A total of 34 local and community controlled housing associations (CCHAs) across the Glasgow area have accessed £200,000 from the Scottish Government’s Addressing Future Needs (AFN) fund to help tackle the impact of Covid on their communities.
The funding has been distributed through a partnership between Glasgow City Council (GCC) and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).
Colleen Rowan, GWSF policy and research lead, said: “We are delighted that GCC has recognised that CCHAs are perfectly placed, both geographically, and as trusted community anchor organisations, to help people in their communities, in the face of the impacts of the Covid pandemic. In many cases, the support provided is tenure neutral and benefits both CCHA tenants and other individuals.
“We have also welcomed the opportunity to work with the local authority, and with our members, to ensure that a range of AFN funded activities will be taken forward by CCHAs across the city. These projects include food and fuel provision, digital connectedness, and other activities which support health and well-being.”
John Sherry, transformation manager at GCC, said: “Covid-19 has had challenging implications for both our citizens and the city’s economy over the last 12 months. The AFN grant funding measures introduced by the Scottish Government provided local authorities with the opportunity to reach out and partner third sector colleagues to provide a co-ordinated response in relation to food, fuel, digital and financial inclusion supports for our citizens through what is likely to be an extremely difficult time.
“The council have welcomed the opportunity to build on existing relationships and our strong desire is to continue to work closely with our partners at GWSF and the registered social landlord sector to identify what further support is needed. We are confident the partnership will continue to develop as we come out of the pandemic and allow the public, private and third sector to deliver a multi-agency approach to service delivery for our citizens in the future.”
Alasdair McKee, chief executive at Glen Oaks Housing Association, based in the south of the city, said: “We wish to thank GCC for providing this funding. We will use the money to purchase tablets and provide free internet connection for tenants who have low incomes or are at risk of isolation.
“The last 12 months have shown how important digital inclusion is and I am pleased that this funding will support tenants for whom digital access has not been possible. We know that having access to technology and the internet brings many benefits and can have a positive impact on people’s lives.”
In the east of the city, a partnership approach between Parkhead, Shettleston and Tollcross housing associations, working alongside The Urban Fox programme, will focus on emotional health and wellbeing support for local residents.
The project will provide a variety of activities, and bring people back together in a safe, fun environment. This engagement will also allow people to open up and talk about what other types of support they might require.
Aileen McGuire, CEO at Parkhead Housing Association, explained: “As we move out of the current lockdown restrictions, prioritising our tenants’ mental health and wellbeing is high on our agenda. We’re pleased to be working alongside partners Tollcross HA, Shettleston HA and Urban Fox to deliver a programme of wellbeing activity, designed to help our communities reconnect.
“Support and guidance from our membership body GWSF, to apply to funds like GCC – Addressing Future Needs, has been key in helping shape our community response to Covid-19.”
Aileen added: “The AFN funding will allow us to provide additional support for families who have missed out on the year 2020 by providing our outdoor ‘POP UP SPA’ (Sports Play & Arts) service over a 15-week period from April/May-August/September, in three communities in the east end. It will enable us to offer emotional support, fun activities for families, and health & wellbeing programmes for residents to engage in. We will work with 90 families over the period.
“As our communities emerge from lockdown, we realise there is a missed connection and greater health and wellbeing support required for families who have been severely restricted due to lockdown, and who require some intermediate support moving forward.”