(left to right) Morag MacDonald and Jacquie Mather.
A hugely successful housing career is coming to an end on a high note for one half of Melville Housing Association’s award-winning welfare benefits advice team.
Jacquie Mather, who has been with Melville since it was set up in 1995, has announced that she’ll be retiring at the end of the year having helped 119 households claim benefits worth £839,000 (an average of more than £7,100 for each household) in the last 12 months alone.
“Jacquie has played an invaluable role in Melville’s success over the past 25 years, helping hundreds of tenants,” said Melville’s Chief Operating Officer Morag MacDonald. “Her help, support and expert knowledge has made a huge difference not just to the finances of tenants and their families in what are typically difficult circumstances, but in many cases with related well-being.”
One tenant who received help from Jacquie and the welfare benefits service this year said;
“We were advised about benefits to claim that we were unaware of after I was retired from work on ill health grounds and my husband had to leave work to care for me. We would not have known which benefits to claim otherwise. The support I got really helped with my anxiety as well and I would absolutely recommend this service to other Melville tenants.”
Feedback for the service has been overwhelmingly positive, with customer satisfaction levels of 100% and 9 out of 10 saying the help they received from Jacquie and colleague Andrew Collinge improved their well-being, leaving them less anxious and stressed.
“These results are tremendous, and a real testament to the expertise and dedication of both of our welfare advisers,” continued Morag. “Jacquie’s retirement will leave big shoes to fill but in Andrew’s capable hands I have no doubt the service will go from strength to strength.”
The search for Jacquie’s successor has now begun and Melville hopes to have a new adviser in place in the next couple of months. Jacquie, meanwhile, will be spending her well-deserved retirement indulging in her twin passions of travel and walking.
Melville tenants who need benefits advice, help appealing incorrect benefits decisions or digital skills training should visit www.melville.org.uk or phone 0131 654 2733 and speak to the housing section. Help is also available from independent organisations such as Citizen’s Advice.