Creating a Fairer Fife – Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive Fife Council

We set up the Fairer Fife Commission to help us and our partners identify ways in which we can tackle poverty in Fife. As a consequences of this the Fife Partnership has agreed a range of over 40 actions, some short term and some longer term, that will help us address poverty in the Kingdom.

So for example we are keen to be a fair work region. Fife Council has become a living wage employer and we’ve employed over 155 apprentices to help people get into good fair work.

We’re also keen to support those on the lowest incomes and we’ve recently development a community development finance initiative, which will provide fair lending at lower rates to people who would otherwise need to go to high cost lenders.

We’re keen to get Fife online, so we are providing free WiFi access across a wide range of public facilities throughout the Kingdom.

We recognise that tackling poverty is not a short term endeavour, that we’re in this for the long term but we’re making immediate impact now with some of these early initiatives.

We’re keen to make this pledge and we’d encourage you to make a pledge about the difference you can make to tackling poverty in Fife.

 

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Make a pledge and help create a Fairer Fife

Now Fife Council and partners are encouraging individuals, businesses and other organisations to join together and pledge to create a Kingdom more equal for everyone by 2030.

And you can now publicly pledge to make a difference by signing up online to say how you’re helping to make Fife fairer at www.fifedirect.org.uk/fairerfife

Fife Council Leader David Ross is keen to see local businesses, voluntary sector organisations, schools, colleges and individuals get involved and sign the pledge.

He said: “Everyone can do something to help Fife be fairer.

“Our Fairer Fife action plan sets out all the things we’re doing in partnership with others to help combat poverty in our communities. But we need support from all Fifers to help make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The Fairer Fife action plan highlights over 40 ways the council is working with partners including encouraging local employers to pay the Living Wage and take on more apprentices, persuading Fifers to take up volunteering opportunities and making wi-fi available in all public buildings.

Added Cllr Ross: “There are too many Fifers living in relative poverty and that’s unacceptable.  Last year the council became a Living Wage employer and is leading by example by making sure that all our employees are paid a decent living wage. 

“We’re also creating job opportunities for our young people by offering many modern apprenticeships across a wide range of roles in the council. Since 2013 we’ve supported 155 young people, helping them achieve long term stable employment with the council. And we’re working with partners to encourage all employers and businesses across Fife to pay the living wage and create apprenticeship opportunities to help change people’s lives for the better.”

Dunfermline-based leading electronic manufacturing services company Dynamic EMS has taken on a Modern Apprentice thanks to support from the Fife Youth Jobs contract, a Fife Council initiative that involves Opportunities Fife Partners to create employment and training opportunities for young people.

Veronica Allan is HR Manager at Dynamic EMS. She said: “Modern apprenticeships offer businesses a great opportunity to ensure they have a relevant, skilled workforce, as well as help give the next generation the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“One of the biggest opportunities modern apprenticeships offer is the chance to build a loyal workforce to help move the business forward. We thought long and hard before taking the plunge and employing a modern apprentice, but it has paid off 100% and I’d fully recommend it to other local businesses – large and small.”

Added Cllr Ross: “This local business is one of many that are helping create a Fairer Fife and it’s one of the ways we’re making a difference. Fife’s Community Planning Partnership and Fife Council have already signed the Fairer Fife pledge. Now the challenge is on to get as many people as possible to pledge their commitment and create a fairer and more prosperous Fife for everyone.”

View Cllr Ross’s personal pledge

Picture Caption

CHILDREN across Fife have been taking part in a discussion about how to create a more equal and fairer Fife for everyone. And a fantastic colourful Mural which portrays how children perceive their local communities has been touring round schools sparking debate about how we can all work towards a fairer Fife.

Working with creative specialists from the Childrens’ Parliament the Mural was created by children from four primary schools – Balcurvie, Denbeath, East Wemyss and Kennoway. It represents the views of 150 children working around the theme of fairness and was funded by the Fairer Scotland Fund.

The Mural is currently on display in the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. It’s pictured here with children from Kennoway Primary School.

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Creating a Fairer Fife – Cllr David Ross

Cllr David Ross – Chair of Fife Partnership and Leader of Fife Council

In November 2015 we received the report of the Fairer Fife Commission on how we should be trying to tackle poverty and inequality across Fife. And challenging us to be more ambitious in how we tackle these problems.

