Challenge Poverty Week to showcase Church projects

The Church of Scotland is joining charities, academics and NHS Health Scotland to draw attention to the challenges of poverty and to showcase some promising solutions during Challenge Poverty Week. (1-7 October 2018)

theGKexperience
theGKexperience is a youth work charity founded on the belief that all young people are brilliant and all young people need opportunities to succeed

During the week, the Poverty Alliance— which includes NHS Health Scotland, Shelter, NSPCC Scotland, Close the Gap and Citizens Advice Scotland as well as the Church of Scotland— will put on more than 100 activities.

Richard Frazer, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, said:

“We celebrate the fantastic work of organisations who seek to bring an end to poverty, including the work of Church of Scotland congregations across the country, and we support the courageous people who live with poverty every day as they speak out on the issues they encounter.

“The Church of Scotland believes in justice and equality for all, and we value the opportunity to join with other organisations to work towards a world without poverty during Challenge Poverty Week.”

As well as producing special prayers for the week, the Church will release a new set of videos, highlighting the creative ways faith-powered projects across the country are tackling the problem.

Blackhill on bikes
Blackhill on Bikes bike mechanic, Jonny Biles, says Jalender, a New Scot, walked 40 minutes from Cranhill to come to a bike maintenance session. “He left with his son's bike fixed and an upcycled bike for his daughter,” Jonny says. “It was a pleasure to meet such a wonderful man and happy we could help.”

Seven Faith-Powered Projects

Seven projects across Scotland, connected to the Church’s 64 Priority Areas congregations, will be highlighted during the week. Each project tackles a different issue related to challenging poverty in Scotland.

The seven key themes and projects featured are:

  1. Employment (Cranhill Development Trust’s employability project in the east end of Glasgow)
  2. Access (Blackhill on Bikes’ Bikeability classes in Glasgow, promoting the benefits of cycling to young people)
  3. Income (WEvolution works to support people in starting their own Self-Reliant Groups and generating their own income)
  4. Education (North Ayr TheGither partnered with parents and their local primary school to narrow the attainment gap)
  5. Health (Lochee Parish Church started a drop-in café for those tackling drug problems)
  6. Crime (theGKexperience offers support and opportunities to young people in Glasgow)
  7. Housing (East Ayrshire Churches Homelessness Action runs drop-in sessions for those dealing with homelessness).

You can watch the videos now on the CofSYouTube channel.

Alongside the videos, stories offering a glimpse into each project have been added to the Priority Area pages on our website

Challenge Poverty? Aye we can!

Stay tuned to the Church of Scotland on social media this week as we highlight one Priority Areas project per day on our Twitter page. You can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtags#AyeWeCan and #ChallengePoverty.

Want to find out how to discuss poverty in a helpful way in your church group? The Poverty Alliance have produced a helpful PowerPoint slideshow on ‘Talking Poverty: Frames to help change people’s views’.

Worship leaders will find prayers specially written for Challenge Poverty Week on our Weekly Worship page.

Call to boost incomes

Campaigners hope to rally public support for action to solve poverty in the long-term.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “In our society we believe in doing the right thing. And yet, we’re letting increasing numbers of people get swept up in the rising tide of poverty.

“All across Scotland people from all walks of life are coming together to highlight the problem and show what they are doing to help overcome the barriers that lock so many of us in poverty.

“Poverty restricts people’s ability to take part in society, but by boosting people’s incomes and reducing the cost of living we can redesign our economy to better reflect the values of compassion and justice we all share.”