Aberdeen City Council commits to tackling poverty

Aberdeen City Council is once again supporting national Challenge Poverty Week, which runs from 4-10 October and aims to highlight the reality many face from living in poverty.

As a key partner of Community Planning Aberdeen (CPA), the council is working in partnership with public, private and third sector organisations and community groups to help find solutions to end poverty via the delivery of the Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP).

In 2021, a refreshed LOIP was launched which included a new outcome – ‘no one will suffer due to poverty by 2026’ – signalling CPA’s determination to tackle poverty by giving people across the city access to food, fuel, shelter, employment, and finance.

Councillor Jenny Laing, chair of Community Planning Aberdeen, said: “We are committed to doing all we can to help tackle poverty and reduce the devastating effects it can have on communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that anyone can find themselves in need of financial support or access to basics such as food, shelter and fuel.

“Whilst the outcomes within the LOIP are not ordered in terms of importance, placing the new outcome upfront signals our dedication to achieving our vision of Aberdeen as a place where all people can prosper and no one lives in poverty.”

A new Anti-Poverty Outcome Improvement Group has been created to ensure that no one will suffer due to poverty by 2026. Partners are working to mitigate the causes of immediate and acute poverty, including fuel and food poverty, help people maximise their income through employment and benefit take up, and supporting those with protected characteristics who are experiencing poverty.

During the pandemic, the number of people unemployed more than doubled in Aberdeen, hitting those with no qualifications or workplace experience the hardest. There was a similar increase in the number of people on Universal Credit.

A range of employment support opportunities is available through ABZWorks, the Council’s employability team, which works with public, private and third sector partners across the city. This includes the ABZWorks one-stop employability website launched earlier this month.

Funded through Young Person’s Guarantee, the ABZWorks website provides a broad range of information, advice, support, and guidance to job seekers of all ages. This includes school pupils considering their careers, people facing or experiencing redundancy, long-term unemployed, families experiencing poverty, including in-work poverty, and information for parents and guardians to help guide their children.

The ABZWorks team is also responsible for delivering Parental Employability Support Fund activity, part of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, which specifically targets parents with dependent children who are experiencing in-work poverty, or who are experiencing poverty as a result of unemployment.

A workforce development officer is engaging with city employers to promote upskilling opportunities, while employability keyworkers support parents to access training, support, funded childcare, financial support and advice, more hours, employment, or better paid work.

Councillor Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council leader, commented: “Although our economy has been hit hard in recent times, Aberdeen remains a city of opportunity. Job postings are increasing and businesses are hiring again as they return to business as usual.

“It is essential that everyone can benefit from these opportunities and the launch of ABZWorks has helped to ensure that anyone in the city can access the employability, skills training support they need to secure jobs. We are working closely with education partners, industry - particularly the growth sectors – and training providers, to support people into quality, fair and sustainable work which affords them a decent quality of life and supports the growth of the Aberdeen economy.”

Throughout Challenge Poverty Week, North East fuel poverty charity Scarf will be offering practical, face to face advice for anyone worried about rising energy bills

Scarf’s offices at 1 Cotton Street, Aberdeen, AB11 5EE are open for drop-in with sessions on October 5 and October 7 from 10am-3pm. There is no need to book an appointment. All usual Covid safety measures will be in operation.

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