Pledge To Eradicate Child Poverty Sparks Local Call For Third Sector Investment

A pledge by the First Minister to eradicate child poverty in Scotland has been welcomed by Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway (TSDG) with a call to invest in the sector’s work in communities.

In his statement to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, First Minister John Swinney made it clear that ending child poverty was the single most important objective of the Government.

In response, Alan Webb, TSDG’s Chief Executive Officer, said to help achieve the ambitious target Scotland needed to recognise the potential and strengths of communities.

This should work in tandem with national steps such as: maximising family income, including increasing the Scottish Child Payment; delivering on the commitments to whole family wellbeing and support; and supporting access to sustainable, family friendly, and well-paid work.

The CEO said the third sector delivered many of the essential services and supports for local people, sharing with them an insightful and trusted relationship. As a result, organisations in the sector were an incredible vehicle for communities to “own, adapt and change” to meet their own needs.

He added that public services should be complementary to what communities could achieve themselves, with the right investment and support. Now, with public services facing financial constraints, it was time to think differently about their role in supporting and enabling, rather than maintaining unsustainable service models.

Alan said: “The third sector in Dumfries and Galloway is made up of almost 2000 organisations, the majority of which are local community groups. Combined with hundreds of small, medium and large charities, our sector’s reach is broad and the daily impact on people’s lives is often undiscovered and undervalued to those outside of our local communities.”

It was time to maximise the shared potential and capacity of the third sector and public services but that required a change of thinking, not just public service reform.

TSDG has set out an updated ambition in its newly released prospectus to support people and communities in the region to thrive through a strong third sector, equal partnerships and securing equity, dignity, belonging and justice for all.

Alan said the third sector needed adequate, long-term, and sustainable investment and a trust that it could deliver.

This would require a change of outlook to see the sector as an equal partner and not secondary to others and a transfer of power to where it had most impact on challenges such as addressing inequalities, connectivity, health and wellbeing, the local economy, and action on climate.

“That’s why we’ve been clearer about our focus and influence as we set out new ambitions,” Alan said. “We believe they are also key to helping the First Minister deliver the Government’s ambitions.”

Chair of the board at Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, John Dougan added: “We extend an invitation to the First Minister to visit us here in Dumfries and Galloway and see for himself the incredible work being carried out in our communities right across the region.”