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A few months ago, along with our partner organisations in the Poverty Action Group, we undertook a series of events throughout East Ayrshire to try and identify the issues caused by poverty in the different local communities to identify the issues facing a child living in a family on a low income.

Over one in every four children in East Ayrshire is currently living in poverty – a total of around 7,000 children. That is 7,000 too many. Two-thirds of those children live in households where at least one member of the family is working.

The children of today are our future and their success will pay for the pensions of tomorrow’s pensioners yet we as a society let child poverty adversely affect the life opportunities of our children. Poverty doesn’t just affect their childhood but their experiences in those years of development will greatly affect their adult life. Children living in poverty are more likely to experience stigma and bullying at school. It affects not only their physical health but also their mental health, leaving them with low self-esteem and a sense of worthlessness. They are more likely to miss out on school activities that cost money, such as school trips or fundraising days, leaving them excluded from their class mates and affecting friendships which can leave them socially excluded from their peers. A hungry child will lack the concentration to learn. In these days where technology plays a major part in our education system low income families may not have the resources to allow their child to access a computer to do their homework. They may not have the learning opportunities, leading them to under achieve at school which in turn restricts their opportunities to move into further education or obtain good, well paid employment.

In East Ayrshire our Poverty Proofing Our Establishments programme is seeking to tackle these issues and more with a number of schools coming up with innovative yet simple ideas to help out our children. This can be from breakfast clubs to providing facilities for the washing of clothes and much, much more.

East Ayrshire Council along with our Community Planning Partners is also committed to meeting the stringent targets set by the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty strategy which legally has to eradicate child poverty by 2030. They have introduced a new Best Start Grant, paying out £250 for every qualifying child when they are born; start early learning and also start school. They have also pledged to introduce a new benefit, a Scottish Child Payment from 2021 which will initially pay out £10 per week for every child under the age of six whose family receives a qualifying benefit, with the roll out to all children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022. It is estimated that this with take 30,000 children in Scotland out of poverty.

Poverty is not just about money. There are wider issues at stake such as transport costs, cost of school clothing, access to services which all can make it difficult for people to escape poverty. Challenging Child Poverty is a priority for East Ayrshire Council and in conjunction with our partner agencies we will commit to doing whatever we can to ensure that families have all the income that they are entitled to make child poverty a thing of the past.

Contact Information

Financial Inclusion Delivery Manager
East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership
The Johnnie Walker Bond
15 Strand Street
Kilmarnock
KA1 1HU
Telephone Freephone: 0800 389 7750

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