Challenge Poverty

Welcome to the webpage of Argyll and Bute’s Child Poverty Action Group

Here you will find lots of information and advice on things that matter to us all, like fuel, housing, benefits, free school meals, free period products and Advice Services.  If you can’t find what you need on this page, follow one of the links like “Worried About Money?” and find more information and support.  We are working to support our communities and families and tackling need in these challenging times.

Our Vision

We want an Argyll and Bute where no-one lives in poverty. Everyone should be able to achieve their potential and feel healthy, happy and valued. We want to be a place where everyone understands that tackling poverty is a shared responsibility. We believe that if we act locally, and in partnership, we can make a difference.

Action on Child Poverty

Argyll and Bute Council and the Highland Health Board; after consulting with children and young people in our schools, produced a Child Poverty Action Plan. You can find additional information about the plan here. We have also produced a  that is displayed in schools around the area.

Please tell us your views on the work of the Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Group, the local Child Poverty Action Plan or this website.  We welcome your views and participation and will listen to them when we are planning work related to tackling child poverty.

Some of these documents are not fully accessible. If you have trouble accessing them please contact for an alternative version.

What help is available?

Welfare Rights and Money Advice

Once again Advice Services across Argyll and Bute have managed to make a considerable difference in the lives of people who are struggling.  The table below shows the client gain from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 for the citizens of Argyll and Bute as £10,165,000. This money supported local families and was spent in the local economy, helping our businesses.  If you would like advice on any aspect of welfare rights, money management or debt, find options for assistance and contact details by visiting

client gain from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022
Organisation 2021/2022             (£)
Bute Advice Centre 1,866,000
Argyll and Bute Council Welfare Rights 2,729,000
ACHA Welfare Rights 4,192,000
Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau 1,068,000
ALIenergy 310,000
TOTAL 10,165,000


Education Benefits

We want to make it easier for people to get education benefits for their children. By matching information held on our council’s benefit system to that held in our education system, we have automated some payments of school clothing grants and free school meals. Together we are doing as much as we can to combat child poverty.

With the automation in 2020/2021 the Council paid £172,400 to citizens eligible for School Clothing Grants which is up from £167,200 the previous year which represents a 3% in the level of support delivered. In addition the number of free school meals provided by the Council increased by 164,000 to 1.14 million in 2019/2020 from the previous year. The total number of free school meals provided to Early Years, P1-7 and Secondary pupils in 2020/21 was 246,139 with a value of £559,809.

(The values for 20/21 do not include the payments that were made during school closures due to the covid pandemic.)

Free School Meals

School meals provide a hot, nutritious and tasty meal for children and young people across Argyll and Bute.

All children in primary 1 to 5 receive universal free school meals from January 2022. You are not automatically entitled to meal payments during holidays, any additional payments or a clothing grant - you must meet the income-based eligibility criteria and apply for these via the link below.  It is important that you continue to apply for free school meals because that application may qualify you for other benefits.

For more on the qualifying criteria and ways to claim the support check

Flexible Food Fund

The Argyll and Bute Flexible Food Fund (ABFFF) is aimed at tackling financial insecurity for adults and families across Argyll and Bute.

ABFFF offers financial support and wider confidential professional help to anyone suffering hardship. Working in partnership with the Community Food Forum, Bute Advice Centre and ALIenergy, households with low incomes and no access to cash savings can apply for immediate financial support. The fund will help support daily living expenses.

If the claimant engages with these services, a second payment will be made to contribute to a further months daily living expenses.

Applications to the fund can be made via the online application form above. If you need help or support to complete the form please call us on 01700 502784 and ask about the Argyll and Bute Flexible Food Fund.

Additional help

When claiming for the Flexible Food Fund, you will also be considered for a Crisis Grant to meet any immediate needs for help with daily living expenses.

Working with the Community Food Forum a referral route to ABFFF is also available through local foodbanks. This will ensure families with a genuine need are properly assessed for support and receive professional help.

Social Security Scotland

Social Security Scotland is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government. It’s responsible for delivering Scottish Government benefits with dignity, fairness, and respect.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and local authorities will also continue to deliver some benefits in Scotland. You can find information on Department for Work and Pensions benefits at

Social Security Scotland currently deliver the following benefits:

How Do I Apply?

