Council support for foodbanks and kids

Published: Friday 24 November 2023

This image shows a view of the council HQ with a cost of living badge also applied to the image

Foodbanks and vulnerable children are to benefit from funds released as part of the council’s cost-of-living support.

South Lanarkshire councillors agreed a total of £173,000 to be spent on a range of payments and additional ways of providing debt and other financial support.

Council Leader Joe Fagan said: “As a council we have always worked closely with community groups and our public sector partners to offer a wide range of supports to our residents who need it most, and that help was especially important during the Covid pandemic. 

“I am pleased that the council is now able to offer further assistance, but I have to say that it’s a matter of deep regret that this is still needed in our society. The cost of living crisis in particular continues to harm individuals and families.”

The council’s Executive Committee agreed to add to existing supports by making payments of £4,000 each to the area’s seven foodbanks. The £28,000 will help the foodbanks keep running by contributing to utility costs, volunteer expenses and other items such as insurance.

The additional contributions were agreed after councillors heard that 12,929 households were referred for emergency food aid to food banks in South Lanarkshire in the first six months of 2023-24 – a 29% increase on the year before.

Payments of £100 will also be provided to the area’s looked-after children, through fosterers and other carers, with a further £40,000 additional one-off payment to Who Cares Scotland so they can increase support for care-experienced young people over the festive period.

The committee also agreed to a further print run of 20,000 copies of an advice booklet called Money Is Not The Only Problem which is distributed free through libraries and other public places.

Councillors noted much of the support provided by the council went through the Money Matters Advice Service (MMAS), which through 2023-24 and 2024-25 will distribute 8,600 £50 cash vouchers through the Financial Wellbeing Support Fund to people experiencing food and fuel poverty.

The MMAS is estimated to have provided a total financial gain for clients of more than £12 million in the first six months of 2023-24, including through debt and other advice. The team also assists with grants through the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Other council assistance during the cost-of-living crisis has included Council Tax Reduction awards and Housing Benefit, as well as support for council tenants through the Tenancy Sustainment Fund.