AWARD-WINNING campaigners have welcomed council plans to back-up their efforts to feed the community.

West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare was rocked last year when a Scottish Government fund rejected a key application for financial support.

A group of opposition councillors called for emergency West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) action before Christmas.

But the SNP administration questioned whether the foodshare had "over extended themselves putting new services in place before funding has been secured".

They refused to plug the full shortfall, but agreed to a £50,000 stop-gap and a further report.

Council bosses have done a detailed assessment of the charity's finances and found their shortfall was because of ever increasing demand for food in the area as well as the rejection of £132,087 in funding from the government's "investing in communities" scheme.

Clair Coyle, trustee with the charity, told the Reporter they expect 2019 figures could show they gave out a staggering 13,000 food parcels, a rise of up to 30 per cent.

She said: "It's not slowing down so it wasn't just a Christmas rush.

"I think the board is quite happy there could be a chance of some support from the council and it's over three years.

"We will still be applying for funding over those three years and just having that support if we need it will mean not having to lay off staff.

"We had a lot of involvement in the council report and support from staff from Working4U to compile it.

"Working4U staff have been really supportive and they are putting further support in place to go through funding applications and grants available.

"We seem more successful with trust funds but fall down on Scottish Government or European funding."

She added: "I'm really grateful for this support. We are extremely busy still."

Council officers were clear that the foodshare has not expanded its services or incurred unnecessary additional costs. It concludes their shortfall is entirely due to the loss or uncertainty of existing funding.

The council's £50,000 support will be for a transition to alternative funding streams. But they have a contingency plan to reduce staff and the scale of operations if they are unable to find new grants.

WDC will vote on the proposals at their meeting on Wednesday.