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Over £5.25m secured for Stirling’s residents as part of Council’s drive to tackle poverty

Tuesday October 8th, 2019

More than £5.25 million of additional income was secured for vulnerable people by Stirling Council’s Advice Services in the 2018/19 financial year.flag_3570425Large

The team, which had 2,075 new referrals in the same period, provides free, confidential and impartial money, debt and benefits advice to citizens in the Stirling area.

It is also a key provider of digital inclusion work, enabling people to deal more easily with online challenges through the roll out of Universal Credit.

Their life-changing work (see case study below) is one of many ways Stirling Council is tackling poverty 365 days a year, which is being highlighted during a week-long campaign (Oct 7-13) to address this growing national issue.

Organised by The Poverty Alliance, Challenge Poverty Week will enable the local authority and its community partners to raise awareness of how living in poverty impacts on the lives of people in Stirling and signpost to the local supportive services and programmes in place all year round.

It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the Council’s efforts to address the three identified drivers of poverty – income from employment, income from social security and benefits, and costs of living.

Over 240,000 children in Scotland live in low income households. People from black and minority households, disabled people, lone parents and young people are also all at a significantly increased risk of poverty.

Marked and persistent inequalities continue across Stirling and, while the percentage of children living in poverty in Stirling (19%) is below the national average, huge disparities still exist in income and life expectancy across the region.

As part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Advice Services will be holding drop-in sessions at venues throughout Stirling where the public can find out about the support on offer:

Monday – Thistle Centre (10am – 4pm)
Tuesday – Raploch Community Campus (10am – 4pm)
Wednesday – Customer First (10am – 4pm)
Thursday – MacRobert Art Centre (10am – 3pm)
Friday – Mayfield Recovery Café (1am to 3pm)

A number of other events are taking place during this week-long call to action across Stirling. These include:

A practical and interactive event to tackle the sensitivities around poverty at Forthbank Stadium, hosted by ClubSport Stirling
An event staged by the *Community Planning Partnership at Stirling University (Friday, 11 Oct), with expert speakers on a range of poverty-related subjects and a panel discussion.

Children, staff and the local community at Allan’s Primary School and Baker Street Nursery are also embracing the campaign, organising a range of activities to highlight the reality of poverty in the area and to examine solutions to solve it. This will climax in a special assembly on Friday (11 Oct), where food items will be donated to Start Up Stirling, following a challenge between all the different houses in the school.

On social media, meanwhile, Stirling Council and its community partners will be showcasing some of their recent transformative initiatives to tackle poverty, which people and organisations can engage in using the hashtags #ChallengePoverty and #AyeWeCan

A just and compassionate society
Vice Convener of the Community Planning a Regeneration Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “It’s simply not right that so many people are trapped in the grip of poverty in our communities and we must do all we can to tackle this issue.

For more information on Challenge Poverty Week, visit www.challengepoverty.net

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