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Challenging questions regarding poverty

October 7, 2020

Challenge Poverty Week 2020 bannerHow has Covid-19 affected poverty in Scotland and what opportunities are there to tackle it? And where does community development fit in?

This week, 5th-11th October 2020, is Challenge Poverty Week, a week of activities and awareness raising around eradicating poverty in Scotland. Here, we highlight some of the activity happenening this year and reflect on some of the key messages from the event Scottish Community Development Centre held last year as part of Challenge Poverty Week 2019.

The Poverty Alliance have described Challenge Poverty Week 2020 an opportunity for you to raise your voice against poverty and show what is being done to tackle poverty across Scotland. A wide range of organisations normally put on activities for the week, although this year any activity is likely to be online. You can see what's happening this year on the activity calendar, including Poverty Alliance's annual conference on Friday.

For more general information, including a quick introductory video, on the dedicated Challenge Poverty Week website and also follow @CPW_Scotland on Twitter for the latest.

Investing in communities

One of the key messages for the week is the importance of investing in communities. Indeed, the key message for today is "Invest in community organisations and participatory budgeting". The video on the main website argues for higher taxing of business and more investment in communities, and we agree that a fairer, more redistributive tax system can help to invest in communities, particularly through community development approaches.

To add to this, one of the main purposes of community development is to support communities to organise so that they are better able to make the case for, and influence the kind of social change necessary to shift power and resources so that Scotland is fairer, healthier and more sustainable.

SCDC brought around 15 people from community organsiations, and community development practitioners together for own Challenge Poverty Week event last year to discuss the role of community development in solving poverty. The discussion led to the following take-away message:

Community development can support people to use their lived experience positively to work with others to influence the political and wider social change needed to challenge, or even solve, poverty.

You can read more about last year's SCDC discussion here.


Covid-19 and the measures to protect people have put an immediate financial strain on many households, and the economic consequences threaten to increase poverty further. At the same time, the pandemic has 'cleared a path' for new ways of doing things - both in terms of how we make decisions about where to go from here as a country and in terms of what we decide to do.  The opportunity exists to invest in, and build on, the amazing community-led response to the pandemic, and also continue to have a meaningful and participative dialogue about how to make Scotland better for everyone.

There's more on this in the recent briefing by Community Health Exchange (CHEX).

SCDC will be publishing more on the importance of investing in communities and communtiy development in future, and has also been contributing to the range of consultations and advisory groups that have been set up in order to inform Scotland's 'recovery'. We encourage you to do the same, including the open call for ideas on for a fairer recovery by the Scottish Government's Social Renewal Advisory Board. This ends on the 16th October which doesn't leave much time. Click here for more.


To discuss any of the above, please contact Andrew Paterson, Policy & Research Officer, Scottish Community Development Centre and CHEX.



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