University of York and CPAG Launch Initiative to Empower Scottish Families in Tackling Child Poverty

University of York and CPAG Launch Initiative to Empower Scottish Families in Tackling Child Poverty

(IN BRIEF) The University of York and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) are partnering to initiate Changing Realities, a project aiming to amplify the voices of parents and carers across Scotland experiencing low income. This collaboration, funded by the Robertson Trust, will provide a platform for families to share their daily struggles through online diaries, discussion groups, and direct engagement with policymakers. With the support of academics, campaigners, and existing participants, the project seeks to drive policy changes that protect children from poverty. As part of the broader ‘Hope starts here’ campaign, participants are advocating for reforms to address the failures of the social security system. With child poverty rates still alarmingly high, the initiative aims to influence both Westminster and Holyrood policies, emphasizing the urgent need for action to end child poverty.

(PRESS RELEASE) YORK, 20-May-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — The University of York and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) are launching a drive to engage parents and carers from across Scotland to share their everyday experiences of living on a low income.

Academics, campaigners and existing participants will support the hard-up parents to identify and push for the policy changes needed to protect their children from poverty. Parents will have the opportunity to share their everyday experiences in online diaries, take part in discussion groups and speak directly to policy makers and the media.

Funded by the Robertson Trust, the Changing Realities project builds on a track record of working with parents and carers across the UK. The collaboration will now put the voices of families experiencing poverty at the heart of public debate and political decision-making in Scotland.

Agenda for change

The call for more parents and carers in Scotland to get involved comes as existing participants from across the UK launch their new ‘Hope starts here’ campaign.  The campaign sets out the ways in which children are being failed by the inadequacy of our social security system and wider welfare state, and sets out a clear agenda for change. Parents have written blogs, shared diary entries, and created visual images to make the case why we need to place children at the centre of building a better, more hopeful future, for us all.

Dr Maddy Power of the University of York said: “We are delighted to be able to work with more parents and carers in Scotland to ensure their experiences and ideas can inform policy development at Westminster and Holyrood.

“Supported by artists and creatives and experienced campaigners we can share experiences of life on a low income in ways that will engage the public, media and government and drive much-needed change.”

Natalie, an existing Changing Realities participant based in Scotland, said: “Being part of Changing Realities for the last few years has given me something to look forward to which is just for me. Being a single parent I don’t have that much free time and I look forward to having the monthly catch up’s with the other parents, and the team too.

“We share what is going on in our lives in the discussion’s and what we feel would make our lives a little easier – what changes are needed. It has massively helped with my anxiety having people who don’t know me not judging what I am saying. I would love to see other parents from Scotland get involved, and be part of making change happen.”

End child poverty

According to John Dickie, Director the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, the new initiative could not be timelier. He said: “While a shocking one in four children are still locked in poverty the new First Minister has clearly said that his number one priority is to eradicate child poverty.

“At the same time a looming Westminster election is already leading to chilling proposals for UK welfare reform utterly at odds with the actual experiences of low-income families trying to make ends meet. There could not be a more critical moment to put more of the voices of those at the sharp end at the heart of the debate about what’s needed to end child poverty.”

The project will work with participating parents and carers to develop a UK General Election Manifesto as well to co-produce briefings and events aimed at Holyrood politicians and policy makers in the run up to the 2026 Holyrood elections.

Further information:

Changing Realities is a collaboration between parents and carers, researchers at the universities of York and Salford, and Child Poverty Action Group.

Media Contact:

Alistair Keely
Head of Media Relations
Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

SOURCE: University of York


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