Religious leaders have joined forces with a politician to offer support to those struggling to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis.

Inspired by a conversation he had with a priest about the role churches can play in helping cash-strapped families cope during tough times, Labour MSP Paul O’Kane decided to host an event to raise awareness of the financial support available.

He invited representatives from churches and faith groups across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire to a special surgery, where information was provided to enable them to give advice to local residents about who they can turn to if they need help Staff from the Citizens Advice Bureau also attended, along with members of East Renfrewshire Council’s Money Advice and Rights Team and the Advice Works service run by Renfrewshire Council.

Mr O’Kane said the surgery, which took place in the hall at St Mirin’s Cathedral, in Paisley, was a great success and he hopes to stage similar gatherings in the near future.

“Many constructive conversations were had between religious leaders and financial organisations about how best to inform people of sources of help,” added Mr O’Kane, who represents both Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit.

“Chatting to people attending, it’s clear that it is a two-way thing. Statutory services and support organisations are doing great work but so are churches and religious groups.

“The reality of the cost-of-living crisis is that many people are being told how hard things will become without having a good sense of who to turn to for help but hopefully, after this surgery, more religious figures across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire can point people towards helpful sources of information and support, particularly in terms of financial advice and rights.”

Mr O’Kane thanked all of the organisations who attended the event.

He added: “I think more events like this will be necessary, not just for religious leaders but for anyone who wishes to have more awareness of organisations who can provide financial help and assistance.”