Councillor Scott Farmer is Leader of Stirling Council and the Scottish National Party (SNP) Group in Stirling Council, representing Ward 5 (Stirling West). He was born in Edinburgh in 1962 and attended Newbattle Abbey College, Dalkeith. He graduated from the University of Stirling in Politics, Philosophy, Business Law and Economics.
Stirling Council, and its partners STEP and Business Gateway, reacted swiftly to the needs of the local business community as it faced the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing immediate support and advice. The city launched a COVID-19 Business Grant Scheme, that awarded more than 1,400 grants, totalling over £16 million. The city has also managed the Newly Self Employed Hardship Fund which aims to support the newly self-employed whose circumstances left them ineligible for other available grants and funding. In addition, the Invest in Stirling website has become a dedicated resource for businesses to access accurate up to date information on the support available to Stirling-based businesses. This is supported by targeted social media, a business support hotline, and a weekly e-bulletin to all Stirling businesses.
In response to requests for assistance, Local Co-ordination Teams (LCTs) were set up, one for each of seven electoral wards gathering more than 66 organisation and 1,300 community volunteers. Focusing primarily on delivering food and vital medication, and helping to guard against social isolation, LCTs are led by officers from the Community Development Team and supported by the Council’s Customer Service, Economic Development and Communities teams as well as key partners Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise and Trossachs Search and Rescue. Teams across Stirling Council also worked with Start Up Stirling, Stirling’s Food Bank, to ensure financially vulnerable households in the area could access support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with the resident to undertake an income maximisation assessment, this team can also make a referral for food support to Start Up Stirling, providing sustainable support for families by meeting the immediate need for food while working towards longer term financial security.
Stirling has launched a project to battle loneliness in older and vulnerable people. LinkAge Stirling aims to reduce social isolation by helping people feel more connected with their communities. Launched in North Rural Stirling, the pilot project will take place in an area with a high percentage of elderly residents – one in five of the area’s population is currently over the age of 65 and projections indicate this will rise to almost one in three by 2032. With one of the longest drive and public transport times in Scotland to access key services such as GP surgeries, the council plans to introduce a LinkAge co-ordinator for the area, who will assist people to access local services and activities. Stirling Councillor, Scott Farmer, said: “This project will help older people make connections that will improve their quality of life, while allowing them to remain within their own homes and communities.”