On Monday, I started to count all the stories appearing in the media that were concerned with poverty or the effects of this: “Easing tax on young workers”, “Increasing the supply of affordable homes”, “Benefit freeze to cost families £300 a year”, “One million live in areas of transport poverty” “Seven million children likely to be affected by benefits freeze”, “Parliament to debate roll out of Universal Credit”…
I gave up on Tuesday. It seems that we are all concerned with doing something about this. Often it feels overwhelming – Where do you start? How is it possible to influence decision makers? What good would my contribution be? So many people, so many agencies, so many politicians with a new strategy, policy or sound-bite.
“We cannot wait any longer to deal with the structural causes of poverty, in order to heal our society from an illness that can only lead to new crises.” Pope Francis
The key messages of this year’s #CPW17 campaign are simple:
- Poverty exists in Scotland and affects us all
- Poverty can be solved by boosting incomes and reducing costs
- Tackling poverty is about ensuring we are all able participate in society
We are asking the question; Challenge Poverty in Scotland? and responding Aye we can!
We can see people responding in just that way, here in our 64 Priority Areas spread across Scotland, where communities fall within the bottom 5% across all the 7 indicators of poverty identified by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.
Take health for example, one of the 7 SIMD indicators. At CrossReach’s Daisy Chain Early Years Centre in Govanhill, parents, empowering parents to explore the ways in which they can improve the health outcomes of their childrenparents, empowering parents to explore the ways in which they can improve the health outcomes of their childrenparents are working together to explore the ways in which they can improve the health of their children. This is in the face ofdespite reports often identifying that almost 40% of children living in Govanhill and the surrounding area are living in povertythis Th reports identifying that over 40% of children in the area are living in poverty. Parents, health workers and volunteers are working alongside each other to ensure that children can flourish.
In St Paul’s in Provanmill by acknowledging that young people are the experts in their own lives, they have developed programmes that have contributed to a 93% drop in youth crime in the area.
“What people can do, that systems can’t, is that they can care.” Cormac Russell, Nurture Development
These communities are good places to be and central to the work is an asset based approach; local people have the experience, resilience and knowledge to challenge poverty in their own communities. At our Priority Areas conference – “The Big Conversation 2”, in November, we will be focusing on asset based community development in challenging poverty – learning from local experiences. Politicians should look to these communities for their inspiration, understanding and solutions.
#CPW17 #AyeWeCan #PriorityAreas #GoodPlacesToBe #365PA #speakout #churchofscotland