This week is Challenge Poverty Week (5th to 11th October) which raises awareness of families in Scotland who are living with the constant pressure of living in poverty.
One project which is supporting families across Greater Glasgow and Clyde help reduce their financial stress is the Healthier Wealthier Children project which is now in its 10th year.
Since its launch in 2010, this NHS led child poverty initiative has resulted in approximately £36.5 million pounds going back into the pockets of local families with over 26,000 referrals to money advice services from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) staff.
The project works closely with antenatal and community child health services to target pregnant women and families with young children experiencing, or at risk of, child poverty. It also offers advice for families experiencing child poverty and aims to prevent families from falling into child poverty by working with health and early years services to identify families at risk at an early stage.
The initiative has meant that many people are now receiving welfare benefits they were unaware they were entitled to. Debts have been written off and sanctions appealed successfully. Families have had access to grants and assistance with dealing with food and fuel poverty.
All NHSGGC midwives and health visitors are now asking families about money and debt worries routinely and referring to money advice services as part of day to day care.
Dr Noreen Shields of the Equality & Human Rights Team said: “In light of COVID-19, the need to ensure that our patients are getting the financial support they require is greater than ever.
“By asking a simple question and providing patients, parents or carers with assistance on where to get help, we can do so much to prevent unnecessary worry and anxiety.”
The Healthier Wealthier Children model is also cited as a requirement of Scotland’s Child Poverty action plan and similar models have been developed in London and as far afield as Sweden and Australia.
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