Partners set out actions to reduce child poverty in the Scottish Borders

Published: 7th September 2022

Action to tackle child poverty in the Borders has been set out in a Child Poverty Report which will be discussed by the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership Strategic Board this week.

The Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership is made up of a number of strategic partners operating locally, including NHS Borders, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Live Borders, Borders College, South of Scotland Enterprise, all four local housing associations and the third sector.

It is tasked with taking forward community planning in the Scottish Borders, by working with local communities, businesses and community groups to plan and deliver better services and improve the lives of people who live here.

At a time when families in the Scottish Borders face significant challenges, a range of activities and actions are being carried out across the region to alleviate child poverty by us, NHS Borders and key partners.

Councillor Robin Tatler, Executive Member for Communities and Equalities 

“Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders and the other community planning partners recognise the importance of tackling child poverty and share a strategic approach in doing so.

“We are determined to make a difference to children and families in the Scottish Borders, and this plan sets out our commitment to them with key actions and priority areas of work to help tackle child poverty.”

Various local plans also make a contribution to help improve the situation for those experiencing the impact of poverty, including our Plan 2022-23, the Scottish Borders Anti-Poverty Strategy, the Integrated Children and Young People’s Plan 2021-23, the Children’s Rights Report 2021-23 and the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership priority themes.

Significant progress has been made against actions set out to tackle child poverty in 2021/22 locally, including:

  • A significant drop from 18.2% of children living in relative low income families to 14.7% the lowest since 2016 and lower than the figure of 15.1% for the rest of Scotland. 
  • £85k from the Council’s Financial Hardship Fund was dispersed to local foodbanks/Fare Share, food growing projects, community cafes and Low & Slow Pilot Project.
  • 510 referrals for financial inclusion of mothers and pregnant women from the Health Visitor and Family Nurse Partnership
  • In the last year Scottish Borders Citizens Advice Bureau helped around 4,300 people – the total financial gain relating to these clients was £3.5m
  • The Borders Housing Network dispersed funds to Housing Associations to support tenants in fuel debt.
  • Summer Activity camps averaged 80% occupancy with 62% of places free of charge for targeted children and young people.

Community Planning Partnership members, and other relevant organisations have contributed to the Scottish Borders 2022/23 Action Plan which is aligned to the Scottish Government’s national delivery plan Best Start, Bright Futures.

This plan sets out how partners across Scotland will work together to deliver on Scotland’s national mission to tackle child poverty. It is a plan for all of Scotland and recognises the contribution that all parts of society must make to deliver the change needed for children and families.

Following the Community Planning Partnership Strategic Board meeting, the plan will go to our next meeting for endorsement. It will then be submitted jointly by us and NHS Borders to the Scottish Government.

We approved a report at a meeting on 25 August 2022 to support Borderers with the Cost of Living crisis.  A financial support package of £1.2m has been established along with strategic and operational multi-agency groups to respond to the needs of communities. An immediate allocation of a warm clothing payment of £100 will be made to each child entitled to either free school meals or clothing grants. This will benefit around 2,350 children in the Scottish Borders.

For more information go to Cost of Living Crisis Response Report and Child Poverty Report