Community organisations handed £350k to help during cost of living crisis

The funding will go towards projects aimed at easing financial pressure on 'vulnerable' groups.

Glasgow community organisations handed £350,000 to help during cost of living crisis iStock

More than £350,000 will be handed to community organisations to help citizens struggling with the cost of living, including extra cash to support ‘welcome places’.

Glasgow City Council has agreed to share the money between a number of ongoing projects, which aim to ease financial pressures on “vulnerable” groups.

The extra funding follows initial awards which totalled just over £1m, as city treasurer Ricky Bell, SNP, said the crisis continues to have a “disproportionate” impact on people already on low incomes.

More than £100,000 has been given to financial advice service GEMAP Scotland to provide support officers in primary schools. They will offer money and benefits advice to parents.

Initially, the funding had been allocated for officers in ASL (Additional Support for Learning) schools but there was “a low take up rate” during a pilot.

A number of charities helping women fleeing domestic violence to “make a house a home” will share an extra £50,000 due to “strong demand.”

Support to lone parents, particularly with a disabled parent or carer or child, has also been extended, with £75,000 awarded to One Parent Families Scotland.

And Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector has been given almost £79,000 to continue providing ‘welcome places’ — also known as warm banks — where people struggling with soaring heating bills can go to get away from the cold and access support.

Speaking at yesterday’s city administration committee, council leader Susan Aitken said ‘welcome places’ had been “an enormous success” but it is “not something we want to embed as a permanent response, because hopefully they won’t be required to the same degree in the future”.

The current economic situation is “stark”, a council report stated, and citizens “still struggling to manage the impact of the pandemic are being challenged further with inflation at a 40-year high.”

Changes to cross-border trade, the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues and energy price increases are also having “a huge impact across the city,” the report added.

It said: “This is felt by all our citizens, but particularly keenly by those that were already living in low-income households who are experiencing the deepening of existing inequalities.”

Councillor Philip Braat, Labour, asked what support could be provided to people who “don’t quite reach that target to receive benefits” but, with “continuing inflationary increases”, will “in real terms be pushed into in-work poverty.”

Councillor Bell said the issue had been considered but the “challenge is the limited amount of money that the council has to be able to support.”

He added: “We have taken a decision very carefully about how we target that support and I think that probably is around those people who are in the most financial hardship.”

“We see evidence that there are more and more people who would be described as working poor. We see them in queues around the pantries, foodbanks. It is a real concern but we are very much restrained by the limited amount of money that the council has.”

Just over £1m has been awarded to organisations already, with the council previously giving £500,000 to fund financial inclusion support officers in schools.

One Parent Families Scotland was initially awarded £150,000 and Glasgow Disability Alliance and Differabled shared £76,666 to support families as “feedback identified the complexity of the benefit system in relation to disability benefits.”

Charities supporting women “faced with the traumatic experience of fleeing violence and then setting up home” were given £200,000 to buy items.

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