A £40 million fund has been launched by the Scottish government to support rapidly growing and inspiring community efforts springing up around Scotland, including in Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride.

It is part of an overall £350 million package which will go to people most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish government has announced.

The funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups.

It is designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to ensure a swift response according to the local needs of people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food.

MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “This pandemic will disrupt lives like never before and cause financial hardship and negatively impact on wellbeing.

"Be assured that protecting and supporting people during these unparalleled times is the absolute focus of the SNP Government.”

"This funding package will focus delivery, not bureaucracy or red tape.

"Local authorities, businesses, community groups and the third sector know and understand the needs of their communities better than anyone else.

“Working with local partners, this investment will benefit those who need it most.”

A total of £50 million will meet an anticipated increase in applications for the existing council tax reduction scheme and Scottish social security benefitss

A total of £25 million in the package will be kept in reserve to allow swift and flexible responses to rapidly changing circumstances.