Children’s charity warns it could run out of cash for families

Aberlour said the Covid-19 pandemic had drained its fund for providing emergency grants to families.

A Scottish children’s charity has warned its urgent assistance fund could run out by the end of June.

Aberlour provides grants to some of Scotland’s most vulnerable families.

The charity said if demand continues at its current level, it will run out of cash by the end of the month.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began, requests for urgent funding have increased by 1385%.

In the last 12 weeks, the charity has provided more than £330,000 worth of grants over 1049 applications.

The average amount of grant has also risen from £100 to £300.

Liz Nolan, deputy director at Aberlour, said: “We are currently paying out an average of £28,000 per week and applications to our urgent assistance fund have dramatically increased by 385%.

“At this rate, the fund will be completely drained by the end of June.

“We’ve received applications from people who have never needed our support before, from families who have lost their jobs, have children to feed and are having to wait weeks to access universal credit.”

She added: “We are providing cash, rather than vouchers, direct to families as a means to support themselves.

“Most families do not have the means to travel to the large out-of-town shops where vouchers can be redeemed.

“We trust families to do the best for their children.”

The grants have directly supported 2245 children in 1007 families.

Single-parent families have been hit hardest, with 71% of all applications coming from those households.

Homes in Glasgow have received the most assistance at 41% – four times more than any other local authority.

Every local authority area in Scotland bar the Western Isles has seen applications submitted to the charity.

Ms Nolan raised the case of one mother affected by the switch to universal credit.

She said: “When the mother lost her job in March, she faced a five-week wait to access universal credit, meanwhile there was no money.

“Just a week later the gas supply was cut off as they were behind on payments, leaving them with no central heating and only one electric heater between the whole family, including their two-year-old who suffered from bronchitis.

“Their only access to hot water was the kettle, making it difficult to heat a bath, and when the family washing machine broke down it was the last straw.

“We really don’t want to have to turn away families in such dire need.”

The charity is urging anyone who has the means to donate to do so on the Aberlour website.

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