Argyll and Bute Flexible Food Fund:
Last updated: 1 October 2023
We can help before, during an application and after an application is made.
We help you check whether you are eligible for the Flexible Food Fund.
We can also support you through the application process.
After you have successfully applied, we offer confidential, professional advice about how to address your financial insecurity. Examples of specialist advice we can give might include a full benefits check, money advice or budgeting advice. After you have engaged with us the second part of the grant payment is made.
The Flexible Food Fund is for people based in Argyll and Bute who are experiencing financial insecurity. It is for people with low incomes and no access to savings. It is designed to help people with their daily living and fuel expenses.
Individuals and households can apply. Applicants can be in or out of work.
The fund was extended in 2022 to support people who were unsuccessful in previous applications or haven’t applied yet.
Online applications can be made to the Flexible Food Fund on the Argyll and Bute Council website.
The application form will ask you for your address, date of birth, National Insurance number, contact details and further information.
For support to complete and send an application please contact us and book an appointment.
If you have any questions or would like to chat about what you need to complete the form, you can call the Bute Advice Centre team on 01700 502784 to book an appointment. You can also leave a message or email to request a call back, or you can pop into the office during opening hours to arrange a time to talk more.
Argyll and Bute Council provide the funding for this project. Bute Advice Centre are working with the Community Food Forum and Alienergy.
The funding is from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund from the UK Government.
A member of our friendly and professional team will arrange an appointment with you. This might be in the Advice Centre, at your home or a telephone call. The appointments are free and confidential.
How can I get referred to the scheme?
You can complete an application via the council website.
There is also a referral route available through local community foodbanks. Each of the foodbanks across Argyll and Bute has a designated Welfare Rights Officer.
I don’t have access to a computer
Bute Advice Centre can help you make an application or suggestion locations of public computers across Argyll and Bute.
I would like to request language interpretation
Bute Advice Centre can help you make an application and ensure you have access to the language interpretation that you need.
I would like to request advocacy assistance
Bute Advice Centre can help you make an application and ensure you have access to the advocacy support that you need. See Lomond and Argyll Advocacy Service for more information.
What about immediate cash and cost of living support?
When you apply for the Flexible Food Fund, you can request support for a Crisis Grant to meet any immediate needs for help with daily living expenses.
What if I am not eligible for the fund?
If you don’t meet the criteria for the Flexible Food Fund we can complete a full benefits to check you are in receipt of all benefits that you are entitled to. Disability benefits are often not means tested and can increase the household budget considerably. A chat with one of our Advisers will help you understand all the options available. Please call the centre to make an appointment.
Argyll and Bute Council launched the fund in January 2021.
Recipients benefit from a two part grant that ranges according to the size of the household. For some larger families it can be as much as £1000+.
In order to access the second part of the grant, recipients must engage with Bute Advice Centre who are working in partnership with ALIenergy, delivering welfare rights, money and energy advice over the telephone. Advisers are keen to engage with individuals or with agencies who support low income households to promote uptake of this grant and support services.
Councillor Robin Currie, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council:
“Launching the Flexible Food Fund and offering crisis grants will provide a critical lifeline to so many people across Argyll and Bute. The pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on our communities, many through no fault of their own. With loss of income, additional childcare and closed businesses, there is a real need to provide as much help and support as we can.
We are working with trusted partners working remotely to cover the whole of Argyll and Bute. All cases are handled sensitively and in complete confidence.
We hope that by providing essential access to funds and much needed wider support, we can help people out of crisis and enable them to move forward and manage their available financial resources. I would encourage anyone who finds themselves in difficult circumstances to get in touch. We are here to help. ”
Bute Advice Centre are delighted that the efforts of all partners within the Flexible Food and Fuel Fund project have been recognised as winners in the category Community Focus at the ASSIST FM awards ceremony in May 2023.
Previously the project had been awarded a Highly Commended at the IRRV conference in 2021 for Excellence in Innovation. This "cash first" model offers recipients support in the preferred way, putting cash in the pockets of those who most need support.
ASSIST FM awards ceremony - May 2023
Julie Semple - Bute Advice Centre &
Rachel McNicol - ALIenergy delivery partners in the Flexible Food & Fuel Fund Project
Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectu