Monday, 30 July 2012

Glasgow Kinship Justice launch its new website

GLASGOW'S Kinship Care support groups have joined together to launch a new website - Glasgow Kinship Justice.

As the campaign website for Kinship Care groups across Glasgow it includes sections where you can find out about the plight of both Kinship Carers and the vulnerable children in their care, read the stories of Kinship Carers and find out information on their long running campaign and demands for equality.

You can view this new website at

Thursday, 26 July 2012

One Year On - Hopes for the future - Working with People

RECENTLY the  Poverty Truth Commission published our 'One year on' report which looks back at the work that has been done over the last year since the 'Findings of the Commission' were published at its closing gathering in April 2011 and also sets out our plans for the future. To read the report, and other reports and articles about the Poverty Truth Commission, please visit our website. As part of the report we set out our hopes for future work as the original members of the Commission have decided that there is still much for the Commission to do using our unique experience.
One area of work we will develop over the next year is to continue and expand our support for people living in poverty to have the confidence to speak out about their experience and realise their expertise. We have already started meeting with new commissioners to help them to develop their story and to look at the issues they would like to explore.

At the same time we hope to work with a number of people in positions of power who would like to have develop skills in listening to the realities of poverty and in turn use that knowledge to impact on their area of work. We hope then to bring the two groups of people together in the same way as the first group of commissioners to hear from one another and hopefully find a way of working together to make lasting change.

This work is already happening within the Mentoring Scheme which is currently being piloted with the Scottish Government, where Civil Servants from policy areas that deal with Community Justice, Public Health and Public Service reform are being mentored by people drawn from communities that have a direct experience of poverty and inequality.

Elaine Downie, Development Worker for the Poverty Truth Commission, is leading on this area of work. She commented "too often, people living with the reality of poverty feel they have nothing of importance to say, or no-one to listen seriously to them without pity or blame.  We believe and have experienced the opposite.  

Meeting people who know best the struggles of poverty in their own communities we listen and listen again to the stories they have to tell us, encouraging them to recognise the importance of their opinions and ideas and to see how they feed into policies that are being created at local and national levels. 

We then bring them together with some of the people who create and shape these policies in true conversation. As relationships develop, change blooms. People living with the reality of poverty have much to say, often with great creativity and eloquence. Watch out for our latest films and blog posts, or visit our facebook page for the change to be part of the conversation."

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Making a real difference to the lives of children and young people in need

THROUGHOUT the life of the Poverty Truth Commission we have been greatly supported by many organisations including Buttle UK.

Buttle UK gives grants to children and young people growing up without the basics we take for granted - be that something for their home, help with school, supporting young people through study or training, or helping them to access the skills and equipment necessary to get into work. Their grant programmes include a Small Grants Programme, a School Fees Programme, a Student and Trainees Programme and an access to the future programme offering slexible funding for hard to reach young people (aged 18 to 25) to support their return to employment, education or training.

In Scotland their work is coordinated by Anne Marie Peffer, Casework Manager for the Scotland Office. Anne Marie has been a Commissioner involved in the Poverty Truth Commission since it’s opening event at the City Chambers in March 2009.

Anne Marie commented "being involved in the Poverty Truth Commission has been a wonderful experience and balances really well with the grant making work Buttle UK does. It makes such good common sense to work with people experiencing poverty, to develop strategies to attack the causes of poverty and it has been a privilege to be involved with the real experts. Through its grant-making, Buttle UK has built up an extensive bank of knowledge about the problems faced by people at the harsh edge of poverty and it has been very satisfying to put the facts and figures together with some of those people to inform planning and try and devise solutions. For me, this is a very sensible way to work, and I look forward to a long and productive partnership."

Monday, 16 July 2012

Poverty Truth Commission formally becomes a project of Faith in Community Scotland

SINCE the Poverty Truth Commission started in 2009 it has worked independantly but with the support of Faith in Community Scotland as it was always planned to be a short term project.

Now that the original members of the Commission feel that there is still future work to be done the Poverty Truth Commission will now become a project under the umbrealla organisation of Faith in Community Scotland. Many of the commission members will form a steering group and one of the commissioners, Ghazala Hakeem, will become a trustee on the Faith in Community Scotland Board.

The Poverty Truth Commission has appreciated the support of Faith in Community Scotland and is looking forward to working more closely with the organisation.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

One Year On - A look back to where we've come from and looking forward to our future work

EARLIER this year the Poverty Truth Commission published a new report 'One Year On'. You can read the report at the Poverty Truth Commission website.

The report looks back at the work that has been done over the last year since the 'Findings of the Commission' were published and it's closing gathering, which took place in April 2011 and also sets out it's plans for the future.

