£1.5 million to support recovery process

Image shows a jar of coins next to 3 piles of coins with two green shoots coming out of the top.

Argyll and Bute Council will invest £1.5 million of funding to further support local economic recovery from the impact of Covid.

A series of measures, approved by Councillors will provide ongoing support as communities across the region cope with the challenges of the current cost of living crisis.

Argyll and Bute will receive £1.449 million from the Scottish Government’s £80 million Local Authority COVID Economic Recovery (LACER) Fund.

A number of initiatives will benefit from the funding. They include:

  • Scotland Loves Local Argyll and Bute gift cards (£797,720). Households in receipt of Council Tax reduction will receive the gift cards worth £120. The cards are available to use in a range of independent and national shops across Argyll and Bute.
  • Gypsy traveller community support (£10,000). A number of gypsy traveller families live within Argyll and Bute. Funding will support engagement with the traveller community on the impact of cost of living increases, fuel poverty and the quality of facilities available to them for everyday living.
  • Fuel poverty support (£40,000). Advice agency ALIenergy already provides a fuel poverty service to local householders. Following the recent energy crisis, the service has experienced a surge in demand. Funding will cover the costs of an Energy Advisor for 12 months to support around 40 additional families per month.
  • A further £10,000 of funding will top up the Council’s credit with the Fuel Bank Foundation, allowing additional top up vouchers and bulk heating fuel deliveries for vulnerable people.
  • Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau/Bute Advice Centre (£80,000) – Both services are experiencing a significant increase in enquiries due to cost of living concerns across communities. The two agencies will each receive £40,000 to provide additional staffing, support development of volunteer advisors and help advisor training.
  • New Enterprise Support Grant (£120,000) Funding will support new start-up businesses with individual grants of £3000 available.
  • Small Business Development Grant (£200,000). Funding will support small businesses with individual grants ranging from £500 up to £5,000 across a range of areas including; green initiatives, enhancing their digital presence or marketing and improving efficiencies.
  • Argyll and Bute Shop Local Card (£40,000). Funding will support the continuation of the scheme for a further two years to keep local spending.
  • Sector Support Grant (£150,000). Funding will help projects in severely hit sectors develop new initiatives. They include tourism and hospitality, food, drink and retail.
  • Covid Support/Regulatory services recovery (£70,000). Funding will support two existing Council posts for another year as officers providing Covid public health advice to local businesses.

Fergus Murray, Head of Development and Economic Growth:

“Our communities and local businesses have shown great resilience over the last two years. The difficulties created by the pandemic cannot however, be underestimated and many people are now facing severe cost of living challenges.

We are working hard to support those who most need help in the hardest hit areas. The Council has made a great deal of progress in recent months to provide funds for vulnerable residents and businesses.

The new funding is welcomed and will deliver much-needed additional support as we continue the recovery process.”

Details on how to apply for the grants will be available on the council website in due course.

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