New figures show that since the Scottish Welfare Fund was set up in April 2013 by the SNP Government, £97.9 million worth of grants have been awarded to nearly 204,000 Scottish households.
The fund helps households during times of crisis and can help to buy everyday essential items like food, nappies or toiletries and cover heating costs or other living expenses. Grants are also given to people facing disaster or emergency situations, such as flooding.
People can also be given support to live in their own homes where there’s a risk of homelessness or going into care or for families facing exceptional pressures, where funding can cover larger essential one-off items like washing machines or cookers.
Around one-third of grants were given to households with children, while around 54% of those grants were given to single person households with no children.
Kenneth Gibson said:
“No-one in Scotland should be living in poverty and it is crucial that we are able to give support to those most in need, when they need it.
“The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a vital lifeline to families during times of crisis, and helps people in desperate situations where they cannot afford to buy everyday items.
“It is important this money gets to those who need it most and that is why, from April this year, the SNP Government made changes to the way funding is allocated to local authorities."
Any funding not spent within the financial year can be carried forward by the local authority into the next year.
From April this year funding has been distributed to local authorities to ensure it is more closely aligned to deprivation, allowing support to be available where it is required most.
More information about how to apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund can be found here.