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What is Tackling Poverty Together?

Tackling Poverty Together (TPT) is about local communities working together and responding to the  impacts of welfare reform in their neighbourhood.

 

Why are we Tackling Poverty Together?

Some changes to the welfare system are: the introduction of the “bedroom tax”, more people having their benefits stopped (sanctions) and an increasing

number of people deemed fit for work.These changes are disproportionately affecting those in poverty and can represent a real cut in what people have to live on. For example, people in poverty (20% of the population) bear 36% of the cuts. Disabled people in poverty (4% of the population) bear 13% of the cuts. People using social care (3% of the population) bear 13% of the cuts. (Source: ‘Counting the Cuts’, Centre for Welfare Reform, 2014)

 

Research from the Centre for Welfare Reform suggests:

  • People in poverty will lose an average of £2,744 per year
  • Disabled people in poverty will lose an average of £4,660 per year
  • People using social care will lose an average of £6,409 per year

 

The effects of this are being experienced in communities. Already we are seeing:

  • Growing numbers forced to use food banks
  • Increased personal debt
  • Increased mental health problems
  • Increased family breakdown
  • Growing inequality

 

When are we Tackling Poverty  Together?

This work will be taking place from April/May 2014 till July 2015.

 

Who is Tackling Poverty Together?

Several communities in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, with the support of Big Lottery Fund, are working with Faith in Community Scotland.

Communities have already been active in some areas, but the growing level of hardship often requires a greater focus on the  impacts of welfare reform and the involvement of more people.

 

Some of the things that local communities are doing and may wish to build on are:

 

  • Helping to improve budgeting skills,
  • Welfare rights advocacy and advice
  • Providing free food, information and access to services in drop in cafes
  • Improving the ability of people to grow and cook food, which is healthy and inexpensive
  • Increasing access to IT facilities to help people with job searching and signing on to the Universal Credit when it is introduced
  • Setting up of small, local self-reliant groups that help people develop their enterprising skills

 

How are we Tackling Poverty Together?

Tackling Poverty Together is a participatory project. This means that what is done is decided in partnership with the community and with people who are experiencing poverty, who are the real experts on their own lives and needs.

 

This is an initiative that will be led by local communities with support from Faith in Community Scotland. Our role will be to help communities identify the impact of the welfare reform changes and supporting them in filling local gaps in services. Hence, this is an opportunity to take local action and build on what is going on and/or initiate something additional to help local people cope with the struggle of making ends meet. Together we can gather information and initiate action. This support can include: volunteer development; training and mentoring; building up a community profile of the area; listening, documenting and sharing case studies, information and successes that emerge from the project.