More than 200,000 low income households have received grants to help them through difficult times, thanks to the Scottish Welfare Fund.
New figures show that since the scheme was set up in April 2013, £97.9 million worth of grants have been given to nearly 204,000 households in Scotland.
The statistics showed that of nearly 204,000 households helped to 31 March 2016, almost 111,000 were single people and over 67,000 were families with children.
The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises of Community Care Grants – which help people to live independently – and Crisis Grants, which provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency.
Between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2016, around 127,000 Community Care Grants were awarded. The awards were typically for floor coverings, white goods and furnishings. During the same time period, around 287,000 Crisis Grants were awarded. Most Crisis Grant expenditure was on food, essential heating costs and other living expenses.
People can also be given support to live in their own homes where there’s a risk of homelessness or going into care or for families facing exceptional pressures – where funding can cover larger essential one-off items like washing machines or cookers.
Around one-third of grants were given to households with children, while around 54% of those grants were given to single person households with no children.
Social Security Secretary Angela Constance said: “No-one in Scotland should be living in poverty, and it is crucial that we are able to give support to those most in need, when they need it.
“This can be especially important in times of desperation or emergency, or when people have been affected by delays in benefits.
“The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a vital lifeline to families during times of crisis, and helps people in desperate situations where they cannot afford to buy everyday items, such as food or nappies, that many of us take for granted.
“It is important this money gets to those who need it most, and that is why, from April this year, we have made changes to the way funding is allocated to local authorities, to ensure it reaches those people who most need it.”