Cornerstone House Centre is spotlighting Challenge Poverty Week from 2-8 October 2023, with the organisation playing a central role in a number of key events taking place across Greater Cumbernauld to promote the campaign over the coming week.
Challenge Poverty Week, an initiative of anti-poverty intermediary The Poverty Alliance which has taken place every October since 2013, seeks to highlight the injustice of poverty in Scotland and to show that collective action based on justice and compassion can create solutions.
The week is an opportunity for citizens across the country to raise voices against poverty and unite with others in calling for a just and equal Scotland. The subject of inequality within local area will be the focus of three events taking place in Cumbernauld to mark Challenge Poverty Week 2023.
To this end, Cumbernauld Community Board’s Food and Financial Insecurity Priority Sub-Group is extending an invitation for local people to attend a Challenge Poverty Week Community Engagement Event in Kildrum on Friday 6 October 2023 from 10.00am-12noon at The Salvation Army Building (Clouden Road, Cumbernauld, G67 2EP).
The morning will incorporate a special market place at which a number of stall holders will be present and able to provide confidential and impartial support and advice in challenging the stigma of poverty. Agencies presents will include North Lanarkshire Council, NHS Lanarkshire, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Citizens Advice Bureau and Cornerstone House Centre, amongst others.
In a similar vein, further events will take place on Wednesday 11 October 2023 at Abronhill Community Centre (2 Larch Road, Cumbernauld, G67 3AZ) from 12noon-2.00pm and on Thursday 19 October 2023 at Cornerstone House (1 Esk Walk, Cumbernauld, G67 1BZ) from 11.00am-1.00pm. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, commented:
“Challenge Poverty Week is more important than ever given the cost of living crisis that has resulted in a major increase in the number of people from Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, Northern Corridor and surrounding villages that are struggling to keep their home warm at a reasonable cost and purchase essential food items on a daily basis.
“The newly published Towards a Fairer North Lanarkshire Tackling Poverty Strategy 2023-26 outlines that while trends show stability in a number of key indicators relating to economic growth, investment, employment and educational attainment, there are still unacceptably high levels of deprivation and child poverty and clear areas of inequity and inequality remaining across the local area.
“This means that not all of Cumbernauld’s people share equally and there is an element of social exclusion across some of our communities. As a result, the provisions of Cornerstone House Centre have provided a lifeline for many families and citizens on lower incomes.
“Cornerstone House Centre is an advocate of redesigning our economy to make sure people have incomes that are adequate enough to live a life with freedom and dignity. As a Community Anchor Organisation for Greater Cumbernauld, the organisation is committed to challenge poverty.
“The charity has been proactive in initiating free and low-cost interventions which benefit local people experiencing disadvantage. These include Cumbernauld Family Hub, Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub, the Here to Help Scheme, bespoke Training Services and Employability Services.
“These valuable services have been influential in alleviating poverty amongst individuals and families in notable local areas of deprivation such as Carbrain, Seafar and Central Cumbernauld.
“Poverty has a distressing and life-changing effect on people’s lives and the most vulnerable in our society are often those who are worst affected. We need to act and help those who need it most by ensuring decision and policy makers at every level do so much more to help improve living standards.”
Cornerstone House Centre is just one of a number of voluntary sector organisations which play a vital role in addressing poverty in the Cumbernauld area. Others include Bethlehem House of Bread Food Bank, Christians Against Poverty (CAP), Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Care, Cumbernauld Poverty Action, Cumbernauld Resilience, Cumbernauld YMCA-YWCA and One Parent Families Scotland.
Cumbernauld statistics in relation to the key deprivation indicators of income, employment, health, education, housing, access and crime compare less favourably than the Scottish average, and in some areas considerably less favourably. Indeed, The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2020 places the Cumbernauld data zone average deprivation rank amongst the worst third in Scotland.
Approximately 15% of the Cumbernauld population is classified as income deprived, with the average annual earnings of a local resident being 3% lower than the Scottish average. Notably, 61% of those experiencing income deprivation locally do not live in the 15% most deprived neighbourhoods.
Furthermore, it is believed that more than one third of households in Cumbernauld are living in fuel poverty, including 35% of households in the social rented sector. Food poverty is another area which has risen markedly over the last decade in Cumbernauld.
In Scotland, almost one in four children are currently growing up in poverty, with the numbers predicted to continue to rise in the years ahead.
Poverty can leave a lasting and devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people, including significant adverse effects on the educational attainment and life chances of those that experience it.
Enquiries relating to the upcoming Challenge Poverty Week Community Engagement Events can be directed to North Lanarkshire Council’s Community Partnership Team by emailing CommunityMatters@northlan.gov.uk.
Challenge Poverty Week takes place from 2-8 October 2023 in Scotland. It aims to raise a unified voice against poverty and call for a more just and equal Scotland, as well as building awareness and support for solutions to poverty.
For more about the themes of Challenge Poverty Week 2023 and how you can have your voice heard, visit www.challengepoverty.net.