Due to the timing of the closing gathering, shortly before the Scottish Government elections, the Commission received much attention and accolades across politics and the media. Ron Ferguson from the Herald, commented "The PTC report has not come up with any magic solutions, although it has made proposals about better support for children unable to live with their parents, and overcoming violence in local communities. At its heart, though, is a conviction that the top-down solutions prepared by people with no direct experience of poverty are fundamentally flawed. The report argues that the real experts on poverty are not highly-paid consultants, but those who experience poverty."

Within the 'Findings' a number of organisations, including the Scottish Government, the UK Government, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, made legacy pledges, agreeing to take forward specific elements of the Commission's work in their own spheres of responsibility. Over the last year Commission members have continued to work closely with these organisations to make sure that these pledges are delivered effectively. Each organisation was invited to share their experiences of the past year and as a result a major part of the 'One Year On' report features paragraphs from these organisations.

The report also sets out the Commission's plans for the future. The original members of the Commission have decided that there is future work still to be done - albeit with a different focus and direction. Over the next few weeks we will feature on this blog the different strands of work which will make up this future work.

To read the report, and other reports and article about the Poverty Truth Commission, please visit our website.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Nothing About Us Without Us is For Us @ Edinburgh Castle

TWO weeks ago Darren McGarvey, a member of the Poverty Truth Commission, was amongst the speakers at the launch of the STV 2012 Appeal at Edinburgh Castle.

Speaking alongside First Minister Alex Salmond, Sir Tom Hunter and STV Chief Executive Rob Woodward, Darren spoke of his own life of struggle but also about what he has helped to achieve through the work of Volition – the music-based project he has developed in Govan.

At the heart of his message was the fact that the great and good can be determined to eradicate poverty but they will not succeed until those who have direct experience of it are able to be part of the solution and not blamed for the problem. It is changing the way that we do things, and not charity, which will bring about real change.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Kinship Carers share their experiences

AS part of Carer's week, the Daily Record reported about the experiences of Anne, Catherine, George and Susan, Kinship Carers from the West Dunbartonshire Kinship Carers Support Group.

In the article they share the stories of the struggles that they face in being Kinship Carers. Anne commented "I have two children who have got learning difficulties. In 2005, I took care of my daughters eldest daughter, who had just turned five and was two weeks into school. We ticked along fine and I was still working as a university lecturer. But in 2006, I knew the situation at my sons house also wasn't great and it got to the point where I got a phone call to go down there. That year I got the care of his two children. I was promised all kinds of support and help and initially that was there but I was still hanging on to my job by a thread. Very soon after that I decided I had to give up my work."

On the same day that this article was published the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council Convenor wrote on her blog in response to the statistic recently reported that "as many as two in five kinship carers are sacrificing their own health by putting off medical treatment because they are looking after someone full time". She challenged Churches to support Kinship Carers in their communities as reports.

Rev. Sally Foster-Fulton commented "What can we do for the more than 650,000 kinship carers in Scotland who are at risk? They are the embodiment of the values we as a faith community uphold - selflessness, love, and consistent compassion. They deserve not only our respect, but our active and practical support. The Church of Scotland is in a prime position to offer assistance on the ground - volunteers offering to step in so carers can attend appointments or providing additional support for families when a carer is unwell. We can be pastorally being attuned to the struggles they daily encounter and we can be advocates for more support and funding from the statutory providers at the centre. Kinship carers save the government millions of pounds, but more importantly, they give the gift of love and dignity. Because of their care, people are given the opportunity to stay at home and be as independent as they can for as long as they can."

The Poverty Truth Commission recognise the massive contribution which kinship carers are making to the quality of life for children in their care and challenge the Scottish and UK Governments, local authorities, heath boards and kinship carers to work together to improve the quality of life for this highly vulnerable group of children and young people.

Photograph Credit: Taken from

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Poverty Truth Commission at the Solas Festival

LAST month Commissioners Anne Marie Peffer, Jean Forrester and Martin Johnstone took part in this year's Solas Festival.

Solas is a festival that takes place at Wiston by Biggar in South Lanarkshire which "aims to create a generous, hospitable space in Scotland where the arts can be performed and enjoyed by all. The programme also makes space for challenging debate with activists, writers and thinkers from across the political, cultural and religious spectrum."

The Poverty Truth Commission were asked to lead a session to a tent full of people to share our experiences over the last few years and also to share a bit about what we plan to do in the future.

Anne Marie commented “we attended the SOLAS meeting on Sunday 24th, and got down to basics in a Mongolian Yurt!  There was something quite magical about talking about the work of the Poverty Truth Commission in this special atmosphere.  The whole festival had a lovely, friendly feeling and our meeting “space” was really quite special.”