Funding to continue tackling poverty and inequalities in Aberdeenshire approved

Almost £2 million of funding for a wide range of projects to support ongoing work to tackle poverty and inequalities in Aberdeenshire has been approved.

The budget was agreed by Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee as councillors heard an update on the progress of work undertaken by the Tackling Poverty & Inequalities Strategic Partnership Group over the past year.

Poverty is defined as when a person’s household income is less than 60% of the UK average income. The factors that generate poverty are wide-ranging and cover many aspects of day-to-day life such as health, housing, educational attainment, employability, and access to services.

As part of the Partnership’s investment framework, key areas of work are food insecurity; fuel poverty and housing; rural poverty, including transport; financial inclusion; mental health and wellbeing; employability; and children and young people.

The group’s aims are to reduce the number of children and people living in and falling into poverty, to enable children to live poverty-free in adult life, and to improve the wellbeing of people living in poverty.

Just over 12,700 households have been supported to reduce household costs, and approaching 23,500 individuals and households have been supported through a range of services, opportunities and projects.

These cover a wide-range of areas from children and young people to health and wellbeing, digital inclusion, fuel poverty and housing, financial inclusion, employability, food insecurity, and information and advice.

They include The Space, a project led by young people in Peterhead; youth clubs covering Stonehaven, Portlethen and Laurencekirk; the PAMIS project which supports families who have children with a range of needs gain employment; reducing isolation and improving wellbeing with activities for elderly and vulnerable people in sheltered housing; and the Aberdeenshire Money Advice and Welfare Rights team which provides a flexible fund to those who do not meet the threshold for financial support elsewhere.

Nearly 1,200 clients and their families have been supported to secure additional financial support, with around 400 people involved in more than 15 developments around transport, reducing the need for foodbanks, reducing stigma, and training and policies for a range of partners.

The committee’s discussion included the distribution of childminders across Aberdeenshire, specific areas of need and what is being done in those areas, the Aberdeenshire Youth Rights Committee, the different aspects of society living in poverty and how the council is able to target individual community groups, and the Fair Food Aberdeenshire.

The Tackling Poverty and Inequalities Team, based within the Buchan Area Manager’s Office, are finalists in the 2024 MJ Awards which celebrate achievements in local government across the UK. Aberdeenshire is one of six finalists in the Innovation in Building Diversity & Inclusion category.

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