Tackling child poverty remains a key priority for East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership as an estimated 26% of children are still living in poverty in Scotland.
As a result of the commitment made by the Community Planning Partnership in its Local Child Poverty Action report, and in recognition of the Health and Social Care Partnership’s aim for everyone to live in a fairer, kinder and more connected East Ayrshire, a Child Poverty Challenge was held in the Kay Church in Kilmarnock this week. Invited expert parties from across all sectors of the community were challenged to consider some real ways to reduce child poverty.
After introductions and presentations by Eddie Fraser, Director of East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, and Liam Armstrong, Member of the Children and Young People’s Cabinet, attendees were invited to take part in workshops to identify ways to tackle poverty.
Affordable transport, fairly paid work, financial inclusion, a reduction in living costs, providing the right support when it's needed and better communication of information were identified as crucial areas where shared action and positive change will have the most impact in reducing not only child poverty, but poverty in general.
Key note speaker, Dr Jim McCormick, Associate Director for Scotland with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “We all need to collectively get behind those changes that make a difference so that all children in East Ayrshire can be happy and fulfilled, free to enjoy their childhood and able to fulfil their potential.”
Attendees agreed that too many people are living in poverty and that poverty is not inevitable. Depute Provost Claire Leitch highlighted that: “Growing up in poverty affects life chances in health, wellbeing, education and employment. It can mean feeling cold, hungry and unable to take part in the things that friends and neighbours do.”
By bringing together partners from East Ayrshire Council, third sector organisations, local community groups, the independent sector, NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish Government itself, it's believed that creative solutions can be found.