Report calls for extra one million volunteering hours a year in Fife to help tackle poverty
Fife Voluntary Action has welcomed an independent commission’s report which sets out a series of detailed recommendations on how to help lift 75,000 Fifers out of poverty.
The “Fairness Matters” report released by the Fairer Fife Commission has delivered 40 recommendations in areas such as affordable housing, a living wage and volunteering to partner groups including Fife Council, NHS Fife, the third sector and businesses to eradicate poverty across the region.
Some of the key proposals include an extra one million hours of volunteering a year, investment and support in the local voluntary health sector and a strategic approach by the Third Sector Strategy Group to develop the community and voluntary sector’s role in tackling inequality and promoting fairness.
The Fairer Fife Commission was established by Fife Council in September 2014 to take a strategic overview of the scale, scope and nature of poverty in Fife and the effectiveness of activity currently undertaken to address such poverty. The Commission was tasked to report with recommendations to Fife Council and Fife Partnership by November 2015.
The Commission defines a Fairer Fife as somewhere “where all residents have the capability to live good lives, make choices and reach their full potential and where all children are safe, happy and healthy.”
The Commission’s plan is to deliver a “significantly fairer Fife by 2030”. This ambition is partly measured by Fife being in the top five local authorities in Scotland in a number of areas. Indicators in the report to determine this include 5,777 children being taken out of poverty, 35,494 more people volunteering, 9,530 people with better health and 1,402 fewer long-term unemployed. Other indicators are on increasing average pay, internet users, qualifications and numbers of voters and a decrease in fuel poverty and deaths.
The recommendations are grouped under eight themes - A Fairer Fife is: ambitious, poverty-free, fair work, affordable, connected, empowered, skilled and healthier.
Kenny Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Fife Voluntary Action who assisted the Commission by giving evidence, said: “We welcome the publishing of this report which has produced a well-rounded set of recommendations to help tackle the scourge of poverty in Fife. If these measures are fully implemented it will positively impact tens of thousands of people’s lives.
“It is particularly encouraging to see the role of the third sector and volunteering recognised as a vital component in a plan to make Fife fairer for all citizens.”
Other recommendations include:
Establishing a Knowledge Hub to become a centre of excellence in translating data on fairness in Fife into practical action
Strengthening partnerships with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) to improve the local welfare system and create trust between those looking for work and job centres
Free travel cards for low income families
Making more use of participatory budgeting in communities to guide spending
Creating a new apprenticeship for every £1 million of public expenditure in Fife
More emphasis on reducing the educational attainment gap by working with all Fife schools individually
Establishing a pilot project to help those suffering from stress and anxiety as a result of their circumstances, particularly people who are living alone