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Community groups in Glasgow and the surrounding areas have shared donations totalling more than £1 million from the Glasgow Community Anchors’ Fund, with the latest funding helping to support local people during the cost-of-living crisis.

Since launching in 2020 the fund – which is a partnership between the HFD Foundation and Virgin Money Foundation – has awarded 49 grants to support 27 different organisations in their mission to help people across the city. This year, 13 grants totalling £322,000 were pledged to essential community groups, bringing the total to over £1 million.

Each community organisation plays an important role in their local area, with their impact spanning over an estimated 180,000 people. This includes working with people of all ages to offer support through a range of essential projects and services.

Local groups to benefit from the latest round of funding include Maryhill Community Central Hall and Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

Maryhill Community Central Hall has been awarded £17,000 to help provide a range of essential support for its network, including funding for emergency energy cards to ensure people’s homes are heated and warm, reducing the impact for households experiencing fuel poverty. It also helps individuals with access to devices such as recycled laptops and mobiles, and broadband connectivity, and will use the funding to expand its community fridge offering.

Mark McRitchie, Chief Executive of Community Central Hall said: “The community is really struggling right now with the impact of the rising cost of living, on top of the long-term challenges of poverty and exclusion. Additional funding will enable us to provide meaningful assistance for things like food, warmth and access to digital services to the local community.”

Funding of £29,493 to Govanhill Baths’ flagship programme, The People’s Pantry, will allow the programme to expand to provide food for over 2,500 people per week. This represents over 5% of the local community. As well as addressing the urgent need for food, The People’s Pantry enables people to learn more about food, sustainability, growing vegetables and cooking. Providing there is space, anyone can join for £5 a year and do a weekly shop for £2.50.

Fatima Uygun, Manager of The Govanhill Baths Community Trust said: “A recent study found that less than a quarter of people who frequently struggle to afford food would use a food bank, due to the stigma. The People’s Pantry is set up like a normal shop and although the price paid for purchases is very small, it creates a different dynamic and reduces the potential shame felt by those in crisis. The Community Anchor funding will make a huge difference to people disproportionately affected by food poverty, by helping us to make an impact on their health and wellbeing with affordable food, growing and cooking projects.”

Nancy Doyle-Hall, Executive Director of the Virgin Money Foundation said: “The Virgin Money Foundation supports community leaders and community entrepreneurs who have a vision for change in their area. We are constantly inspired by their energy and commitment. Community Anchors in Glasgow are helping to reduce the immediate impact of the cost-of-living crisis by providing help to the people who need it most through each grant. They are also helping people increase their resilience, connections and skills longer term, tackling poverty at its roots.”

Lauren McKenzie, HFD Charitable Foundation Ambassador, added: “This winter, community anchor groups are playing a crucial role as a lifeline for those struggling with the increasing costs of heating their homes and putting food on the table. The charities we have supported through the Community Anchors’ Fund to date are delivering essential services to people in their local communities and our aim is to support them further in the year ahead.

The Glasgow Community Anchors’ Fund plays a vital, practical role in reducing the impact of poverty and the rising cost of living across the city. The recipient groups are home to food banks or community pantries, run free holiday play schemes and furniture recycling schemes, provide guidance and training in cooking on a budget, support grow your own schemes, act as a base for debt advice, link people to sources of lower cost credit, tackle fuel and data poverty, help people build digital skills to get online, into work or training and support refugees and asylum seekers.