SUPPORT is being extended for Stirling's Charity of the Year in light of the challenges posed to the third sector by coronavirus.

Start Up Stirling, the Charity of the Year named by Provost Christine Simpson, has had its status extended for another 12 months.

Provost Simpson said: “Tackling poverty across Stirling is one of this council’s key priorities and Start Up Stirling do an absolutely vital job in helping the most vulnerable in our society access the supports they need to get ahead.

“I am extending their status as Charity of the Year so that, during such unprecedented times, I can continue to highlight the invaluable work that they do across Stirling’s communities.

“Even before the pandemic they were doing an absolutely vital job for the most vulnerable in our society, helping them access support to relieve poverty and suffering and allowing individuals to make positive changes in their lives.

“The need for their work has only been heightened in recent months.

“For more than 25 years, Start Up Stirling has been providing support to local people in times of need and I look forward to continuing to highlight their important service to the people of Stirling in the forthcoming months.”

Start Up Stirling focuses on alleviating poverty, suffering and distress by running foodbanks, providing home starter packs for people starting a new tenancy following crisis and an essential support service to assist people to access additional services such as money advice.

Regular services have had to be put on hold, however, and all efforts have been put into running a home delivery only foodbank service throughout the pandemic to ensure those most in need still receive vital support.

Anthony Birch, Start Up Stirling convener, added: “We are tremendously grateful to the provost and Stirling Council for extending their support of Start Up Stirling as the chosen Charity of the Year.

“Since the pandemic began and our foodbank service moved to home delivery, Stirling Council have provided vital resources to enable us to continue, in the form of redeployed staff to make deliveries, transportation and funds to purchase additional food for those in need.

“We would like to express our gratitude to all involved and we look forward to continuing to work with the provost and Stirling Council.”

Each year the provost of the time picks a local charity to raise awareness for and to offer funding support with Start Up Stirling named Charity of the Year for 2019-20 originally.