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.

 

Community delegates gather to discuss making Fife Fairer

A participatory conference is being held at the Rothes Hall on Wednesday 29 March for those who lead or contribute to the work of community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and charities in Fife.

The event, “Towards a Fairer Fife”, will seek to hear from and build upon the experience of people working on the ground in communities and organisations across Fife who are addressing inequalities or promoting fairness.

Delegates will hear from a range of speakers including: Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive of Fife Council; Satwat Rehman who was a Fairer Fife Commissioner; Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance and members of Fife’s Third Sector Strategy Group.

However, the main focus of the day will be on participants themselves coming up with proposals and beginning to shape the priorities and agenda for change.

Ninian Stuart, Chair of Fife’s Third Sector Strategy Group sai: “The Fairer Fife Commission set a challenge for the third sector in Fife to become more proactive in setting our own strategic priorities.

“So, we see this conference as a chance to begin doing just that – creating something from the bottom up and reshaping the agenda in a way that will show how the third sector, at its best, can be a force of change, working with others, valuing everyone and giving voice to what is really needed.”

The event will be facilitated by Connecting Scotland, an experienced group of facilitators who facilitated last year’s highly successful Rural Parliament in Arbroath and who use participatory techniques to give all stakeholders a say on issues of shared concern.

For further information and to book your free place please e-mail info@fifevoluntaryaction.org.uk or phone Fife Voluntary Action on 0800 389 6046.

For more information click here.

Fife Voluntary Action is the Third Sector Interface for the Fife Council area.

Supporting, developing and representing community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and volunteering: www.fifevoluntaryaction.org.uk

Registered Office: Fife Voluntary Action is a Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in Scotland No. SC203613 and Registered Scottish Charity No. SCO28457.

 

The Creative Breaks Fund is run by Fife Voluntary Action, in partnership with Fife Carers Centre, Crossroads and Fife Young Carers is aimed at carers in Fife; courtesy of the Scottish Government’s Time to Live Fund which provides funding (through Shared Care Scotland) to support carers in their highly valued role to enable them to take a short break from their caring responsibilities.

Decision Day for Local Projects – “Forward West Fife”

OVER 50 local people got involved in the Forward West Fife event at Tulliallan Castle last weekend and took decisions on how to spend £60,000 in their communities.

South West Fife communities celebrate a cash boost for local projects.

Now local groups including Kincardine Scouts and Valleyfield Youth Football Club are set to benefit from the cash boost.

Fife Council, in partnership with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Forward West Fife Steering Group asked people from Kincardine, Saline, Steelend, Culross, Low Valleyfield, High Valleyfield, Newmills and Torryburn to come up with ideas for projects that could help regenerate the area following the closure of Longannet Power Station.

The participatory budgeting approach involves local people in deciding how public funding is spent in their area, coming up with ideas and then deciding which projects should receive funding by taking part in a voting process. The council and the Scottish Government funded the “Forward West Fife” project to the tune of £60,000.

However funding requests for projects came to over £140,000, and according to Fife Council’s Area Manager for South West Fife, Alastair Mutch, it made for a competitive decision day where every vote mattered.

He added: “Participatory budgeting was a recommendation from the Fairer Fife Commission as a way of creating a Fairer Fife, getting people involved and giving them a direct say in where public money can make a difference to their communities.

“Everyone who came along to the event represented their local projects and had to pitch to each other in a “speed dating” exercise.

“The room was a real hub of activity and each project had three minutes to sell their project and to outline why it should receive funding and to visit each of the other projects in the room to hear about their project and to ask questions. Once the three minutes were up – people had to move on and ‘speed-date’ the next project. There was a range of projects seeking funding from youth groups, sports groups and community councils for anything from play equipment to toilets!”

At the end of the speed-dating exercise, project representatives then re-convened back in their groups to discuss and agree as a group, how to distribute their ten votes across the various projects. Groups could not vote for themselves.”

Following the voting exercise, South West Fife Area Chair, Cllr Bobby Clelland said:  “The decision-making element proved challenging for people as they had heard all about the need for, and benefit of, valuable local community projects yet there was a finite amount of money. Overall however, it was clear that votes were distributed across the various communities and people looked beyond their own geography to support those projects they felt were most valuable.”

Added Cllr Clelland; “I was delighted to meet with the volunteers from our communities and to hear their ambitions for their areas. We are much richer in South West Fife for their contribution and for providing opportunities for people or by in improving their area. I was pleased to support the event by awarding the cheques to the successful projects. I wish them every success. Council officers and our colleagues at Coalfields Regeneration Trust are available to work with unsuccessful projects to support them to identify other possible sources of funding.”

Forward West Fife – Project Winners

The 11 winners from the 19 projects pitched on the day:

Project Organisation
Toddlers Fun Club Torryburn Torryburn Fun Club
High Valleyfield Miners ABC Boxing Gym High Valleyfiled Miners ABC
Camping for all with Kincardine Scout Group 15th Clackmannanshire (Kincardine) Scouts
Saline & Steelend Playpark Project Saline and Steelend Playpark Project
Culross Public Toilet Refurbishment Culross Community Council
Kincardine Youth Project Kincardine Youth Project
The Hub – Community Garden Torryburn & Newmills Development Trust
Kincardine Community Centre Hot Desk Facility Kincardine Community Association
The Stables Re-Wiring Culross Youth Club Management Committee
Valleyfield Youth Football Club Valleyfield Youth Football Club
Balgownie Woods to Devilla Forest Link Path West Fife Woodlands

Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk Councils join forces against poverty

A new partnership between Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk Councils will complement existing money management services, including anti-poverty and social inclusion partners, and wider support services.

