A range of measures will help support island communities as the cost of living crisis continues. Financial support for community food organisations, access to free school meals and help to buy essential supplies and services all feature, as part of a £141,000 fund.
Argyll and Bute Council secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Island Cost Crisis Emergency fund. It aims to support urgent action to help island residents facing financial challenges.
The measures include:
- Love Local gift cards – Each household in receipt of council tax reduction on the islands will receive a gift card to the value of £85. The cards will enable over 1,200 households to access essential supplies and services. The council is writing to eligible households and more information will be available by the end of the month.
- Four community food organisations will receive £4,000 each. They include; Bute Oasis, Mull and Iona Pantry, Solar Tiree, and Islay and Jura Community Store Cupboard. This follows previous payments of £6,888 each in February and March 2023.
- Free School Meal Top Ups – funding of £25,000 will help the council support 75 families and 89 pupils for the full school year.
Councillor Liz McCabe, Policy Lead, Islands and Business Development, said: “We know that the ongoing cost of living crisis continues to be challenging for many people across Argyll and Bute.
For island communities, many are facing, in some cases around 20 to 60% higher costs of living than the UK average, due to a number of factors. The latest Islands Cost Crisis Emergency funding will help support important initiatives and enable remote and rural communities to access essential supplies and services.”
Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead, Economic Growth and Communities:
“The additional support will be a welcome relief to many island communities. The Argyll and Bute gift card is versatile with a range of businesses registered to accept it as payment. From fuel to food and toiletries, the card will not only support island households but local businesses too. We will be in touch soon with all eligible households.”
More information on cost of living support is available on the council website https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/money-advice/cost-living-money-bills-and-benefits