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Helping communities through the pandemic

Published: 17 Mar 2021 11:21

More than £1 billion invested over the last year.

A combined total of £1 billion has been allocated to help local communities through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and to build resilience in public services in the past year.

Of this, more than £550 million has been committed through the Communities Funding Package – launched a year ago this week. This has been distributed across councils, local services and initiatives supporting those in need.

Key elements include:

  • more than £140 million on tackling food insecurity, with over £51 million to enable the continued provision of Free School Meals during school closures and holiday periods
  • help for local councils to meet people’s needs over the winter period, with £40 million of financial insecurity funding and £30 million to help people impacted by COVID restrictions and guidance. In conjunction with the Freephone national assistance helpline, councils have provided support to access and afford essentials, including food and fuel
  • almost £80 million awarded to third sector and community organisations through the Wellbeing Fund, Supporting Communities Fund and the Third Sector Resilience Fund
  • the continuing Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme, which is expected to make £44 million of awards by this summer

On top of the £550 million communities funding package, a further £479 million has been awarded to local councils to meet demand for local services, and build resilience across the sector.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell said:

“We know that the impacts of the pandemic have been felt unevenly across Scotland, with many of the most disadvantaged or marginalised bearing the heaviest weight.

“This significant investment has helped protect people and communities during these unprecedented times.

“We have worked hand in hand with councils, third sector partners and communities themselves to direct funding where it was needed most and to ensure that support is there when people need it most.

“I want to thank everyone involved, right across Scotland, in this unprecedented response – demonstrating what a caring country Scotland is and protecting people.”

Michelle Carruthers, Chief Executive of Food Train, which received funding as part of the strategic national investment in order to continue delivering food parcels to older people, said:

“There is no doubt in my mind: the support funding we have received from the Scottish Government during the pandemic has driven our ability to respond to the 70% rise in need for our grocery shopping service. 

“The pandemic shone a harsh spotlight on food insecurity issues facing older people which Food Train has responded to through increasing our regional coverage of grocery deliveries, increased meals shared via our Meal Makers project and a new service, Food Train Connects, matching volunteers and older people in areas where we don’t have a branch.”

Background:

The Communities Funding mapping tool highlights investment across Scotland, including by local authority.