Poverty and inequality are somethings that are everyone’s problem in Fife, whether they are personally affected or not. It’s a waste of resources, it’s a waste of potential and we all end up paying for the consequences of poverty and inequality.

Fife Council, Fife’s Community Planning Partnership and myself personally are all committed to creating a Fairer Fife and trying our very best of the coming years to put the recommendations of the Fairer Fife Commission into effect.

Whether that’s creating more apprenticeships for our young people, making sure everyone pays the living wage, building more affordable housing to tackle homelessness, tackling the problem of literacy and numeracy and improving the educational attainment of our kids, or tackling fuel poverty. These are just some of the things we want to address through the coming years in our efforts collectively and our commitment collectively to create a fairer Fife.

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Fife Partnership pledge to work towards a Fairer Fife

Fife’s Community Planning Partnership has restated its commitment to do things differently to create a Fairer Fife by 2030.At a recent meeting , the Partnership Board heard about the progress so far in taking forward the recommendations of the Fairer Fife Commission and called on communities, businesses and individuals across Fife to join them, take the pledge, and work together to create a Kingdom that is more equal for everyone.

The Fairer Fife Commission, an independent group of experts, published the “Fairness Matters” report in November 2015 challenging the council, public services, charities and businesses to work together to deliver a “significantly fairer Fife by 2030.” The report outlines over 40 recommendations.

Chair of the Fife Partnership David Ross explains: “The Commission produced an excellent report, challenging us to step up our efforts to tackle poverty and inequality in Fife. We’ve already taken the first steps towards turning their vision into action to make a real difference to people’s lives.

“The harsh reality is that around 75,000 Fifers are affected by poverty, a situation we have to change. We need to be more ambitious for Fife and that’s why we’re aiming to be in the top five areas in Scotland by 2030 and change lives for the better.”

An action plan is being created setting out how work will be taken forward. Over the next year the top three challenges partners have pledged to tackle are to:

  • encourage all local employers and businesses to pay the living wage
  • have free wi-fi available from all our public buildings and support people to use it
  • create hundreds of new apprenticeships – one for every £1 million of public expenditure

The Fairer Fife Commission also talked about the need to do things differently:

  • Involving communities more in deciding what needs to be done, how our money is used and how local initiatives are developed and supported
  • Being publicly clear on what we are doing to help achieve a Fairer Fife and keeping up to date on progress
  • Having the right partners to help achieve more
  • Using all the data and evidence about what works so that our actions will make a real difference

Added Cllr Ross: “Everyone can get involved in creating a fairer Fife. By working in partnership with our communities we can make a difference. We’ll be reporting regularly on our progress and talking about ways individuals and communities can take the pledge and get involved.”

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Fife Council now an official Living Wage employer – Helping create a Fairer Fife

Fife Council now an official Living Wage employerFIFE Council is pushing forward in its aim to create a Fairer Fife by achieving accredited Living Wage employer status.

Paying the voluntary Living Wage means that every member of staff in the council earns not just the minimum wage but the Living Wage, an hourly rate set independently and updated annually, based on the cost of living in the UK. There are currently 2,545 Fife Council employees receiving the Living Wage.

The council has pledged to help create a Fairer Fife and do things differently by 2030. It is working together with communities, businesses and its other partners to create a Kingdom that is better for everyone.

Council Leader, David Ross said: “I am very pleased that the Council has now achieved this status as an accredited Living Wage employer. This demonstrates our clear commitment to addressing low pay in the public sector and beyond as we work towards creating a fairer and more prosperous Fife for everyone.

“There are too many Fifers living in relative poverty and that’s unacceptable. The Council is leading by example by making sure that all our employees are paid a decent living wage. We are now working with partners to encourage all employers and businesses across Fife to pay the living wage to help change people’s lives for the better.

“There is clear evidence that those on lower incomes tend to spend a greater proportion of their wages locally, so by putting more money in their pockets we are also helping the local economy.”

The Living Wage is set nationally and becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer means the council is committed to keep paying it as it increases in the years ahead. However, to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, an organisation must consider more than its own workforce. Any regularly contracted staff working for the council should also be paid the living wage.

Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive of Fife Council, said: “Our procurement team has worked with around 250 contractors to establish if they already pay the living wage and, if not, to discuss with them how they may achieve this in the future.

