At a meeting of The Highland Council on 22 September 2022, Councillors approved the creation of a Highland-wide grant fund of up to £450,000 to help alleviate the cost-of-living crisis for vulnerable households through community-led initiatives.
Third Sector voluntary and community organisations are invited to apply for grants under the value of £10,000.
Chair of Communities and Place Committee, Cllr Graham MacKenzie said:
“Responding to the ongoing financial crisis, this grant fund aims to enable local responses to address local needs.
“It will support community groups to make local arrangements that provide access to food, and to enable our residents to heat their living areas and to live safely in their homes.
“The Council is launching this fund on World Health Day as we recognise the marked impact that the cost-of-living crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and wider global factors are having on everyone’s health.
“In addition to the provision of food, we are encouraging community groups to use this funding to provide practical solutions that will help protect our vulnerable residents’ physical and mental health.
“For example, these solutions may include supplying individual households with flasks, microwave ovens, slow cookers, warm clothing, warm blankets, and other energy-efficient devices.
“Such practical solutions will enable our vulnerable residents to heat the rooms that they use every day and to live safely in their homes by being able to keep themselves warm and to have hot drinks and meals when it is best suited to their needs.
“I strongly advise everyone who is struggling with the cost-of living crisis to get in touch with the Council’s Welfare Support team, by calling 0800 090 1004, for help to claim entitlements and other supports that may be available to them.
“Alternatively, households should contact their local Citizens Advice office where access to energy advice is also available.”
The supports being provided by voluntary and community groups with this grant funding must complete before the end of June 2023 where practicable.
Applicants must demonstrate that they will achieve one or more of the following:
- provide community support initiatives that provide food/activities;
- enhance existing provision through extending local hours or introducing/increasing food provision;
- adapt existing provision to meet identified local needs;
- strengthen or establish food larders or food table provision.
Applicants are encouraged to contact their Ward Manager for advice and guidance in advance of applying as this could help progress applications quickly. Details of the contact person for this cost-of-living funding can be found on the Council’s website at Ward Managers | The Highland Council.