Community Organisations (Dumfries and Galloway)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd December 2020.

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Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting community organisations across Dumfries and Galloway to help the most vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. (S5O-04802)

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

The £25 million community and third sector recovery programme was launched on 21 September and provides funding for community and third sector organisations as they continue to respond to the on-going impact of the pandemic and to adapt and restart delivery of their community services and activities. The programme also provides business support and investment to help organisations to adapt their operations and their means of income generation to increase sustainability.

A small number of applications for the recovery programme have been received from organisations in Dumfries and Galloway, and assessment is on-going, with one award of £16,712 made to date. The area has benefited through other community funds totalling £1,293,630 from the supporting communities, wellbeing and third sector resilience funds, as well as through an additional £1.8 million investment from the investing in communities fund over the years 2019 to 2022.

I encourage community and third sector organisations that are based in Dumfries and Galloway, and across Scotland, to consider the recovery programme and to make an application.

Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

Many local people, community groups and businesses have gone above and beyond to support vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they deserve our thanks. Two examples have been the Lochside and Summerhill community centres in north west Dumfries, where the teams have prepared and delivered meals to people across the community.

Will the cabinet secretary join me in welcoming those efforts and other similar efforts across Scotland, and will she outline how the Government will continue to support community groups to deliver anti-poverty measures throughout the winter?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

I pay tribute to the specific groups that Emma Harper has mentioned, as well as to other groups across the country that are doing phenomenal work to look after communities. They are motivated by compassion and care, and they have been critical and fundamental to the country’s response to the virus.

We have recently announced a winter plan for social protection, to help those who are on low incomes, children, and people who are at risk of homelessness or social isolation to cope with winter weather and the economic impacts of coronavirus and Brexit. That is backed by £100 million, and the package includes another £15 million for our community and third sector recovery programme as well as £15 million of flexible funding for local authorities that are entering level 4 restrictions, to support the people and communities that are impacted.

The winter package will be fundamental to the communities and groups that Emma Harper has highlighted, and it will be critical to people as we hit the harder and more expensive winter months ahead. I underline the point that I made in my original response, that her constituents should continue to apply for the funding that is out there.