West Lothian Council hands out £1m in school clothing grants

Monday June 13th 2022

West-Lothian-Civic-Centre


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

West Lothian Council handed out more than £1m to help families kit their children out with clothes for school this year.

And as a fund for the new school year is set to open the Council’s Executive has agreed to increase grants for the term which starts in August.

The Scottish Government announced this month that clothing grants would increase to £120 for primary and £150 for secondary pupils. In West Lothian, it was agreed to further increase payments to £150 for primary school pupils and £180 for secondary school pupils attending West Lothian Council schools.

The Executive heard that £1,193,660 has been administered via the School Clothing Grant in the school academic year 2021/2022 to support a total of 7,404 pupils.

Applications for the School Clothing Grant payment for the 2022/23 academic year will be launching in the coming weeks via the council website.

West Lothian Council’s Anti-Poverty Service is responsible for administering the school clothing grant locally.

Nahid Hanif, the council’s Anti-Poverty manager updated the meeting on how the Anti-Poverty Service has worked with Community Planning Partners to increase access to vital financial supports and to streamline application processes as per the strategic aims set out in the Community Planning Partnership Anti-Poverty Strategy.

She described the grant as “vital” to struggling families. West Lothian has one of the highest school clothing grants in Scotland. Chairing the meeting, council leader Lawrence Fitzpartrick congratulated the team who administer the scheme through the Anti-Poverty Service.

Income maximisation advisers are now co-located within seven county high schools and work closely with teaching staff and support workers to identify and engage with families experiencing financial hardship.

To date, the approach has seen extra income of £25,879 secured through Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and financial support including School Clothing Grants and one-off payments for essential items and energy costs.

Councillor Fitzpatrick said later: “West Lothian Council has one of the highest rates of School Clothing Grant in Scotland. The robust administration process and qualifying criteria support the most vulnerable households on low income at a time of economic uncertainty and increasing cost of living expense.

“This approach to School Clothing Grant administration contributes to the outcomes of the Community Planning Partnership’s Anti-Poverty Strategy and officers continue to work with relevant partner agencies to find new ways of ensuring the appropriate assistance reaches those in need.

“If anyone is uncertain about whether they are eligible to receive the School Clothing Grant then I would encourage you visit the West Lothian Council website or contact the Advice Shop where you will find all the information you need. Further details on applications for the new academic year will be released in the near future.”

He added: “If anyone is worried about money or just wants to check they are receiving their full benefit entitlement they can call 01506 283000 or email Advice.Shop@westlothian.gov.uk.”

Ahead of the application period launching, a full list of the eligibility criteria can be seen at: www.westlothian.gov.uk/mealsandclothing

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