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Coronavirus / SIC secures funding to help families access food

OVER £100,000 is coming Shetland Islands Council’s way to support families during the coronavirus pandemic who usually receive free school meals or clothing grants.

The money is coming from the Scottish Government and it will be used to make regular payments to families for them to put towards buying food.

The council put the payment system in place in mid-March when schools closed for families in receipt of free school meals or clothing grants.

In early May the payment was increased from £2.50 a day to £3 a day in recognition of the increased cost of living in Shetland.

Chairman of the council’s education and families committee councillor George Smith said: “These are unprecedented times, and some families will be facing significant challenges, so we’d ask anyone who finds themselves struggling to get in touch.

“The council, along with third sector organisations and community groups are all working together to make sure that a range of support is available to anyone who needs it.

“There’s already an increase in the number of people coming forward to request support, some who have never been in that position before, and it is important to reiterate that there is no shame in seeking help, and that our services are here to support you in any way possible.”

A range of support is available for anyone who finds themselves struggling to access food during the pandemic, either because they are unable to travel to the shops or due to financial difficulties.

The Shetland Coronavirus Hub can support anyone who is vulnerable as the result of the pandemic, and it can arrange a wide range of support, including emergency food parcels, shopping by volunteers, information about local food shops and delivery, and access to foodbanks if required.

The local Citizens Advice Bureau can also provide advice on financial concerns, including access to benefits and grants, debt and energy advice.

Anyone who is in need of support should contact Shetland Coronavirus Hub on 0800 030 8780 or email covid19support@shetland.gov.uk.