Argyll and Bute Council has approved a package of funding support for a range of community-based projects to help the area’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The council has received £537,000 from the Scottish Government’s Flexible Fund scheme. The Fund enables councils and their partners, including Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership, to provide additional support, as communities across Scotland emerge from lockdown, with a particular emphasis on people at risk through health or social inequalities.
A range of projects, led by the council and its third sector partners will be supported, including measures to tackle child poverty. They include:
- Establishing school clothing banks to provide new clothing for children and additional school materials
- Free school meals top-up to help families on low incomes under threat of ‘holiday hunger’'
- A call blocker system designed to combat telephone fraud activity which sees scammers repeatedly targeting older people
- A fast-track small grants scheme offering awards of up to £500 to support the re-opening of village halls and other community venues and activities
- Support for voluntary groups providing starter packs including bedding, pots and crockery for people in need when entering new tenancies
- Internet access for homeless applicants to access services, appointments and home schooling support
Projects led by the council’s third sector partners will also receive funding. They include:
- Fuel vouchers for pre-payment energy customers who are often severely affected by fuel poverty
- Home Heating Support Fund providing householders with financial assistance with fuel debt and current usage
- Home Start Essentials Fund providing low income, single parent families with support for essential items such as cots, beds, prams, food and fuel
- Fuel support for people suffering from cancer who may have experienced a drop in income and require to spend more time at home during their treatment and recovery
In addition, council partners, charities and health agencies will deliver a series of roadshows across Argyll and Bute providing information and advice on issues such as debt, fuel advice, health and wellbeing.
Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for the Economy and Rural Growth: “The pandemic and ongoing restrictions on normal life have had a severe impact on our communities, particularly our more vulnerable citizens and those at risk through health or social inequalities. Tackling these inequalities including child poverty is a key priority for the council.
“The support which the council and its partners are able to offer via the Scottish Government’s Flexible Fund will be enormously valuable in helping assist those who really need help as we start to emerge from lockdown.”