Cash grants from £1.6m fund 'to help tackle reliance on food banks'

Organisations can apply for up to £200,000 to help support households in crisis.

Scottish Government: Cash grants to help tackle food insecurity announced as part of £1.6m government fund Getty Images

Organisations at the frontline of helping people facing poverty and hardship can apply for a share of government funding to help tackle food insecurity.

The £1.6m Cash-First Fund is aimed at public sector and third sector partnerships to deliver cash grants for food and other essentials, helping to reduce the need for food parcels.

Up to £200,000 will be made available to partnerships including community food initiatives, local authority teams, and money advice services.

Social justice secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Taking a cash-first approach to tackling food insecurity means people can access the essentials they need while maintaining dignity.

“When this is delivered collaboratively, with advice and support to strengthen people’s income, it can also help prevent future hardship.

“Local public and third sector services know their communities best and are well-placed to support households in crisis, so I encourage them to work together and apply for the Cash-First Fund.

“Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm is a critical mission for this government and our actions are already making a difference to households, including some of our most vulnerable children, across Scotland.

“The Cash-First Fund is another important milestone on this journey and our learning from this will take us another step closer towards a Scotland without the need for food banks.”

Head of Scotland at the Trussell Trust, Polly Jones said: “Cash-first partnerships will play a key role in taking us closer to a Scotland where no one needs to use a food bank.

“We are delighted the Scottish Government is launching this innovative pilot, supporting public sector bodies and community organisations to work together to ensure people get the support they need in a crisis and to reduce the need for food banks in their communities.”

Coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, Sabine Goodwin said: “This funding provides a critical opportunity to cement local cash first actions aimed at reducing food insecurity. Ending the need for food banks undoubtedly requires strategic vision and close collaboration at a local level.

“We very much welcome the Scottish Government’s support of local partnerships and the prioritisation of a cash first approach to food insecurity.”

Public and third sector partnerships are invited to apply to the Cash-First Fund by 5pm on Friday September 1.

Up to eight successful partnerships will each be provided with up to £200,000 over two years to deliver activities that improve urgent local access to cash in a crisis.

Scotland is the first nation in the UK to publish a plan towards ending the need for food banks, and this ambition is shared by food bank networks.

Anyone who is struggling financially can get advice through their local authority, a local advice service, Social Security Scotland or by visiting the Scottish Government’s cost of living website.

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