With ten percent of children in the Western Isles living in poverty, and recent studies suggesting that 70% of homes in the islands are struggling with fuel poverty, then even if you are managing to make ends meet, the chances are that you know someone who isn’t; but help is available.
The Western Isles Poverty Action Group is an independent lobbying group which has become increasingly concerned about the local impact of benefit changes, the economic situation and the perception of poverty in the islands. To increase awareness and provide advice for people on finding a way out of poverty, the Group is hosting a Poverty Awareness Day on 24th April 2014 in Balivanich and Stornoway where it will launch a local Survival Guide packed full of information on the support available.
Both events will offer information from island organisations on the support available for people facing hardship or who are in crisis including Hardship funds; Advice and support services; routes into work; income maximisation; and volunteering and everyone is welcome to pop in and learn more about what support is available.
The event in Stornoway will take place from 2pm to 5pm in Stornoway Town Hall with the Survival Guide being launched at 2.30pm by Dr Neil Galbraith. The event in Balivanich will take place from 10am to 1pm in Balivanich Community Hall with the Survival Guide being launched by Cllr. Angus Campbell at 10.30am and tea and coffee will be available at both events.
Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of the Western Isles Poverty Action Group, said “It is a shocking indictment of society in the 21st century that it is necessary to compile a guide like this. That said, this guide will be of great value to those in need and those who advise them. It brings together all the sources of help available in the Outer Hebrides and assists people in distress who are looking for assistance.
“Thanks are due to Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau for permitting the use of their template, to all the contributing organisations for their support and especially to the editorial team led by Roddy Nicolson of Western Isles Citizens Advice Service, who have produced a very easily accessible document. The suggestion for this guide emanated from the Poverty Action Group. It is very rewarding to see it in print.”