Scottish Government commits over £350m to support communities through COVID-19
The Scottish Government has now committed more than £350 million to support communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since March, this funding has enabled councils, charities and community groups to be flexible and respond swiftly to help people impacted economically or socially, including those struggling to access food at the height of lockdown.
The package included over £120m to tackle food insecurity, with £12.6m making sure 175,000 children and young people were able to access free school meals over the summer holidays.
A total of £22m was made available through the Third Sector Resilience Fund, as part of £80m allocated to third sector and community organisations. As outlined in the Programme for Government, £25m will now be focused on a new Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme.
This will include business support and investment to help organisations adapt to new ways of working and become sustainable, as they continue to support people and communities in response to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
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.”
She added: “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, CEO of The Food train charity, added: “The funding provided to Food Train allowed us to respond to a 70% 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.”