I’m really looking forward to welcoming the SNP conference to Glasgow this weekend.

Once again, thousands of SNP delegates, exhibitors and journalists will gather at the SECC for three days – bringing a fairly substantial boost to the city economy with them in the process.

There’s certainly a huge amount to debate and discuss.

There’s no getting away from Brexit, much as I’d like to, as it continues to have repercussions across so many areas of our economy and our society.

Labour and the Tories have been holding their party conferences in recent days – and like me, many of you have no doubt been watching with mild disbelief as both parties tear themselves apart on the issue.

At this weekend’s SNP conference, delegates will have a full and frank discussion about the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations, and how we can best protect our close economic links with Europe.

But there’s also going to be a substantive discussion on a range of other policy issues. I’ll be laying out the next steps in delivering our programme for government, and the many ambitious plans that we have made for the next few years.

One of our key priorities is making Scotland fairer, and today - moving away from conferences - I wanted to highlight an important new anti-poverty campaign for older people that the Scottish government has launched this week.

This campaign could make a real difference to you or to someone you know – so please consider carefully whether it could be of benefit.

Poverty for older people has reduced a lot over the last decade, but for too many in Scotland, it is still a sad part of daily life – affecting an estimated 140,000 older people.

The reasons behind poverty are of course often very complex. A lot is said in the media about how benefit cuts hit the poorest hardest – and that is of course a huge issue.

But another factor, which is perhaps surprising to some, is that even when people are eligible for certain benefits, a significant number aren’t claiming them.

This is actually a lot more common than you may think. To take one example, only around 60% of people who are eligible for Pension Credit actually claim it – meaning that thousands of people in Scotland are missing out on an average of £2000 a year.

Most of the financial support that older people could receive is the responsibility of the UK Government – and it’s disappointing that they have never made any real effort to raise awareness of what some people could be missing out on.

For some time, the Scottish government has been working with a variety of organisations to increase benefit uptake, and this week we’ve launched a new campaign with Citizens Advice Scotland targeted specifically at over-65s.

There are many reasons why older people miss out on support.

Some people may simply not be aware of what benefits are available.

Perhaps their circumstances change – they have a period of ill-health, or take on new caring responsibilities - and they’re unaware that this could make them eligible for additional support.

Or perhaps they are put off the application process itself – believing that it is more complicated than it actually is.

All-too-often, some older people believe that benefits just aren’t for them – that they’re “getting by” and don’t need any extra help.

People who have paid their taxes all their lives - who may be providing regular childcare to their grandkids, and who are often volunteering in their community – shouldn’t be embarrassed about getting financial support they need.

That’s why the new campaign has been called You’ve Earned It – because they have.

There is a wide variety of extra support which pensioners, depending on their circumstances, could be eligible for – including Pension Credit, Council Tax Reduction, Attendance Allowance, Cold Weather Payments and Funeral Payments.

If you think that you – or anyone you know – may be eligible for support, then contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

They’ll be happy to carry out a benefits check and talk you through your entitlements – and they’ll even support you in making any applications.

It’s safe to say your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be good at this – they help more than a quarter of a million people a year in Scotland, and the help that they have given on benefit uptake has resulted in a total financial gain to those people of more than £144m.

But with around six out of ten older people not claiming pension credit, there are many, many more people that we need to reach.

So my plea to everyone reading this today is this - if you know of an older person who you think might be missing out on support, encourage them to get in touch with their local CAB.

A short appointment could potentially mean more pounds in the pockets of our pensioners, and make life a bit easier for someone who might be struggling. They’ve got nothing to lose - but perhaps a lot to gain.