“Like others, we have financial challenges to address but we see Scottish Living Wage Accreditation as a positive step for the organisation and our workforce, helping us attract, retain and motivate people who put excellent service delivery at the heart of what we do. The research indicates that there are strong benefits for employers and employees through adopting the Living Wage”

Fife Council has paid the living wage rate since 2013 for all directly employed employees. The rate for local authority employees is currently £8.33 per hour compared to a minimum wage for workers over 25 of £7.20. Fife Council has committed to paying the living wage for all employees regardless of their age.

Steve Grimmond continues: “We’re Fife’s largest employer and it’s vital that we continue our commitment to make a positive difference to people’s lives, and show our commitment to that as part of a wider strategy to extend the practice.”

Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance said: “Congratulations to Fife Council on becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.

“Almost two thirds of children in poverty in Scotland live in families where at least one adult is in work. It is clear that the traditional route out of poverty, work, is not working. The Living Wage is a crucial step to allow those in work to become more included in society, better provide for their families, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer.

“We are delighted that Fife Council have taken this important step to show their support for, and commitment to, the real Living Wage and with one in four Local Authorities in Scotland now an accredited Living Wage Employer, it’s clear this is a movement that’s growing in strength.”

You can find out more about the Living Wage by visiting www.scottishlivingwage.org.

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Fife Councillors pledge to work towards a Fairer Fife

Fife councillors united today (Thursday) in support of a Fairer Fife.

At a meeting of the Full Council there was cross-party support for a pledge to do things differently and create a Fairer Fife by 2030.

Now the council and its partners are calling on communities, businesses and individuals across Fife to join them, take the pledge, and work together to create a Kingdom that is more equal for everyone.

The Fairer Fife Commission, an independent group of experts, published the “Fairness Matters” report in November 2015 challenging the council, public services, charities and businesses to work together to deliver a “significantly fairer Fife by 2030.” The report outlines over 40 recommendations.

Now the council alongside partners including Fife NHS, Police Scotland is pledging to work together better to achieve those ambitious targets.

Chair of the Fife Partnership David Ross explains: “The Commission has done an amazing job but it’s our job now to turn words into action and start making a real difference to people’s lives.

“The harsh reality is that around 75,000 Fifers are affected by poverty, a situation we have to change. We need to be more ambitious for Fife and that’s why we’re aiming to be in the top five areas in Scotland by 2030 and change lives for the better.”

A fairer Fife by 2030 would mean doing things differently:

  • Involving communities more in deciding what needs to be done, how our money is used and how local initiatives are developed and supported
  • Being publicly clear on what we are doing to help achieve a Fairer Fife and keeping up to date on progress
  • Having the right partners to help achieve more
  • Using all the data and evidence about what works so that our actions will make a real difference

An action plan is being created setting out how work will be taken forward. Over the next year the top three challenges partners have pledged to tackle are to:

  • encourage all local employers and businesses to pay the living wage
  • have free wi-fi available from all our public buildings and support people to use it
  • create hundreds of new apprenticeships – one for every £1 million of public expenditure

Added Cllr Ross: “Everyone can get involved in creating a fairer Fife. By working in partnership with our communities we can make a difference. We’ll be reporting regularly on our progress and talking about ways individuals and communities can take the pledge and get involved.”

For more information check out www.fifedirect.org.uk/fairerfife

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Expert group sets out vision to tackle poverty in Fife – Fairer Fife Commission report recommends ambitious plan to help 75,000 Fifers

AN INDEPENDENT Commission has set out a far-reaching vision to eradicate poverty in Fife. ‘Fairness Matters’ the report of the Fairer Fife Commission, is challenging Fife Council, public services, charities and businesses in Fife to work together to deliver a “significantly fairer Fife by 2030.”

Fairness Matter Report 2015

Over 40 recommendations are listed in the hard hitting report by the Commission, including a push on building more affordable housing, encouraging a million more hours of volunteering a year, creating a new apprenticeship for every £1 million of public expenditure in Fife, a call for free travel cards for low income families, and more support for people facing welfare benefit sanctions,

The Fairer Fife Commission was established by Fife Council in September last year to examine the root causes of poverty in local communities and make recommendations on how best to tackle the issue. Membership was made up of senior figures, who gave up their time freely, from across public, private and voluntary sectors.

At its launch today (Monday) at the Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy, the report was formally handed over by Martyn Evans, Chair of the Commission and Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust, to Fife Council Leader David Ross.

