A ‘LIGHT touch’ support system set up to support struggling families and to tackle poverty and inequalities in the isles is being rolled out to all schools in Shetland following a successful pilot at Sound in Lerwick.
The Anchor early action project applies an innovative holistic approach to ensure that appropriate support is available for families facing practical and emotional challenges.
Responding to a call from local food entrepreneur David Polson for a Shetland Children’s Trust to be set up to eradicate child poverty in the isles, the council’s chief executive Maggie Sandison said that organisation like this had already been set up, achieving results by working quietly behind the scene.
The Anchor project started at the Sound Primary School in April 2019 after securing funding from the Big Lottery community fund.
It provides a whole range of practical support from guiding often hesitant families towards additional support which could come in the form of food parcels, voucher for local shops, help with employability or debts, mental health issues and many more.
Describing the impact as often “life-changing”, Sandison added: “The support mechanisms are there for people, it is about connecting people and being the bridge to get them the support that they need.”
She said that most of the time the issues were not about a lack of funding to help, but about finding the confidence to access help that is already available.
“We have fantastic services, they are so much better than in other places,” Sandison said.
“The problem is how difficult it is for people to access these because people feeling so visible in the community, and the stigma [attached].
“If the council became aware of somebody with a need, we will sort it. We fill up people’s electricity meters regularly because they got no electricity on their cards; we take them food.
“It happens all the time, it happens under the radar which is a good thing because people are not being identified, but the help is there.”
More information, including contact details, about the Anchor early action project can be found at the council’s website here.
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 560 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.Support Shetland News