Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on tackling financial insecurity over winter

Guidance to local authorities to help tackle financial insecurity and support households with food and fuel over the winter

Tools to support delivery

The National Helpline

The National Helpline was set up by Scottish Government as a resource to connect those who require help to local services. Once the caller is connected to the relevant local authority, call handlers can advise individuals on local sources of support or refer them on to other specialist services.

Maintaining an accurate picture of the local support available through the public sector, community organisations and local business offerings will be key to the ongoing effectiveness of the helplines.

Text phone service (0800 111 4114)

A text phone number is available to enable those who are hard of hearing to access the helpline. These will be routed to North Lanarkshire who will take details of the caller and pass them on to the relevant local authority.

Local partnership working

While local authorities will act as the key deliverer of this offer to tackle financial insecurity, it is important that Local Resilience Partnerships maintain situational awareness of how people are being supported and are able to assist in joining up services and identifying gaps.

Community Planning Partnerships, Third Sector Interfaces and Community Anchor Organisations will similarly continue to be important forums and partners as part of a coordinated response.

Funding for community and third sector activities

The Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme is in place, supporting organisations to continue to support people and communities in responding to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

A collection of digital maps has been produced to display the funding provided to support communities across Scotland affected by COVID-19.

Working with community food organisations

There is a well-established network of community food organisations across Scotland. Many organisations have adapted their activities due to COVID-19, others have paused work, and many have newly established to respond to food and other essential needs.

Community food organisations are able to provide a range of support including social and cultural opportunities and parcel, shopping and meal provision. Many are open to all and also provide food aid when needed. Care should be taken to reduce the need for food aid by providing income based support alongside food activities.
Nourish Scotland and the Dignity Peer Network have produced advice on how to maintain dignity in community food provision.

Recent research commissioned by the Poverty and Inequality Commission found that 91% of organisations surveyed were engaging with their local authority as part of the COVID-19 response. We know that local authorities are also working closely with national organisations like FareShare to ensure a coordinated approach to food provision and links to wider support.

  • FareShare is a charity that distributes surplus and donated food from the food industry to community organisations. They operate from four regional depots and have considerable reach, supporting organisations in every local authority area and delivering to locally coordinated food hubs.

  • The Food Train aims to prevent older people from becoming malnourished, including through the delivery of groceries. They have established a pairing service, connecting volunteers with older people to provide practical or social support.

Support with energy costs

Home Energy Scotland provide free, impartial advice across Scotland on reducing energy bills and making homes cheaper to heat.  They can also make referrals for financial assistance, where required.  Visit Home Energy Scotland  for more information or email  to find out more about working in partnership.

The Fuelbank Foundation work with national and local partners to provide same-day emergency energy pre-payment top ups, accompanied by easy to action advice with the aim of tackling self-disconnection. To find out about partners in your area or to become a partner, contact 

Deploying volunteers to support activity

Where local services and third sector organisations need additional volunteers the British Red Cross and Volunteer Scotland can identify volunteers in their area. This means that local authorities and their partners can decide when, where and how volunteers are deployed.

Local authorities can request the support of community reserve volunteers from the British Red Cross by emailing

No recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Migrants’ Rights and Entitlements to Local Authority Services and Support sets out the legal framework and good practice guidance to assist local authorities in meeting their statutory duties when working with people who have NRPF.  

There is also supplementary guidance to support local authorities in the context of Covid-19:

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