Cabinet secretaries visit our Dundee services to launch public consultation on child poverty
The Scottish Government’s Communities, Social Security and Equalities Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, along with Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, visited OPFS Dundee Family Support Services on Monday 08 August to launch a public consultation on the new Child Poverty Bill, which is set to be unveiled next year.
The Scottish Government aims to have fewer than 5% of Scottish children living in “persistent poverty”. Angela Constance said current statistics are “simply unacceptable”. She said that “the consultation is very important because we want to hear people’s views”.
Our visitors were able to experience first-hand a very busy session of the Family Fun and Food programme which One Parent Families Scotland Dundee, with support from the Link Up Project and volunteers from Abertay University, has been running over the school holidays. Funded through Radio Tay’s Caring for Kids campaign, D.C. Thomson’s Northwood Trust and match funding from Dundee City Council, the programme has been able to provide free activities and lunch to families living in an area of high deprivation.
The programme is part of a new city wide venture that, over the course of the school holidays, will have provided 20,000 meals via 80 different projects.
Our Dundee Family Support Services hold twice weekly activity sessions, and will have delivered 500 meals to approximately 115 adults and children by the end of the six-week holidays.
Many of the families who have attended have not engaged with any community activities before. Workers have been able to provide them with additional support, some of which will be more sustained.
Feedback has been very positive. One parent said, “My daughter has a learning difficulty and the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere made it easier for her to engage in activities that she usually wouldn’t”, another said, “lots of activities and a great way to keep the kids busy. Was nice having lunch as I didn’t have to consider it before I left the house”.
The event had extensive media coverage as local press, BBC and STV covered the event along with the Scottish Government filming for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Single parent, Tammy and her 8-year-old daughter Ava were interviewed several times to give their views on what the government could do to improve the lives of families, including single parents.
The success of this summer’s programme has ensured that this will not be a one off event. David Dorward, Organiser of the citywide Family and Food project, said that there are plans to continue this for the other school holidays over the coming year.