With Kirkcaldy already experiencing Scotland’s highest levels of child poverty outside of Glasgow, the town’s business leaders have been invited to an anti-poverty Summit to investigate ways to ease the impending crisis.
The event, which takes place at Adam Smith Theatre this evening (Thursday) has been brought together amid fears that the rate of those experiencing extreme hardship in parts of Kirkcaldy could soon reach 50 per cent unless an urgent orchestrated approach is taken to tackle the problem.
Organised by the Cottage Family Centre and Kirkcaldy Foodbank itaims to expose the ever increasing support needs of families caused bycontinuing levels of low income, stagnating child benefits, the introductionnew universal credit exacerbated by lack of opportunity.
Kirkcaldy East was last year named as Scotland’s fifth worst area for poverty with 38 per cent of children living in poverty, only Glasgow scoring higher.
“We believe that this situation is totally unacceptable and we need to come together as a community to ensure all our young people have their needs for food and shelter met,” said Marilyn Livingstone, chairman of the Cottage and CEO of the Adam Smith Global Foundation.
“However, we need to do much more than that and ensure our families have the opportunity and aspiration that we can often take for granted.
“That is why we need to deal with the causes of poverty as well as dealing with the symptoms.”
The Cottage runs a comprehensive range of services for our most vulnerable children and families including children and families services, therapeutic support, Dad’s Project and a new ‘Bringing up our Bairn’s’ initiative supporting grandparents/carers who find themselves unexpectedly in a parenting role.
However, Kirkacaldy’s frontline support organisations are now experiencing unprecedented demand for services.
Food bank applications have doubled in a year and are at a record high and the Cottage Family Centre whose Christmas appeal supported less than100 children in 2011 rose to over 900 in 2017.
Amongst others the event will be addressed by former Prime Minister and MP Gordon Brown and Kirkcaldy Councillor Neil Crooks and we all need now to come together, businesses, charities, churches and individuals to help those in greatest need, said Mr Brown.
“ We are already preparing for the most difficult Christmas for many children in years and we would like to discuss with those interested how we can tackle these issues.”
The Anti-Poverty Summit event taks place at Adam Smith Theatre today (Thursday) from 6pm.