Published 07 June 2023

Community organisations around West Dunbartonshire have enhanced the support they provide to residents thanks to the Council’s Cost of Living Capital Fund.

The Council created the £1million fund last year, with groups encouraged to bid for money that could be used to support the cost of living initiatives they provided locally.

A total of 16 organisations were awarded money in the first phase, with funding being used to purchase a range of practical items. Money was also used for supporting the replacement of central heating and windows to reduce the outgoings costs and allowing groups to focus their spend on those who need it most.

Awestruck Academy in Clydebank were awarded £29,589 in order to upgrade the nursery, kitchen, IT suite and leisure equipment.

The funding has boosted the services the organisation provides to the surrounding community, including free music, art and digital-learning sessions for children and adults.

Councillor Michelle McGinty, Chair of the Council’s cross party Cost of Living Working Group, visited Awestruck this week to see first-hand what they offer.

She said: “This is a fantastic facility which is doing so much for children, adults and the whole community. When the cost of everything around us is soaring, from food to energy, organisations like Awestruck Academy come into their own, and ensure that adults and children alike have a safe space to gather and enjoy themselves while participating in a range of different activities.

“When we set up our cost of living supports, as a Council we understood that we could not best serve our communities if we worked alone. That is why this capital fund is so important as it allows valued community groups to improve facilities and enhance their provision for the benefit of our most vulnerable.”

Councillor Clare Steel, Vice Chair of the group, added: “I know how important Awestruck Academy is for so many local children, offering them a safe space to participate in classes or simply build up confidence through the encouragement from their peers and leaders. Supporting groups like this is a vital part of navigating our communities through this cost of living crisis because they are a lifeline for so many.”

Allan Rutherford, who set up Awestruck Academy in 2017, said: “We are so grateful to receive the funding to improve our facilities and encourage even more children and adults in to use our space. The cost of living is affecting so many of us, including our academy, and this funding has meant we can stop worrying about how we continue to provide the service and focus on making sure the community has a warm, friendly and welcoming place to go and enjoy.”

Other organisations awarded Cost of Living Capital funding include Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol, who received £39,644 to pay for double glazing, central heating, rewiring and flooring in order to reduce energy costs; Lomond and Clyde Care and Repair were awarded £22,000 to purchase a van which will help with the delivery of their housing repair service; Daniel’s Wish received £9,143 for the purchase of sensory equipment to help children and young people with complex needs; while Tullochan was awarded £9,663 to purchase a commercial range cooker and ventilation for the Common Good Café.

A total of £226,924 was awarded in year one (2022/23) with a remaining £773,076 left to be distributed in years two to four.