Visit Benefits and Grants at to apply online.

You can also call freephone on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday) to complete an application over the phone or to request a paper application form.

If you need in-person support, you can arrange to speak with a Client Support Adviser at a location and time that suits you.

This includes:

  • at a venue in your local community
  • at your home
  • in a hospital or prison
  • via video call
  • telephone appointment

Client Support Advisers can answer queries about Social Security Scotland benefits, help you to complete online or paper application forms, offer other support such as identity and document verification and help with submitting change of circumstances information.

Client Support Advisers can also help refer people or provide information on other relevant services including the Scottish Government’s free independent advocacy service.

If you're a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND BSL app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

Domestic Abuse

In Scotland, as is the case all over the world, domestic abuse very often goes hand in hand with financial abuse. Financial abuse is a form of coercive control and is an offence under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. It prevents women having the resources to leave violent relationships and being able to support themselves and their children.

One answer to the old question: ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ becomes evident when we look at the statistics: for the vast majority of women, economic abuse happens alongside other forms of domestic abuse. This may include coercive control of finances (97% of domestic abuse victims), sabotage - such as the abuser showing up at the woman’s workplace or making her late to undermine her job - (89%), and financial exploitation (87%). There are many reasons why women don’t leave violent relationships, and fear for their safety and their children’s is one of the biggest. But financial insecurity also plays a key role in women’s decision-making. Disabled women will face additional barriers to leaving services, transport and available adapted homes, but also because their abusive partner is often their carer.

Domestic Abuse is an Economic Issue - for its Victims and for Society; CPAG; Dr Sara Reis; 06/12/2019

In Argyll and Bute the Housing Consortium prioritises women fleeing from domestic abuse and there are support services such as Women’s Aid and a range of advice services that can help with benefits and financial advice. The Argyll and Bute Violence against Women and Girls Partnership is working to support women experiencing domestic abuse and there is a range of guidance and advice on the Council’s Domestic Abuse webpage   /social-care-and-health/domestic-abuse

Free Period Products

The online ordering service for free period products provided by Hey Girls has now been extended to those in communities who cannot afford/access period products, not just school pupils.

Free period products can be accessed here

Fuel Poverty

44% of Argyll and Bute’s population spends more than 10% of their income to heat and light their homes. ALIenergy, a registered charity, helps people facing fuel poverty in a number of ways including: working in foodbanks helping those who are faced with choosing between eating and heating; working with volunteers, front-line staff and practitioners to recognise signs of fuel poverty; supporting people with the transition to digital, including online tariff comparisons and online Warm Home Discount applications; and providing a face to face service in people’s homes to help them make positive changes in their energy behaviours.

Workers engage with around 500 householders per year and savings can range from in the £100s, where clients have made small changes at home, up to £1000s. For information or advice call 01631 565 183, or email

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017

The Scottish Government introduced the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 to ensure Scotland is the best place in the world to grow up.  They felt that eradicating child poverty was vital because it can undermine the health, wellbeing and educational attainment of the children who experience it.  This act not only placed responsibility with the Government itself but also a duty on local authorities and health boards to report annually on activity they are taking, and will take, to reduce child poverty.  This was to be done by producing a local Child Poverty Action Plan by 30/06/2019 that was to be reviewed and updated annually until 2030.

In their guidance to local Councils and Health Boards, the Scottish Government asked them to consider how they could meet the following targets by 2030:

  • Less than 10% of children are in relative poverty
  • Less than 5% of children are in absolute poverty
  • Less than 5% of children are in combined low income and material deprivation
  • Less than 5% of children are in persistent poverty

Useful Contacts

Social Security Scotland

If you are a Social Security Scotland client and would like to speak to a helpline advisor to get information on benefits, please call 0800 182 2222.

If you are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can contact us via our national BSL video relay service Contact Scotland-BSL.


Tel: 01631 565 183


Address: Suite 1, Malin House, European Marine Science Park, Dunstaffnage, Oban, Argyll, Scotland PA37 1SZ

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram       

Argyll and Bute Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Bute Advice Service 

Contact us: For a free consultation - 01700 502784

Address: 5 King Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, PA20 0DD


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