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New £10,000 community chest to help fight poverty

Grants can be used to improve quality of life for young people or to help create better life opportunities.

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A new £10,000 fund has been set up to help lift young people in North West Glasgow out of poverty. 

Set up by Queens Cross Housing Association and Queens Cross Workspace, the Queens Cross Community Chest fund will be run by local charity Garscube Community Foundation and allow young people and their families to access grants of up to £150. The grant can be used to improve quality of life for young people or to help create better life opportunities. This might include equipment for an event or activity, club fees, education or skills development, or clothes for a job interview or sport.

The fund has been set up in response to findings in the association’s latest tenants’ survey that showed poverty was still a real issue for many families living in the Queens Cross area.

Queens Cross’s Chief Executive Shona Stephen said:

“The exact level of how much some of our families are struggling has been confirmed to us by Our ‘Getting to Know You 2’ survey. These survey figures reinforce what we see and deal with on the ground every day; the unacceptable impact that poverty has on people’s lives here. How it holds people back and consigns them to a life of uncertainty and stigma
‘A child born into poverty is much more likely to remain in poverty and their children too. This is a cycle of deprivation and limited life chances that we, as a housing association, are determined to help break. 

“In this Scottish Government ‘Year of Young People’, we want the launch of our Community Chest to help more people and families pursue their interests and be able to take the opportunities open to them.”

Key findings in the comprehensive survey which, returned a sample of 70% of tenants, included:

  • 19% of tenants said at some time they had chosen to miss a meal or eat less because of a lack of money
  • 42% of tenants said that their income did not always cover their monthly expenses
  • 18% of families have had to put off buying children’s shoes
  • 35% of tenants said that at some time they had chosen not to put the heating on because of fears over costs
  • 41% of tenants said they relied on benefits for their main source of income

The Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Act stresses the importance of local partners in helping them significantly reducing child poverty by 2030.

Ms Stephen added:

“Our neighbourhoods are great places to live and work but, as housing provider, we can help address wider issues of poverty that still exist in too many of our households. Helping to keep rents low and providing energy efficient homes are two real steps we can take directly to put money back in people’s pockets. We can also advise on money matters, so tenants are making the most of the money they have and help them get what they are entitled to.

“Perhaps, for future generations, one of the biggest positive impacts we can make is to improve life chances by providing help, advice and skills training to help young people get into work and activities they enjoy.” 

The launch of the new Community Chest is backed by Glasgow City Council, the Poverty Alliance, Educational Institute of Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.