HUMAN rights and equality groups in receipt of part of a £21 million fund have supported 115,000 people in the past year, a new report has found.

The Scottish Government’s equality and human rights fund paid out for the first time in October 2021, with the aim of supporting 48 different groups – including Age Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland and Inclusion Scotland.

The funding has been used to provide services including direct advice, training and community engagement.

In the first year, a total of 115,568 people were supported, along with 6,146 organisations, according to a new report.

Speaking during a visit to the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC) on Friday, equalities minister Christina McKelvie said: “I was very pleased to visit WSREC and see the range of activities that they deliver.

“For example, their cost-of-living advice service for people from minority ethnic communities has helped to boost family incomes and lift children out of poverty.

The National:

“WSREC is just one of 48 organisations that receive grants from the equality and human rights fund."

Ghzala Khan, the executive director of WSREC, said: “The equality and human rights fund has enabled us to deliver bi-lingual, culturally sensitive services to marginalised minority ethnic groups in the areas of advice and information, employability, direct discrimination, civic participation and health and wellbeing.

“Our work reduces inequality, increases opportunity, and supports people and families to achieve their full potential.”

The costs crisis, the report found, was the biggest challenge to hit the organisations in the first year of the fund’s operation.

“By far the biggest issue reported has been the cost-of-living crisis,” the report said.

“This has had a huge impact on already disadvantaged communities who are struggling to manage increased costs of food and fuel.

“It has also impacted on funded organisation in terms of staff salaries, as well as the increased stress and trauma of front line staff who are dealing with distressing issues on a daily basis, and a surge in demand.”