AN EXTRA 168 families in Shetland are to receive financial support this Christmas thanks to the council diverting funding from the Scottish Government to those who need it most.
The government is providing £100 per child in receipt of school meals under its new winter support fund, which is based on national criteria.
It aims help those on low incomes, and children and people at risk of homelessness or social isolation, cope with the winter weather and the economic impact of coronavirus and Brexit.
Shetland Islands Council (SIC) leader Steven Coutts explained that the local authority has also received an extra £39,000 through the scheme which has an “element of discretion to support those in need”.
He said the SIC will use this funding to provide £100 per child to families who are not eligible for the main government scheme.
“We feel the national criteria is not broad enough to catch those families suffering financial insecurity,” he said.
“This is based on the work and knowledge of our staff in Shetland.”
Coutts said this will include eligible pre-school and school children receiving support like clothing grants – “all of whom would miss out at present but suffer financially”.
The councillor said this is a “significant” number.
It means a further 168 families in Shetland will receive support in addition to the 334 expected to benefit from the Scottish Government winter support fund.
“We are also ensuring that there is support for food and fuel over and above this for those in need,” Coutts said.
Orkney Islands Council, meanwhile, said this week that it would give a £200 direct payment to those children receiving free school meals – £100 from the Scottish Government payment and a further top up payment of £100 from the local authority.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 440 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News