Council supports Challenge Poverty Week as residents navigate the Cost-of-Living Crisis
Posted on 2 Oct 2023
North Ayrshire Council is backing a week-long drive that shines a light on poverty and what we can do to help make life better for people who are in crisis.
Challenge Poverty Week (October 2 to 8), arranged by the Poverty Alliance charity, inspires communities every year to work together, support each other and find new ways to change attitudes.
This is the eighth consecutive year the Council has supported the special week, and Council Leader Marie Burns is proud of the continuing efforts being made across the region to improve living conditions for people struggling to make ends meet.
Some of the funds and support already offered by the Council to support residents are:
- Emergency Support Payment: Last winter, we supported more than 1,500 eligible households specifically through our £450,000 Emergency Support Payment. Councillors set aside £1million earlier this year to ensure further payments could be made this winter. Anyone who is struggling to make ends meet could be eligible for support in paying their household energy bills.
- Early Intervention Fund – a one-off investment of £1.4m over three years to replace the Cost of the School Day. This includes £100,000 for a community transport initiative and
- The recent Scottish Government funding of £2.272m to pay for holiday school meals and free school meals for P4 and P5 year groups, ensuring that all P1-P5 pupils benefit from the scheme.
The themes for this year’s activities are: Communities and Volunteers; Adequate Incomes, Food, Housing and Transport.
Here in North Ayrshire, events and activities the Council has arranged include:
- Residents share their stories about how having solar panels installed at their homes has helped their bills – and the environment.
- We shine a light on the success of the national free bus travel scheme, which means those aged under 22 can hop on for free using a National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card.
- There is also a focus on travel at the Trinity Active Travel Hub on Thursday from 11am to 3pm at 8 Bridgegate in Irvine. Members of the public are invited along to the former Trinity Church have their bike security marked and checked over, speak to the team at Stagecoach about travel planning, chat to Home Energy Scotland about how to keep your home warm in winter, discuss the best way to recycle old bikes and sign up for an NEC card. Simply go along on the day.
- On Friday, the Council will host a cooking event and Cultural Café at Irvine’s Redburn Community Centre to help showcase dishes made in our communities, with a focus on produce.
In recent years, communities and businesses have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine and economic unpredictability.
This has been compounded by the energy crisis, increased inflation and increased interest rates, and has resulted in higher household prices, which have created hardship and financial exclusion for people across North Ayrshire.
The Council’s top priorities include tackling child poverty and supporting residents through the Cost-of-living Crisis. The three key drivers of child poverty are income from employment, income from social security and the cost of living.
Councillor Burns is chair of the Tackling Child Poverty and Cost of Living Board, which was set up to help improve life for people and is supported by a three-year £1.4m Child Poverty and Cost-of-Living fund that was allocated by the Council in the 2023-24 budget.
She said: “As we work together to drive down the levels of poverty people in our communities face every day, it is crucial that we combine our resources and ideas, and help people with dignity and respect.
“There are lots of factors we need to take into account, including housing, transport costs and availability, access to food at fair prices, incomes and benefits and also how organisations like charities and social enterprises can work with the Council and businesses to bring about positive change.
“It is a privilege to support Challenge Poverty Week 2023 along with hundreds of other organisations. And I look forward to meeting residents, businesses, charities and North Ayrshire residents throughout the week at events.”
Follow the Council’s social media channels, using #Challenge Poverty and #CPW23, to find out more about events happening across North Ayrshire.
If you need help with Cost-of-Living support please visit the Council’s dedicated webpage at https://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living/
There is also a handy Council information leaflet online here https://tinyurl.com/43bj33ec that gives information about clothing grants and free school meals, Council Tax reduction, Community Larders and more.