Councils, charities and communities share £350m in coronavirus support
The Scottish Government has spent more £350 million on supporting communities throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The money has allowed councils, charities and community groups to support people in trouble, including those struggling to access food during lockdown. £120 million has been used to combat food insecurity, including £12.6m providing free school meals for 175,000 children.
A further £22m funding was made available through the Third Sector Resilience Fund, as part of £80m allocated to third sector and community organisations. A further £25m will invested in a new Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme helping organisations adapt to new ways of working and become sustainable.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “We have now invested more than the initial £350m communities funding we announced in March to support people through this public health crisis.
“Our funds have supported people shielding, or struggling with food insecurity, or maintaining free school meals. In addition over 14,000 jobs were safeguarded with £22m funding through the Third Sector Resilience Fund, and funding was made available for the new Connecting Scotland project to get people online and stay connected.
“This significant funding package has been instrumental in protecting the health, welfare and wellbeing of people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisations across all sectors have stepped up and worked together to ensure our communities are supported throughout this time and I want to thank them for all their efforts.
“Working collaboratively with local government, the third sector, business and communities has produced inspiring, collaborative, locally-based responses to the pandemic and we will learn from that as we continue into recovery.”
Michelle Carruthers, of the charity Food Train, added: “The funding provided to Food Train allowed us to respond to a 70 per cent increase in older people needing help to access food during the pandemic.
“Food Train has been helping more than 3,200 older people during the pandemic. The funds were used to provide temporary extra delivery vehicles, extra local staff, more shopping boxes and safety kits for the staff and volunteer teams to help keep everyone safe.
“We were also able to set up Covid-19 check-in calls, making more than 9,000 calls in five months where approximately a third of the members getting regular calls were shielding.”