We are more than halfway through Challenge Poverty Week and we want to highlight what’s been happening in Midlothian to unite against poverty and what we are doing at MVA and across Midlothian in the longer term to tackle poverty in the community.
In the face of the Cost-of-Living Crisis and with councils facing budget challenges, it seems appropriate that we introduce Challenge Poverty Week (CPW) and what it stands for.
What is Challenge Poverty Week?
Challenge Poverty Week was launched in 2013 by the Poverty Alliance. It serves as a platform to raise awareness about the persistence of poverty in Scotland and its impact on people’s daily lives. Every October, Scottish organizations come together to stand against injustice and poverty. This year’s themes revolve around communities, volunteers, housing, adequate incomes, transport, and food.
The Cost-of-Living Crisis and Its Impact
The Cost-of-living crisis is affecting people across Scotland and is having an impact on the everyday lives of people. 70% of people in a recent Poverty Alliance Survey said that poverty in Scotland is very real today. In Midlothian specifically, households earning £40,000 or less are said to be feeling a more significant impact from the increased living costs. The number of crises grant applications and acceptances has almost doubled since 2013/14 with a rapid increase in 2021/22.
Challenge Poverty Week in Midlothian
There have been a number of events in Midlothian for 2023 Challenge Poverty Week. At MVA Lesley Kelly, our Chief Officer, spoke at a breakfast briefing on Monday talking about communities and volunteers, offering insight into fairer funding, policy asks and the impact the Cost-of-living crisis is having on organizations across Midlothian. Read more about the policy briefing here. We also offered extra volunteer drop-in sessions for people to find out more about volunteering opportunities. This is all part of the confidence experience to help people into employment. Organizations we work alongside with such as Dalkeith Citizens Advice Bureau and Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust have also run events.
Our Long Term Goals
Under our longer term goals to eradicate and tackle poverty, we want to let you know that under the 2023-2027 Single Midlothian Plan MVA & Volunteer Midlothian alongside other organizations are working towards ensuring no child or household is living in poverty by 2027. Also, that individuals and communities in Midlothian can have improved skills and health for work and general happiness in their everyday life.
Alongside this, we are making a commitment towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030 which goes hand in hand with poverty eradication according to a report published by the Climate Environment Programme in 2015.