Cllr Ross welcomed the report, calling it “a document of huge significance for Fife.”

He added: “We estimate that around 75,000 people are directly affected by poverty in Fife – a situation that is completely unacceptable in the 21st century. But the impact, the cost and the loss of potential through poverty are things that concern us all.

“We  set up this independent Commission  to bring together expertise and knowledge from across Scotland, to help us tackle this blight on our society, and consider how the council and its partners  can make a real difference to people’s lives.

“This report is the result of a lot of hard work and thought and my thanks and appreciation go out to all the Commissioners who gave up their valuable time to focus on this project over the last year. Our pledge now is that the recommendations made here will shape the future direction of public services in Fife and will have a positive impact on people who need it most.”

The Commission met regularly over the course of the year focussing on issues including financial capability, welfare advice, transport links, employability skills, childcare provision, early years services, educational attainment, health inequalities, housing and homelessness and addressing stigma. They heard evidence from looked after children, users of foodbanks, people suffering the effects of sanctions, and others whose lives are affected by poverty.

Chair Martyn Evans commented: “It was a great privilege to be asked to Chair the Fairer Fife Commission. I am grateful to my fellow Commissioners for the commitment, energy and expertise that they brought to this process. I am also grateful to the many citizens and organisations across Fife who took time to submit evidence and share their views and experiences about what can be done to tackle inequality in Fife and make it a fairer place to live and work. Their input has been critical in shaping our final report.

“We have set out an ambitious set of recommendations for Fife Council and its partners in the public, private and voluntary sector.

“These proposals are challenging and will require new ways of working across many areas of policy and practice. Our vision requires the capabilities and views of citizens to be placed at the heart of service delivery. Decisions must be clearly informed by the data and evidence about what works. There should be transparency and openness about the progress made. And there must be shared sense of purpose and commitment from all those in Fife whose work can impact upon fairness.”

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 report’s recommendations are collated under eight themes – A Fairer Fife is: ambitious, poverty-free, fair work, affordable, connected, empowered, skilled and healthier. One of the key recommendations concludes that the council and its partners should be more ambitious in the work they do, aiming to be one of the best performing local authority areas in Scotland where “people feel enabled, supported and confident to access the opportunities available.”

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
  • Making more use of participatory budgeting in communities to guide spending
  • Increasing the number of people who are members of Credit Unions to 30,000 by 2030
  • 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

Today’s launch is hosted by the Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy, a location deliberately chosen by the Commission in recognition of the fantastic work it does to help the most vulnerable. Several Commissioners visited the Centre as part of their work to gather evidence earlier this year and were extremely impressed by the wealth of positive stories they heard.

Manager of the Centre is Pauline Buchan. She commented: “We’re delighted to host the launch of Fairer Fife Commission report. It’s an important step for all organisations in Fife who are working to help people affected by poverty.

“Our communities are strong and do a lot to help each other but they desperately need more support and investment to get through these hard times.”

Fife Council Leader David Ross is confident the Commission’s recommendations will help achieve the council’s vision of a “better, stronger, fairer Fife.”

He concluded: “This is a real milestone in the fight against poverty in our communities. It’s reassuring to receive confirmation from experts in the field that Fife is doing some great work but there is much more to be done.  We are now going to build on that todevelop and implement further practical action to reduce poverty in our communities.”

Download a copy of the The Fairer Fife Commission report, “Fairness Matters”.

A video showing the experiences of people living with poverty and those who help and support them is also available:

Fairer Fife Commission – Fairness Matters

Fairer Fife Commission members:

  • 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 acted as a special advisor to the Commission and Fife Council’s Chief Executive Steve Grimmond also attended Commission meetings.

Case studies from the Cottage Family Centre, Kirkcaldy

http://www.thecottagefamilycentre.org.uk/

John’s story – attends the Dads’ Group at the Cottage Family Centre

“My dad passed away from a serious illness when I was 12 years old.

“When he passed it seemed like I was the only one without a dad, all of my friends had their mums and dads and he was supposed to see me grow and progress in life.

“From an early age I started binge drinking with friends. Sometimes I would drink so much I couldn’t remember what had happened the night before.

“Looking back now I can recognise I had depression probably since my dad passed away. No one knew, no one asked.

