Residents and families on low-incomes who have been impacted by Covid-19 will be able to access new help and support after councillors approved the next stage of Renfrewshire Council’s plan to support communities affected by the pandemic.

The social renewal plan sets out the work the council will do with partners to tackle inequality and poverty, and support families and communities in the wake of Covid-19.

During the next stage, the council will work with RAMH and Active Communities to support their plans to establish two new Community Pantries at the Restore superstore in Paisley and the former Johnstone police station and will give STAR Project £25,000 funding to support its pantry in Shortroods.

The next stage of the plan also includes £25,000 to establish a Renfrewshire Community Food Fund, £50,000 to provide advice and support to people struggling with fuel costs and £50,000 to help people access benefits and affordable credit.

The funding will ensure the council is able to tackle child poverty and provide financial support and advice to residents and families affected by the end of the furlough scheme and the lifting of the ban on evictions.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The pandemic has been particularly tough for people who are on low-incomes, face job uncertainty or have caring responsibilities and the funding for the next stage of our Social Renewal Plan will help provide additional support for people who are facing difficulties during these difficult times.

“Our Social Renewal Plan puts people at the heart of our Covid-19 recovery and will allow us to strengthen our ability to not only meet the impact of Covid but ensure we are ready and have the support in place to help our communities and residents as we navigate our way through this pandemic.”

Councillors approved £665,000 of funding to support the next stage of the plan, which will focus on tackling poverty and digital exclusion, providing people with income and financial security and helping build resilient communities, at a meeting today.

The next stage also includes £100,000 funding for the delivery of the Digital Citizens Programme and £200,000 to establish a community hub model for Renfrewshire which will provide a one-stop local service to support those in need.

Temporary hubs were set up by the council and its local partners at the start of the pandemic to provide communities with access to vital support services and have helped over 1,000 households since the beginning of lockdown.

The Council Leader added: “Covid-19 has had a major impact on our communities. Our Community Hubs have been there to support people through the pandemic, providing advice, support and access to services when they needed it most. I am delighted we will be able to continue this work with our partners to support local people.”

The Social Renewal Plan will inform the next stage of the council’s successful Tackling Poverty programme, which generated almost £800,000 of additional income for households in 2020/21.

It also supports the council’s Economic Recovery Plan, which will help support Renfrewshire’s businesses and support people into employment and training in the wake of Covid-19.