A DRIVE has been launched to ensure the most vulnerable in Moray people know help is available.
Across Scotland over 20,000 people have received grants from the £33 million Scottish Welfare Fund since its creation three months ago.
Local authorities have provided people with over £3.5 million since April – around half of what was available.
The Scottish Government is concerned this suggests many people are still not aware of the help available to them.
The new fund – which transferred to Scotland in April - provides grants to the disabled, elderly, lone parents and other vulnerable groups.
The money is awarded to people dealing with emergency situations – such as a theft or flood - as well as helping people get essential household items to set up or stay in their own homes, rather than be in care.
It can also help families, facing exceptional pressures, get one-off items, such as a cooker or washing machine.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "We will take every step necessary to ensure that the poorest in society are protected during these tough economic times.
"These grants really are a lifeline to those in need. It is excellent news that the fund has already helped over 20,000 people."
"Local Authorities are continuing to work in partnership with local voluntary organisations to boost knowledge of the new scheme through websites, local newspapers and word of mouth.
"We are doing all we can but we know that people are going to struggle because of the pressures from changes to the welfare system."