A CLYDEBANK carer group has been given a £5,000 house-warming gift by the council to celebrate the opening of their new community support centre in the town.

Marking the start of Kinship Care Week, West Dunbartonshire Kinship Carers opened its doors to families for the first time at their new facility in Erskine House.

Kinship Care – where children are raised by family members or friends because they are unable to live with their parents for a variety of reasons – was allocated extra support at the recent meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council.

One-off funding of £5,000 was granted from the council’s cost-of-living capital fund to support the group’s activities and help with the set-up costs involved with the new centre.

They were also encouraged to submit a bid for additional funding for equipment for their new premises.

Micheleine Kane, chair of West Dunbartonshire Kinship Carers, said: “We are thrilled with our new centre and it was a special moment to see everyone so happy when the doors were opened for the first time.

“We are a community group providing direct peer support but we can’t do all this alone so we are grateful to the council for this additional funding, which will allow us to settle in faster and plan more activities.”

Families were joined by West Dunbartonshire councillors Michelle McGinty and Clare Steel, chair and vice-chair respectively of the authority's cost-of-living working group, for a tour of the new facility.

Councillor McGinty said: “It’s a pleasure to join the families on the opening day of this fantastic new facility.

"It was fantastic to see and hear the excitement from the group about what it will mean for them.

“This space will be a friendly, welcoming place for kinship carers to drop in for a chat as well as free tea, coffee, food and heat.

"But most importantly it offers the chance to meet people who are in similar situations and find support."

Councillor Steel added: “The positive difference that carers make to the lives of looked after children and young people is priceless, but it’s important that we show they are valued by us.

“The Cost of Living Fund is there to give a helping hand to people in need and the community groups who seek to help them – and this fantastic new space will most definitely make a positive difference to the lives of kinship carers in our area.”