MORE than £1million has been given out in some of Glasgow's most deprived areas through a lending scheme which aims to lift people out of poverty.

A pioneering micro-lending system, which was developed in Bangladesh, is to be rolled out to other parts of Scotland after research found it dramatically improved health and wellbeing as well as boosting finances.

Grameen, which is facilitated by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has lent £1,012,195 to 427 clients in some of the city’s poorest areas over the past three-and-a-half years.

The first borrower group was set up in Parkhead in May 2014 and there are now 36 active groups in Bridgeton, Govanhill, Sighthill, the Gorbals, Parkhead and Dennistoun, helping to support a range of businesses including food retailers, manufacturers, hairdressers, and clothing outlets. Clients receive ongoing support and attend weekly meetings with advisers.

Research found that after taking part in the scheme, almost 60% reported feeling satisfied with their lives, compared to 30% previously and anxiety levels had dropped from 35% to 26.6%. The percentage of people who reported being in 'good health' increased from 82% to 93%.

The scheme was created by GCU Emeritus Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Professor Muhammad Yunus and began with a loan of $27 to 42 poor villagers in Bangladesh.

Read more: Men in deprived areas of Glasgow can only expect to live 44 years of a healthy life

The UK venture was launched in Glasgow in 2014 and is backed by a number of funders including Tesco Bank, which provided £500,000 of initial operating and lending capital.

Potential clients form a support group with four peers and receive free training before qualifying for an initial £1,000 loan repayable over 52 weeks.

Plans have now been developed to extend the system to North Ayrshire and Dundee and North Ayrshire.

Kevin Cadman, chief executive of Grameen in the UK, said: “We have disbursed over £1million in loans to those communities and individuals most in need in and around Glasgow.

"We can report 100% of those supported are financially better off but, most importantly, their wellbeing and health have shown dramatic improvements through being part of the programme.

Interest ranges from 20.95% to 26.95% dependant on the loan product.

Jim Morrison is the managing director of Case-It Scotland, in Parkhead, which designs and manufactures specialist flight cases for valuable equipment.

Clients include football clubs, television production companies, pipe bands, and medical suppliers.

He set up the business three-and-half years ago and is onto his third business development loan with Grameen in the UK.

He said: "Grameen was a lot quicker and more understanding than a high-street bank would have been.

“I used the first loan to develop a website for the business, which has made a tremendous amount of difference, in terms of exposure."

Professor Pamela Gillies, GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor and a founding director of Grameen in the UK, said: “The success of Grameen in Glasgow demonstrates that micro-credit and community banking can make an important contribution to improving not just the economic and social well-being but also the health of those who have the very least in society.”