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Fairer Fife Commission discusses links between poverty, communities and health

INDEPENDENT experts from across Scotland met in Dunfermline this morning to discuss links between poverty, where people live and the health of Fifers.

The Fairer Fife Commission is a group from both public and private sectors, which has been brought together by Fife Council to challenge the organisation on the ways it’s tackling poverty across the Kingdom.

Over the course of six key meetings, the Commission will examine what is causing poverty in different areas in Fife and make recommendations on how best to tackle the issue.

This third meeting of the Commission today focused on the relationships between poverty, where people live, and their health and well-being.

Chair of the Commission Martyn Evans commented: “Today’s meeting focussed on “Place” and “Being well” and how these areas can impact on people’s ability to move out of poverty. All the information we gathered from today’s presentations  will help us when it comes time for the Commission to make recommendations to Fife Council later in the year.”

The Commission heard presentations today from Head of the council’s Housing Service John Mills and Dr Edward Coyle, Director of Public Health for NHS Fife. Commissioners then discussed both presentations.

Added Martyn: “As a Commission we’re interested in how different organisations are working together to reduce poverty and inequality in our communities. It’s continually being demonstrated that there is a lot of great work going on.

“The organisations presenting today are focussing more attention, and money at a local community level which is helping make a difference to people’s circumstances in a lot of areas.

“However we have a real challenge as a Commission to make recommendations that aspire to make Fife a great place to live and work. We need to make sure that people will actually benefit from what we recommend and find feasible and practical solutions that will make a difference to people’s lives.”

Fife Council Leader David Ross added: “It’s encouraging to see the Commission making progress towards their goal when their report is published at the end of the year.

“It’s really important that we re-examine what we’re doing to remove the blight of poverty from our society.”

For more information on the Fairer Fife Commission go to www.fifedirect.org.uk/fairerfife

The Commission will meet six times over the course of the year focussing on issues including financial capability, welfare advice, transport links, employability skills, childcare provision, early years, educational attainment, health inequalities, housing and homelessness and addressing stigma.

Members are:

  • Director of BT Scotland, Brendan Dick
  • Director of the Glasgow Centre for Population and Health, Professor Carol Tannahill
  • Director of One Parent Families Scotland, Satwat Rehman
  • Director in Scotland of the Child Poverty Action Group, John Dickie
  • Professor of Strategic Urban Management and Finance, Professor Duncan Maclennan
  • Chair of the Scottish Health Council Committee, Pam Whittle CBE
  • Global Research Policy Advisor, Oxfam GB, Dr Katherine Trebeck
  • Director of Delivery, NHS Scotland, George Dodds
  • Stakeholder Manager (Scotland), Working Links, Nicholas Young

Dr Jim McCormick of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation will act as a special advisor to the Commission and Fife Council’s Chief Executive Steve Grimmond will attend Commission meetings.

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Fairer Fife Commission members visit Methil Community Learning Centre

MEMBERS of a Commission set up to examine the root causes of poverty in Fife have visited a local Community Learning Centre in Methil to hear first hand how poverty is affecting people across the Kingdom.

The Fairer Fife Commission was set up last year as part of Fife Council’s commitment to build a better, stronger, fairer Fife. The Commission is independent and non political with members from public, private and voluntary sectors. It is chaired by Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust Martyn Evans.

As part of its work to look at how effectively poverty is being tackled the Commission is gathering evidence from individuals, groups and organisations. The visit to Methil was the first of seven the Commission will make over the next few months to hear personally from people whose lives are affected by poverty and their experience of the help and support on offer.

Chair Martyn Evans commented: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to meet with the Commissioners and who spoke so openly and honestly about their experiences. There were a lot of issues raised including the impact of sanctions, the cost of transport, how difficult it is to find a job in today’s climate and how the learning centre is providing great support and the opportunity to get together with others in similar situations.

“All the information we gather from these visits will help us when it comes time for the Commission to make recommendations to Fife Council.”

Fife Council Leader David Ross commented: “It’s really important that we re-examine what we’re doing to remove the blight of poverty from our society. The Commission will report back before the end of the year with recommendations on how we can better tackle this issue and put in place practical action to reduce poverty in our communities.”

For more information on the Fairer Fife Commission go to www.fifedirect.org.uk/fairerfife