More than 30,000 people have been helped by a fund set up to tackle poverty and deprivation
The £1.6 million Fairer Aberdeen Fund, which is allocated by Aberdeen City Council, focuses on helping the most deprived neighbourhoods as well as supporting vulnerable groups and individuals.
A new report has revealed that 34,431 people were involved in, or benefited from, funded initiatives, 9,327 of them were under 16 years old.
The fund is dispersed and managed by the Fairer Aberdeen Board, made up of representatives from regeneration areas, the Civic Forum, local authority, NHS Grampian, Police Scotland and the Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations.
In the report, which covers the fund’s activities from 2019-20 it states: “Funding was awarded to 41 projects within the main programme, as well as a Community Support Fund to support community engagement, an Employment Support Fund to support costs associated with getting people back into work, and a Participatory Budgeting event. Grants ranged from £2,200 to £156,000 in value.”
The report also said 973 volunteers contributed 145,324 hours of volunteering time, equating to a value of more than £2.2m.
Some of the groups which benefitted from the fund included the Fersands Family Centre Support Worker and Twos Group, Mental Health Aberdeen and CFine.
During the year the fund helped 270 people moved into work and 62 young people moved on to employment, education or training.
The report also spoke of the other benefits the fund had such as helping people with finances and saving, stating: “2,126 people received money advice or income maximisation advice, with 1,268 reporting a total financial gain of £3.1m, an average of £2,500 per person. 5,625 people saved with a credit union, providing £1.7m in affordable loans.”
Food poverty is also one of the issues the fund looks to address, and from 2019-2020 more than 484 tonnes of free food was distributed – which was the equivalent of 1.4million meals
Three community pantries also operated with 205 members, and 582 food bank
users were referred to other services for support.
Councillors will discuss the report at Aberdeen City Council’s Full Council meeting next week.