Stirling Council and its community planning partners will raise a unified voice this week in their ongoing drive to address poverty as the pandemic continues to impact the lives of people across the area.

The Council will join a number of local organisations, such as NHS Forth Valley, in participating in Challenge Poverty Week (4-10 October), which is organised nationally by the Poverty Alliance.

This will support the Council’s ongoing commitment to tackle poverty across its communities and highlight the work to protect those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Research by Save the Children and Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that families who were already facing financial hardship have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis.

For example, 7 in 10 families on Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit surveyed in Scotland had to cut back on food and other essentials, with 51% falling behind on rent or other household bills.

A number of virtual events have been organised as part of the campaign to highlight the supportive services and programmes in place all round across Stirling.

These include:

  • Community Learning Development Upskilling Sessions.
  • Thrive to Maximise (an employability programme that supports families across the Plean, Cowie, Fallin, Bannockburn and Hillpark areas of Stirling) workshops.
  • Stirling Food Partnership – Good Food for All.
  • A Community Justice Third Sector Forum Launch.

We have to work together

Cllr Chris Kane, Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, said: “As we begin to rebuild our lives after Covid we have a collective opportunity to shatter the grip of poverty by focusing our services and our economy on our shared values of justice and compassion.

“We all agree that poverty can, and must, be solved. Challenge Poverty Week reminds us that to tackle poverty we have to work together. Only by combining and coordinating our efforts do we stand a chance of combating the devastating impact of poverty. Stirling Council continues to play a key role in this work, but we must and we will do more.” 

A number of schools have also organised lessons and a range of activities to support the campaign including Balfon HS, while Wellgreen and Hillview nurseries, along with the Stirling Inclusion Support Service, will share good practice at a training session with the Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative.

Build stronger partnerships

Cllr Scott Farmer, Vice Convener, said: “We know the pandemic has disproportionately impacted people and families that were already struggling, particularly in our most deprived communities.

“That is why the Council has safeguarded vital services that support those most in need and to prevent more people falling into hardship.

“As we hopefully emerge from this unprecedented crisis, Challenge Poverty Week is a timely call for further action on this national issue.

“While a lot of fantastic work is already taking place by many organisations and groups across Stirling, this is a chance to build stronger partnerships to alleviate poverty in our communities.”