Published 22 December 2022

A fund created to support West Dunbartonshire residents through the cost of living crisis has been increased to £6 million after additional Council investment.

An extra £1 million has been allocated from the Council’s general reserves to further enhance the £5 million funding pledge announced in June.

This support will provide a further £250,000 each year for the next four years to help those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis, including families, the elderly, carers, those with additional support needs, vulnerable households and local businesses.

The pioneering scheme has already launched a range of different projects to assist with rising costs including a £1000 per week provision for West Dunbartonshire foodbanks and free swimming and gym sessions for school pupils during the summer holidays and October break.

Other investments include the creation of a household energy fund of £250,000 and an innovative partnership with major energy suppliers to ensure residents experiencing significant levels of fuel poverty receive support and early intervention to maintain their utility supply.

Community groups and voluntary organisations with their own cost of living initiatives can also apply for support from a £1 million fund, while unpaid carers, kinship and foster carers are also supported by a £1 million carers package.

Councillor Michelle McGinty, chair of the Council’s cross-party Cost of Living Working Group, said: “As rising prices showing no sign of easing it is vital that we do more even more to help the people who are struggling most.

“I welcome this additional investment which will be used wisely to help our residents – young people, the elderly, families, carers and businesses - and I’m confident that it will further strengthen the support that we offer.”

“This crisis needs national intervention to address it fully, however, in West Dunbartonshire we can make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect our residents and ensure that they don’t have to choose between heating and eating.”

Councillor Clare Steel, vice chair of the Cost of Living Working Group, said: “Across our communities people are faced with stark choices every day as the cost of living spirals.

“This working group is dedicated to supporting those hardest hit and this extra £1 million boost for the fund will help us do more to ease the pressure on their shoulders.

“Our aim is that nobody in West Dunbartonshire struggles because of the cost of living. I would urge all residents to get in touch and find out what support they are eligible for and how our comprehensive package of support can assist them.”