More than 10,000 South Ayrshire households in need will receive a £50 gift card for use locally as part of a £2m covid recovery programme.

The move will see the Scotland Loves Local gift-card scheme used to distribute much needed financial support to residents while helping local businesses as they fight to recover from the pandemic.

The gift card scheme will see more than 10,000 South Ayrshire residents in receipt of council tax reductions given a Scotland Loves Local card preloaded with £50.

This can be used in South Ayrshire businesses who have signed up to the business scheme, which launched last year.

It follows in the footsteps of neighbouring East Ayrshire Council, which pioneered the card scheme and began distributing financial support to families at Christmas and Easter.

Glasgow City Council have also disbursed more than £9m in covid recovery funds through their card scheme.

A report to South Ayrshire Council outlined the plan, which will utilise £530,000 of the covid funding.

It stated:  “Benefits are two-fold as it also supports Community Wealth

Building ensuring spend is redistributed amongst local businesses adversely affected by the covid pandemic; as well as providing funds to those residents most in need.

“This proposal would see a pre-loaded Scotland Loves Local Ayrshire Gift Card with £50 per card provided to all residents in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (approx. 10,150).”

One of the challenges facing the council was the take up of the scheme by local businesses, particularly in smaller, more rural areas. It was an issue raised during the consideration of the plan .

The report continued: “Concerns were raised by the group on a lack of coverage in Maybole/Girvan. however eight businesses in Girvan have signed up and five in Maybole including Boots, Scotmid, Semi Chem, and ASDA as well as smaller businesses.”

The report said that the plan would act as an incentive for more businesses in South Ayrshire to sign up.

The majority of the funding comes via the Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery (LACER), topped up by £250k in council funding.

The largest single investment of £600k will go towards training and skills fund.

The fund will ‘support the training and skills development of local residents to enable them to secure employment, progress in employment or secure


The report continued: “Up to £30,000 will be available to local training providers and employers to provide training to those in employment or seeking employment.

“Training should help to address labour market shortages, changes to business operations and re or up-skilling requirements as a result of the pandemic and will support the local economy in the recovery from covid.”

A further £400k will go to a Household Boost Fund. This will offer ‘financial support to combat the increased cost of living impact for low income households’.

Anyone seeking support can either apply themselves or be referred. SAC estimates around 1,200 households being supported.

The council will also spend £45k on two temporary officers to support and process applications for free public transport for young people up to the age of 22. Just over 2,300 young people have taken up the free travel opportunity, but this remains lower than most other councils.

A further £200k will be spent on grants for local social enterprises.

The report states: “It is difficult for social enterprises to find start up and development funding for new staff posts, improved premises, feasibility studies and marketing.”

The new funding will support up to 15 organisations.

Third sector organisations will also be helped via a Empowering Communities Fund of £100k.

The fund will provide small grants of up to £10,000 for third sector groups and organisations, including community associations and community councils to help them support low-income families with the cost of living crisis.