Huge rise in demand for emergency cash grants from children’s charity

A children’s charity that provides emergency cash grants to families facing poverty has said demand for help has risen by more than 1,000% in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

The majority of the applications were in Glasgow
The majority of the applications were in Glasgow

Aberlour said it has helped more than 2,000 families from its Urgent Assistance Fund since March, providing cash for the “basic essentials that are needed to survive”.

Between March 19 – shortly before Scotland went into lockdown – and July 20 alone it received 1,511 applications for help, compared with just 134 in the same period of 2019.

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A new evaluation of the scheme, carried out by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, found: “This is an increase of more than 1,000% in families making applications to the fund for hardship.”

Over that four-month period, Aberlour provided families with financial help amounting to £372,590.20.

A total of 900 families have applied for help since March so they can feed their children, with a further 753 applications seeking money to deal with heating bills.

The report said: “It is striking that these requests are for items of basic subsistence, indicative of levels of poverty we would consider more absolute than relative.

Applications came from 31 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities – with almost half (46.6%) coming from the Glasgow City Council area, with the charity providing help for 704 families with 1,547 in this area alone.

The only local authority area with no applications during the period of the study was Aberdeenshire.

The charity has now launched its Surviving Winter Appeal to raise funds to help with tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.