Scottish Borders Council launches anti-poverty strategy

Scottish Borders Council is supporting this year’s Challenge Poverty Week (4-10 October) by launching the Anti-Poverty Strategy and associated Action Plan which were formally approved at the council meeting held on September 23.

The Strategy was developed by a joint elected member and officer working group and follows a six month period of public consultation.

It sets out a clear vision for the way in which the council and its partners will aim to work together to help reduce poverty across the region under the key themes of economic poverty and income, fuel poverty, housing poverty, food poverty, impact on family and community health and wellbeing and digital poverty.

The strategy builds on initiatives and programmes that currently exist as well as looking to identify new areas where support is needed and will be of the most benefit, particularly in light of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Implementation of the Action Plan will be supported by a members reference group who will not only provide guidance to officers but will also work to ensure that input is received from partner organisations and individuals, including those with lived experience of poverty, to help identify any gaps or areas for further focus.

Councillor Robin Tatler, executive member for Community Development and Localities, said: “The development of this Strategy is an extremely timely and significant step in the Council’s commitment to supporting those who are experiencing poverty and improving their lives.

“We have worked hard to try and understand more fully the causes and impacts of poverty on our region and made sure that listening to residents, community planning partners and the third sector formed a critical part of the process. Their combined knowledge, expertise and experiences have been vital to the development of the Strategy itself and in setting out some specific initial targets we want to achieve through the Action Plan.

“We also want to be clear that this is the beginning of the conversation as we fully recognise that a culture shift is required to reduce poverty and the stigma of poverty. We are fully committed to playing our part to make that happen and will be making sure that the Strategy and Action Plan are reviewed on a regular basis so that they remain up to date and aligned with current priorities.”

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