Stirling Council’s inaugural participation in Challenge Poverty Week has been commended for boosting the local authority’s ongoing efforts to tackle this national issue.
Challenge Poverty Week - Cllr Kane and members of the Council's Advice Services

The Council took part in the campaign – organised nationally by the Poverty Alliance - for the first time in November last year.

It had three main aims:

  • To show the reality of poverty and challenge stereotypes
  • Showcase solutions to poverty
  • Increase public support for action to solve poverty.

To achieve these goals, the Council highlighted some of its wide-ranging initiatives that address poverty and inequalities 365 days a year, including via a social media campaign that reached thousands of residents of all ages. 

Among the key events that took place were: 

  • A conference organised by *Stirling’s Community Planning Partnership at the University of Stirling that attracted 40 attendees from a range of organisations
  • Drop-in sessions across Stirling by the Council’s Advice Services that directly engaged with 85 people
  • A range of activities at Allan’s Primary and Baker Street Nursery, where children, staff and the school community showed the reality of poverty and ways to solve it, culminating in food donations to Start Up Stirling.

The local authority’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee (30 Jan) noted the 2019 campaign, agreed to participate in this year’s campaign and delegated authority to officers to assess annually whether to take part in future years. 

365 days a year

Convener of the Committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Addressing all forms of poverty in our communities is one of the Council’s six key priorities.

“Although our work in this important area goes on 365 days a year, embracing this week-long campaign was a very worthwhile exercise, providing us with an opportunity to showcase a number of transformative initiatives, share good practice and forge new partnerships.

“Work is already underway to increase the effectiveness of this year’s campaign which will include greater engagement with local communities to shape our efforts to tackle this national issue.”

More than 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.

Highlight the reality of poverty

Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “Anything we can do to help tackle inequalities across Stirling must be welcomed so I am pleased we will participate in Challenge Poverty Week in 2020. 

“Last year’s campaign gave the Council and its community partners an opportunity to raise awareness of how poverty affects the lives of local people and to signpost the supportive services and programmes in place all year round. 

“It’s important we continue to highlight the reality of poverty and open up the conversations around it and demonstrate that we do live in a just and compassionate society.”

Picture details and background info:

*Stirling’s Community Planning Partnership (CPP) has a legal responsibility to work with communities and the third sector to plan, resource and deliver integrated public services that will reduce inequalities and improve local outcomes. For more information on the CPP in Stirling and the organisations involved, visit the Stirling Council website

Picture shows Cllr Chris Kane (pictured centre) and members of Stirling Council’s Advice Services at their stand inside the Thistles Centre which signalled the start of Challenge Poverty Week 2019  in Stirling.