Challenge Poverty Week is a national campaign led by the Poverty Alliance aimed at raising awareness of poverty in our daily lives. This year, the week runs from Monday,5 October to Sunday, 11 October 2020.
Following on from the regionwide support to this national campaign in previous years, Dumfries and Galloway council will be delivering a programme of activities to showcase all the work that is being done day-in and day-out to tackle poverty in our region and the support available to everyone who needs it. The programme will also be delivered slightly differently this year, using predominantly digital ways of communicating to take account of current guidance from the Scottish Government on physical distancing.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it has turned the lives of many upside down. People have been furloughed or have lost their jobs, some are unable to work from home as they cannot pay for the required connections or additional household costs, and with some having to balance childcare when required (as a result of isolation or closures) it can leave those still in work facing the impossible task of balancing their finances. These challenges are particularly acute for low-income families.
Challenge Poverty Week is an annual opportunity for us all to raise our voices against poverty and unite with others in calling for a more just and equal Scotland.
During the week, there will be Question and Answer sessions on a range of different topics, with a theme of ‘increasing incomes and reducing costs’. Over the seven days, there will be key messages on a range of topics, including:
• Causes and Effects of Poverty,
• Money, Benefits, Welfare, Finances and Debt
• Education and Training
• Employment and Retirement
• Housing and Utilities
• Food Banks
• The Changing Face of Poverty and Community Stories
Speaking at the launch of Challenge Poverty Week 2020, Chair of the Communities committee, Andy Ferguson, said, “our council is absolutely committed to challenging poverty in all its forms. This week is designed to highlight that too many people are living with the pressure of living in poverty. Together, with the Poverty Alliance and our Poverty Reference Group, we have designed a programme so that we can raise awareness of the causes and effects of poverty, and the support that is available for anyone who needs it.”
Vice Chair of the committee, John Martin said, “As we plan our economic recovery, we must redesign our economy to reflect the values of justice and compassion we all share. By boosting people’s incomes and reducing the cost of living we can help make sure we all have what we need. During the course of the week, we need to change the conversation around poverty and help end the stigma of living on a low income.”
Vice Chair of the Tackling Poverty Reference Group Jim Hiddleston noted, “Our partner organisations who can help you have completed videos, provided information and facts and figures which are aimed at making your lives easier and to help you during this challenging time. Please don’t sit at home and worry about where to get help – contact the services and ask for help, and the sooner you do, the sooner you will start to escape from the burden of poverty”.
Details of the activities taking place during Challenge Poverty Week can be found on our website: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/challengepovertyweek