Everyone’s Children Project Manager
Everyone’s Children held a briefing session on the Glasgow Local Child Poverty Action Report (LCPAR) on 12th February. The aim of the session was to ensure that third sector activities and issues were recognised in the report.
Participants heard from Dr Rosie Ilett, Glasgow Child Poverty Coordinator, who set the context and updated on progress towards producing the Glasgow report.
- The Scottish Government aspires to reduce child poverty with public and third sectors working together in partnership. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 (report available here) creates a new duty for local authorities and the NHS to produce Local Child Poverty Action Plans.
- The causes of child poverty are low pay, costs of living and low income.
- The solutions are seen as improving employment projects, ensuring affordable and accessible transport, childcare and credit and maximising benefit take up.
- Rosie has been involved in mapping what is currently provided in Glasgow and third sector organisations were asked to complete a survey in Nov 2018. The mapping exercise in Glasgow suggests that while employability, childcare and benefit take up are being addressed, transport is an issue that needs to be looked at in more detail.
- Gena Howe was appointed in December 2018 to lead on Child Poverty for Glasgow City Council. Gena`s primary focus will be to work in partnership across multiple organisations internally and externally to support the strategic objectives of reducing child poverty in Glasgow and to enable change through innovative operational delivery. More information here.
Third Sector issues
Some of the issues raised were:
- The impact on child poverty of carers, who have to give up work. They are not able to seek employment.
- How the Child Poverty Action Plan connects with Locality Plans. Gena said that she is engaged in discussion with colleagues in community planning and speaking to community councils and Thriving Places to seek a common focus on child poverty.
- How do you know if actions have made a difference?: It’s difficult because there are too many different figures and no baseline to work from. It’s a work in progress and finding a way to bring it all together and report is vital
- Systemic change: tension between systems means activity often doesn’t address the root causes of poverty. There are too many systems, too many silos, and it’s difficult for front line services to find a positive way forward. A systemic change is required
- Poverty is a risk factor in social care and child protection. The eligibility criteria for Social Work intervention may be too high. The Citywide Forum has a live discussion on the thresholds of risk with the Health and Social Care Partnership.
- NSPCC have carried out training funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which promotes changing attitudes of front line practitioners in their treatment of people.
- The CPAG Cost of the School Day and Cost of the School Holiday Reports had a big impact on teachers – showing them the problems faced by families in poverty
- Work is now in progress on the cost of early years care. Even with ‘free’ places there are a lot of hidden costs that parents can’t afford – like ‘voluntary’ donations for the toy fund.
- Involving children and young people: Gena has been talking to peer mentors and children with care experience to find out what their issues are, compiling evidence and trying to do things differently. Third sector organisations could also assist with this.
Funding sources to help children and families
The meeting discussed funding sources to help both organisations and families. There are a number of charitable funders who can help third sector organisations to support children and families, including the Big Lottery, Robertson Trust, Glasgow’s Spirit of Christmas, Radio Clyde – Cash for Kids at Christmas. There were concerns that the Council relies on the third sector and funders to provide services. Family Support is almost entirely provided by third sector, funded by Big Lottery etc. However, grants are time limited and services have to close when the funding runs out. The changes to IGF funding may put services at risk.
The Turn 2 Us website has a searchable data base of grant givers (see here) . GCVS also has a funding portal and can assist third sector organisations to access funding sources. There is a monthly drop in workshop called ‘First Tuesday’ that people can use. Two sources highlighted at the meeting were:
- Glasgow Care Foundation have £7.7 million to give away in grants to tackle child poverty. They are focusing on 5 priority areas in Glasgow. A link to their online application can be found here: GCF Application
- Children in Need provide support to a number of third sector organisations in Glasgow to help them to provide activities for children. They also have an Emergency Essentials Programme for washing machines, cookers etc. Third Sector Organisations can apply to become registered referrers to make an application. More information here
The meeting heard a range of examples of services provided by third sector organisations to address child poverty. Many provide welfare rights advice, family support, out of school activities, holiday play schemes, emergency assistance, employability schemes etc. Around 100 third sector organisations took part on the Glasgow Holiday Food Programme which fed over 15,000 children in 2018.
- One Parent Family Scotland (OPFS) described the wide range of work that they do with single parents:
- Increasing income from employment; Support with employability skills for single parents; upskilling parents – qualifications
- Family support; New family counselling service
- Paying travel costs, Debt and financial capacity service, Getting food from food banks to give to people, Christmas appeal – toys, clothes, vouchers
- Fuel awareness work, Crisis grants; Free Phone Advice
- Universal credit project for single parents
- Working with partners including: GHeat, Glasgow Holiday Food Programme, Spirit of Scotland, Family Holiday Association
- Supporting people to share their voices, use peer support, improve standard of living and help people to make their own choices
- Rosemount Lifelong Learning is a charity based in Royston, North Glasgow. They have a range of services:
- Community Learning – focusing on assisting with the education and training of disadvantaged adults aged 16+ to improve basic skills including IT, literacy and numeracy, life skills and skills for employment. This includes ESOL and language skills to support community integration.
- Family Support Services – the Positive Family Futures project is a new community led project focusing on a strengths based approach to developing services and activities to meet the needs of different generations of individuals within local families.
- The Family Links project is an addictions and recovery service offering emotional, social, educational and practical parenting support to parents, young children and teenagers affected by parental substance misuse.
- Employability – Time for a Change – an employability programme that engages with those who are further from the labour market and need additional support before they are able to re-enter the labour market. Challenge 50 – targets people over 50 and the Young Parents Project targets young people aged 15-24 (26 for young care leavers) who are pregnant or have children.
- Childcare – quality, affordable nursery provision for parents to allow them to take part in training, further education or employment.
Third sector participants identified a number of barriers:
- Transport – it’s expensive and stops people getting to support
- Stigma is a problem – attitudes of staff need to change
- Organisational structures, bureaucracy can make problems worse. Services need to be more joined up
- Place based versus individual approaches: not everyone in ‘deprived areas’ is poor and some very poor families live in wealthier areas.
- Overnight life changes (an accident, illness or death in the family) can plunge a family from doing okay to dire poverty
- Information sharing: knowledge about grants and food banks
- GCC cut backs have affected many services that impact on child poverty, such as libraries and pest control. Cuts to third sector grants have disproportionate impacts
- Isolation/loneliness of parents (can’t take children to activities, children’s parties etc.)
- Investment in Children’s Mental health needed
- Families who have children with disabilities will experience higher costs related to this
Access to schools – out of hours/holidays/sports pitch lights charging regimes
The meeting thought that there were some quick fixes such as changing the charging structure and access to schools and sports pitches to make them more accessible.
The Everyone’s Children Project represents the third sector on the Child Poverty sub group and will report back on this session, reflecting the issues raised by participants. However, this will also make clear that third sector organisations see themselves as part of the solution, are already very active in helping families in poverty and want to work in partnership with statutory colleagues.