GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Monday 27 May 2024
 11.9°C   S Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Council / Work ongoing to ‘counteract’ child poverty, SIC education and families chairman says

SHETLAND Islands Council has been “working hard” on the issue of child poverty, according to the chairman of its education and families committee.

Councillor George Smith also praised the movement towards a focus on early intervention – “trying to get in there before the issue becomes a problem”.

It comes after new research showed that the estimated number of children in Shetland living in child poverty rose by 2.5 per cent between 2015 and 2020.

The overall percentage rose to 15.8 per cent, which was one of the lowest rates in Scotland.

Smith said it is “clearly concerning” to see the rise in child poverty both in Shetland and wider across Scotland.

Councillor George Smith.

With the figures not covering the coronavirus pandemic, he said there is likely to be additional burden on families.

“We’ve been working quite hard with Shetland Partnership and through children’s services to try and make sure we’ve got work in place to try and counteract some of this,” Smith said.

Examples of this include the multi-agency Anchor project, which works with families on early intervention and prevention, as well as the promotion of free school meals and clothing awards.

Smith feels that increasing child benefits, meanwhile, could be one way to alleviate the problem.

“That would make a big odds, if we could just get money directly to families.”

But it is a topic which is multi-layered, and without a quick fix. Stigma, for instance, is another element in the mix which may initially discourage people from seeking help, while there are some hidden pockets of poverty.

With a significant proportion of Shetland households thought to be in fuel poverty – where the cost of heating their home is high compared to their income – and extra costs too associated with living on an island, Smith highlighted that rural areas face extra pressure.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

“We’ve continually tried to impress on both governments the issue around the cost of living,” he said.

“That poverty measurement [in the new research] is looking at income levels.

“We’ll have probably higher income levels than some parts of the mainland, but our cost of living is that much higher.”

The councillor also praised the work of the in-demand local food bank and Citizens’ Advice Bureau, while he said there is also a focus on employability work – ensuring young folk leaving school have a positive destination.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.