Recent minor surgery has resulted in a short period of recovery. It’s a hard shift sitting in the garden passing the time of day with neighbours and watching the odd cheeky squirrel and inquisitive birds, giving me the time to reflect.
It’s ironic that the sector that supports the most vulnerable, is the most vulnerable sector.
As the Chief Exec of an independent charity, I’ve watched our communities change over the years, and the need for charities to mop up the impact of Welfare Reform and austerity policies has grown year on year.
This time last year I wrote a blog entitled “The Holiday…Hell”, talking about how school holidays can be a major challenge for a lot of families due to the regular reliance on school meals and the pressure to keep children occupied.
Wow, what a relief to finally be back to normal after last week’s weather mayhem!
Like many others we had to shut our offices as travel was a no go, but luckily we are equipped to deal with something like this. Our staff all had their laptops and phones home with them meaning they could work from home and still be available to at least give the families they support over the phone help. We always do everything we can to make sure we provide a continuous service.
See the child, not the system.
This blog is basically made up of jaggy wee questions that the government will never answer. First question, what is the point of asking people what they think if you don’t really want to know their answer? Is the point of a public consultation really just to tick a box and pretend that you are playing a fair game? Is it really just to validate what you are going to do anyway and ignore anything you don’t want to hear?
As I walked to work on this crisp morning in early autumn, summer already seems ages ago. The end of summer always makes me wistful, and as I got to the office and cranked the heating up, I couldn’t help reflect on the work Fife Gingerbread carried out over the last few months.
In my last blog I wrote about how we had 95 summer activities happening across Fife that were all free, provided food, and let families have fun together. This number far surpassed last year and any year before that, which for a charity is bitter sweet; it’s great we have the staff and infrastructure to alleviate stress and anxiety parent’s face over the summer, but it’s also tragic that there is a need and demand for us to do this. Continue reading “Poverty in Fife”
School summer holidays; what emotions do those three words conjure up? Many people would probably say happiness, joy, possibly even blissful nostalgia, but there are a lot of parents out there who are more likely to say anxiety, dread, and worry.
At Fife Gingerbread we are all too aware that there’s another side to school holidays that is often never considered. During the holidays, parents with children who receive free school meals will need to provide up to 35 extra meals to each child over the seven weeks, which for those already living on low incomes or in poverty can be a massive struggle.
A couple of years back I was involved in organising an event for Children’s Services in Fife. Tam Baillie spoke at the event in his role as Children’s Commissioner. Much to my wry amusement one of our volunteers, who is not known for holding back, held up her hand to ask a question. She asked are we really serious about tackling children’s rights? Why is she and thousands of other lone parents feeling let down? Why were they struggling to feed children whilst absent parents walked away? Nobody cares; she said, and exclaimed that we really need to turn our attention on child maintenance.
I met with some of my colleagues the other day to talk through the rough draft of the Child Maintenance research so far. “What are we learning?”
Well where do I start? It’s a ‘total can of worms’, and I can see why nobody wants to open it. The topic is so complex and emotional that it is nearly impossible to fathom. Normally when you do a piece of research and produce a report you feel as if you are halfway to coming up with a series of recommendation that will result in solutions – well not with this one. There are no easy answers – it is, indeed, a skanky can of worms.