Supporting families facing financial hardship and ensuring that children do not grow up in poverty remains a top priority in Argyll and Bute.
At a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council councillors received an update on the 2022-2023 Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Plan Review.
The council and the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership created the plan in 2019, and it is a requirement under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 that they publish an annual review that sets out the initiatives that are currently underway to tackle child poverty in their region.
In Argyll and Bute, these initiatives include:
- Warm Places Initiative – A number of partner organisations are working together to provide “warm places” in local communities offering snacks, company, advice, and activities in a warm, comfortable environment
- Flexible Food and Fuel Fund – This fund combines grants with advice services and has supported more than 1600 households experiencing food and fuel insecurities
- Housing – A total of £555,000 has been invested in delivering energy efficiency improvements to 55 properties across Argyll and Bute while the COVID Tenant Rent Arrears Fund has assisted households facing rent arrears
- The Community Food Forum helps families experiencing fuel poverty due to rising energy prices
- The Parental Welfare Fund – a new initiative that helps with the transition to work, offering financial assistance with childcare costs, debts, transport and clothes for work
- Parental Employment Support Fund/Spark Your Promise – a project that offers packages to support people struggling to focus on work while facing problems such as their children needing winter coats, no access to broadband, and rent arrears
- The Supporting Communities Fund is open to organisations to apply for up to £2,500 to support community projects
- As part of the Scottish Government’s Parental Employability Support Fund (PESF), the Employer Recruitment Incentive (ERI) Programme supports people facing the greatest barriers to employment and can be used in several ways such as additional supervisory costs, training, travel to work costs, specialist in-work support or wages
- PESF also funds the Parental Welfare Fund which supports parents who successfully secure employment, helping with the transition into work over the first 13 weeks of employment
Councillor Amanda Hampsey, Policy Lead for Care Services, said: “People experience poverty through no fault of their own and, in the current financial climate it can be particularly difficult for single parents, larger families, and families where there is a disability. The last few years have been particularly challenging for many communities in Argyll and Bute for a variety of reasons including the severe impact of the COVID pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis.
“The latest update to our Child Poverty Action Plan outlines the extensive work that we are undertaking in collaboration with our partners to find ways of tackling these challenges to achieve our vision of no children living in households affected by poverty and deprivation.”