couples to adopt jointly.

There are various LGBTI organisations operating across Scotland. LGBT Health and Wellbeing offer support which is designed for LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees.

Useful contacts
 

Emergency contact details

Emergency services: Call 999 on the telephone and ask for the police, an ambulance or the fire service depending on the nature of your emergency.

Police: To report a crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response, please call 101 on the telephone.
The website for Police Scotland can be found here: www.scotland.police.uk

NHS 24: If you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation, you can contact NHS24 on 111 on the telephone.
The website for NHS24 can be found here: www.nhs24.scot

National grid: If you smell gas in or near your home, call 0800 111 999.

Domestic abuse support
Scottish Women’s Aid
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
Scottish Women’s Right Centre
Hemat Gryffe
Shakti Women’s Aid
ASSIST
Fear Free
Abused Men in Scotland

General support
Citizens Advice Bureau

Human trafficking support
Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA)

LGBTI support
LGBT Health and Wellbeing
LGBT Youth Scotland

Mental health support
Breathing Space
Saheliya
Samaritans

Rape and sexual assault support

Rape Crisis Scotland

Refugee support
AMINA – Muslim Women’s Resource Centre
Scottish Refugee Council
Migrant Help UK

Stalking support
National Stalking Helpline
Action Against Stalking

Support  for children
Childline
Action for Children Scotland
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

Victim support
Victim Support Scotland