“When I left school I had no idea where I would go in life. I felt forced to either get a job or leave home so I joined the army. Looking back this was not the right choice for me. I was in the army for approximately five years. When I came out I thought I would settle into life, get a full time job and have a family. I was applying for jobs and nobody was interested. Even with experience and training I could not get a full time job. Myself and my partner had a beautiful daughter and I was determined to provide for my family but unfortunately this opportunity never came. I continued to apply for jobs and continued to get knock backs. I was constantly having suicidal thoughts – it would it be easier if I wasn’t here. This wasn’t how I saw my life.

“My partner started attending The Cottage and I was not interested in being involved. Luckily she pushed and pushed and eventually I came down and met with staff who were very supportive and listened to me and asked what I needed. I was very low at this point and was contemplating whether to continue with life or not.

“I started attending the Dads’ Group at The Cottage and gelled with the other dads, I liked being with likeminded people who I could speak to.  I was offered the opportunity to attend local gym, Raw Anatomy and I thought of every excuse not to go that day but luckily with the support of Louise at the Cottage, I did and I have never looked back.

“Following a lot of support from Noel, the owner of Raw Anatomy and the team, I am now employed there and training people and hope one day that I can be the support for someone and help them to grow in confidence and improve their mental wellbeing. I’m still working on my own confidence and determined I will never be back in that place.”

Noel’s story – owner of Raw Anatomy

Noel spent time in the care system as a child after the death of his father, didn’t attain well at school and latterly joined the army. After leaving the army, he found employment but was subsequently made redundant. During this time he was living in a flat in the Tanshall area of Glenrothes which was run down and his mental health had deteriorated.

Noel had purchased a weight bench and weights from Argos and would use them underneath the flat in a disused basement area as something to try and focus on. His friends who were also unemployed, seeing the difference this made to Noel’s physical appearance and also as they had nothing else to do, joined in. Before long other members of the community, men and women of all ages, wanted to join in too. Together they would each contribute a £1 so that they could buy some other equipment as they all recognised that physical activity and coming together socially was improving their mental health.

 From this basement, Noel recognised that there were a huge number of people looking for support and that what he had started to improve his own wellbeing had also supported others to do the same. He took a leap of faith and thereafter Raw Anatomy Transformation Centre was born.

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Fife kids speak out to help Fairer Fife Commission

As the work of the Fairer Fife Commission draws to a close, Commissioners have been hearing about how it feels to grow up in Fife.

The fifth meeting of the Commission this week was held in Dunfermline. The Commission, a group of independent experts from both public and private sectors across Scotland, has been brought together by Fife Council to challenge the organisation on the ways it’s tackling poverty across the Kingdom.

Five children from a range of different backgrounds met with the Commissioners to talk about their experiences of growing up in the Kingdom. They gave a presentation on how important it is to be Healthy, Happy and Safe and discussed a range of issues including the importance of being listened to, fairness and who helps keep them safe in their communities.

The children are all part of a group who meet regularly as part of the Children’s Parliament and had worked for two days to prepare for their meeting with the Commission.

Kurt, Connor, Sarah, Nicole and Saskia built a make-believe community from cardboard boxes to help explain to Commissioners where they felt safe, and created a power point presentation to describe their own life experiences. The children talked about whether they felt involved in the decisions about their lives, why it’s important that children are listened to, and what being fair means.

Chair of the Commission Martyn Evans is Chief Executive of the UK Carnegie Trust. He commented: “It was fantastic to listen to the views of the children who came along today and talk to them about their experiences.

“It was clear that all of them had put a lot of work and thought into their presentation and everything they’ve said will be considered by the Commission as we work towards forming our final report and recommendations.”

Over the course of a number of key meetings the Commission has been gathering evidence and hearing from organisations, including the council, about what is being done to tackle poverty in Fife.

Commissioners have visited learning centres, jobs clubs and voluntary sector organisations across Fife to gather information and evidence from people with an interest in making Fife fairer. Work is now underway to pull a report together that will provide the council with some practical recommendations, and ambitious plans and ideas for the future.

Fife Council Leader David Ross commented: “The council works with a range of partners to help Fifers affected by poverty and to try and break the cycle of poverty.

“We created the Fairer Fife Commission to challenge us, look at the causes of poverty and inequality in different areas of Fife, and make meaningful recommendations on ways forward. I’m looking forward to the publication of the report before Christmas.”

Added Mr Evans: “Our goal is to make sure that the recommendations we make will have a clear impact on the lives of people in Fife and improving the life chances of all.”

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

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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