Council Leaders Cllr David Ross (Fife), Cllr John McGinty (West Lothian), and Cllr Craig Martin (Falkirk) have signed a partnership agreement which will see a new Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) established for the three areas.

A CDFI offers affordable loans and budgeting advice and helps people access other financial services, such as savings, income maximisation and debt management. CDFIs provide an affordable alternative to high cost short term lenders and mainstream financial service providers whom financially excluded persons cannot access.

The aim is to offer a competitive, socially responsible alternative to non-standard lenders such as payday loans, for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable residents.

The proposed customer groups for the CDFI tend to be people on lower incomes with no record of savings and who have an extremely poor or no credit rating.  This group is often hard-to-reach, vulnerable and not readily willing to seek advice and support.

Following a successful tendering exercise which was led by Fife Council with representatives from West Lothian and Falkirk councils, Five Lamps was appointed to progress the project.

Five Lamps is an experienced CDFI lender with wider social, economic and financial inclusion roles.  The company was established as a social enterprise in 1985 and became a CDFI in 2004.

Key features of the CDFI operation in Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk would be:

Fife Council Leader David Ross

  • 4 shops covering Fife (2), Falkirk, and Bathgate for face-to-face service. The shops will operate from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12pm on Saturday.  The shops will have capacity for partners to ‘hot desk’
  • It is expected that 15 new staff will be recruited for the service.  In addition each shop will create an apprenticeship opportunity.
  • A pop up presence in each local area to raise awareness of the service
  • Support will be provided to make arrangements with local banks and credit unions to support the establishment of savings accounts
  • Full participation in local anti-poverty and financial inclusion partnership work across the three areas
  • Five Lamps will actively refer anyone who has not been successful in their loan application to other local advice and support services but will not itself deliver those services
  • It is estimated that there is a potential social saving to the local economy of £2.5 million, this reflects the amount of money saved in interest by customers who would have potentially borrowed from a more expensive source.

Leader of Fife Council David Ross commented: “It’s unacceptable that in 2017 there are so many Fifers living in poverty. We are working hard to change that situation and are committed to creating a Fairer Fife for all our residents by 2030.

“One of the key recommendations from the Fairer Fife Commission was to help people on low incomes who might be tempted into debt by taking out high cost pay day loans. We’re prioritising support and early intervention to help break the cycle of poverty and a greater reliance on public services for some people throughout their lives.

“Now by working in partnership with colleagues in Falkirk and West Lothian Councils this CDFI initiative will help provide local money advice as well as a socially responsible lending service – it’s a great move for the people of Fife.”

Creating a Fairer Fife – Ninian Stuart, Chair of Fife’s Third Sector Strategy Group

I’m really excited about the work of the Fairer Fife commission.

The commission challenged the third sector strategy group to look at the third sector in Fife how to do even better and think more strategically about our priorities for addressing poverty and inequality in Fife.

Personally that’s a deep commitment from myself…it also feels like something we really must change to make Fife a better place for everyone.

Together we have come up with a framework which involves:

  • How we drive change
  • How we work together
  • How we value everyone
  • How we give voice to what is really needed

We’re keen to go out and meet with other community groups and people involved in voluntary organisations and together look at the real priorities if over the next three years we’re going to make a major difference. I’m really looking forward to that.

Creating a Fairer Fife – Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health, NHS Fife

 

We have a Fairer Health in Fife plan to consciously improve the health of people who for one reason or another are given a disadvantage in terms of achieving good health.

I support new ways of working for all those people who have a lead role to play in making a difference on the ground (through) the recommendations from Fairness Matters.

For me, a fairer Fife would mean:

Fewer babies being born with low birth weight

More children entering school fit and confident, ready to learn

Fewer young people with mental health problems, low self esteem, self-harming, drug or alcohol problems, feeling suicidal

Fewer adults with avoidable disease and fewer accidents in the home

Finally better health and wellbeing for everyone – it’s the differences between those who are doing well and those doing not so well that is the biggest determinant for health overall in our population.

Supporting Hard-up Households – Free Poverty Awareness Training

The ‘Supporting Hard Up Households’ training programme contains a range of courses and e-learning opportunities that will be useful and relevant to anyone working with individuals and families in Fife who are struggling to make ends meet.

 

Changes to the welfare system – including the benefit cap introduced in November 2016 and the planned move to ‘full service’ Universal Credit from December 2017 – are affecting more and more people across Fife.

 

The courses cover issues such as the practical skills that will help you to recognise when someone has money worries, and what you can do to help; to more in-depth skills and knowledge on specific issues related to benefits and particular groups of the population.

 

All the courses are open to all public and voluntary sector workers in Fife and are FREE to attend.

 

This training programme is funded by Fife Partnership, through its recommendations in Fairness Matters, the report from the Fairer Fife Commission to address poverty and inequality in Fife. Training sessions are delivered by the Poverty Alliance, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, and One Parent Families Scotland.

 

To book a place please complete the booking form and return to fife-uhb.HITraining@nhs.net or contact Kelly Higgins on 01592 226561 (internal 46561) or at Kelly.Higgins@nhs.net

 

For more information on the courses, please contact Lyndsey Maricic, Fife Council on 03451 55 55 55 ext 446 138 or Lyndsey.maricic@fife.gov.uk or Laura Henderson, NHS Health Promotion on 01592 226506 or laurahenderson3@nhs.netSupporting Hard Up Households – Fife Training Programme 2017 (002)Poverty Awareness Training Booking Form 2017

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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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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