Communities lacking access to cash are being urged to make the most of a new initiative which could help support ways to increase the availability of cash across the board.

With the largest cash machine providers now introducing and increasing charges for withdrawing money, and high street banks disappearing month after month, getting access to cash is a major issue for thousands of people across Renfrewshire – and especially in areas who can least afford it.

Now the Community Access to Cash Initiative is looking to help local communities to identify and secure access to cash and payment services.
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Grants and support are available to local groups looking to improve access to cash and help develop alternatives to ATMs which can charge up to £1.95 per transaction.

Communities are being encouraged to apply via their local elected member, and Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, is ready to help anyone in his constituency with a plan.

Gavin said: “Access to cash is a major issue across the country, but particularly in the most deprived areas of our community.

“In Ferguslie Park, for example, the only free to use cash machine is inside the Post Office – and so can’t be used outside of opening hours. The only other machines nearby each charge a withdrawal fee.

“Meanwhile our High Streets have seen bank after bank close down over recent years, with customers now expected to travel further afield or use the Post Office – but this doesn’t help people access cash outside of working hours.

“Communities need access to cash, and if this initiative can provide ways to help tackle financial exclusion then I hope communities across the area can apply and help support alternatives to cash machines with exorbitant fees.

“Applications for support and assistance need to be made through an elected member, so I would encourage any group in my constituency looking to apply to scheme to contact me to work towards submitting the application.”

The Community Access to Cash Initiative run by UK Finance opens to applications on 31st October this year.  Applications must be made through an elected official such as an MSP or MP.