Struggling families in East Renfrewshire will get a £100 top-up payment this winter, with the plan set to help over 2,000 children.

The support, for those who receive free school meals and clothing grants, is part of a £1.5m package which will boost 19 projects.

It has been funded by leftover Scottish Government money provided to deal with recovery from the covid pandemic, and includes £687,000 to help frontline health services over the winter months.

Measures also include £100,000 to respond to increased homelessness and £114,000 to extend Citizens Advice jobs, including one to support elderly people.

Just over £168,500 has been set aside for the £100 winter support payment, which will be used to top-up free school meal payments and extend to those on clothing grants in December.

Council leader Owen O’Donnell, Labour, said officials had come up with the “best range of interventions possible to support our residents at this very difficult time of a cost of living crisis”.

He said the package was “helping to put much needed cash into people’s pockets” and would help the area’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) which is “still seeing the continued impact of covid”.

A council official said “nearly a third of the funding addresses the economic harms caused by the pandemic”.  She added it will “provide direct financial support aimed at 2,300 eligible children, vouchers to vulnerable families and specific young people at Christmas, discretionary payments for struggling tenants, and additional support for food dignity provision”.

The official said it is “critical to ensure HSCP staffing and service delivery is maintained” as covid has “led to an increased level of complexity, frailty and vulnerability of service users and higher levels of referrals than previously”.

Barrhead Housing Association is set to receive £30,000 to help “alleviate financial pressures” for tenants, which could include Christmas vouchers, and £50,000 will help council tenants at risk of arrears.

An employability programme for people with mental health and addiction issues will benefit from £49,000 while £45,000 will go towards additional occupational therapy support for children.

East Renfrewshire Carers Centre will get £25,000 to distribute discretionary payments to carers as there is “continued and increased needs to be met this winter”.

Over 90 young care leavers will receive Christmas care, including hampers, meals and gifts, after £8,500 was awarded, and £10,000 has been allocated to a Back to School Bank to recycle uniforms and help families with costs.

Cabinet members at East Renfrewshire Council approved the measures at a meeting earlier this month. It is the final tranche of funding after more than £3m was previously used to support covid recovery.

A full list of the approved projects can be viewed at annex two of this report: