Challenge Poverty Week gets underway

Child poverty 2

Hundreds of events will take place throughout the week as the campaign to end poverty in Scotland steps up

7th October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Scots are uniting this week to challenge poverty.

More than 300 events will mark the biggest ever Challenge Poverty Week which runs from today (Monday) until Sunday 13 October.

From conferences and campaigns to films screenings and family fun days, people across Scotland will highlight the rising tide of poverty and showcase the solutions we can all get behind to solve it. Many organisations will launch new initiatives like breakfast clubs, employability hubs and concessionary travel.

Businesses, leading NGOs, faith groups, academics, grassroots activists, community groups, schools and local authorities are among more than 200 organisations taking part. 

Derek Kelter is a community activist with The Poverty Alliance, who has been living on a low income since he suffered a brain injury five years ago.

He said: “We should all be able to live a dignified life, but too many people are trapped in poverty. I’m blind and I’ve been locked out of employment since I had a brain injury five years ago.

“Poverty destroys everything in your life. A low for me was last Christmas when I had no money to buy my son a Christmas present. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Social security benefits should be enough so that people can live a dignified life and disabled people should be given support to access employment.

“Challenge Poverty Week is an opportunity for us to say the situation we have today is unacceptable. We need to get together to solve it.”

Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance, organisers of the week, said: “All across Scotland people are coming together to highlight the problem of poverty and show what we can do to overcome the barriers that lock so many people in poverty.

“By boosting people’s incomes and reducing the cost of living we can redesign our economy to better reflect the values of compassion and justice we all share.”

Rev Colin Sinclair, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said:  “I am very glad to support Challenge Poverty Week. Jesus came to bring ‘good news to the poor’ but sadly too many people still in Scotland are trapped in the grip of poverty.

“The way we treat the most vulnerable is a good indicator of the health of our society. As a church we are called to be a voice for the voiceless, to show mercy as we can and to seek justice as we are able.”