Garioch shows polar opposites in terms of child poverty

Councillors will hear that around 340 pupils from P4 to S6 are receiving free school meals in the area with Inverurie having the highest numbers
Councillors will hear that around 340 pupils from P4 to S6 are receiving free school meals in the area with Inverurie having the highest numbers

Councillors will be told next week that the East Garioch ward has the lowest percentage of child poverty in Aberdeenshire.

Figures from the 2017 End Child Poverty campaign released by Aberdeenshire Council show that 5.71% of children in the ward are living in poverty.

But that compares with the polar opposite in West Garioch where the 13.05% figure is actually higher than the regional average of 12.59%.

Members of the Garioch Area Committee will be told by the council’s tackling poverty and inequality coordinator Annette Johnston that there are currently 479 low income households in Garioch, some 15% of which are New Scots.

She will also advise councillors that around 340 pupils from P4 to S6 are receiving free school meals with Inverurie having the highest numbers.

Across the Shire, just over 7,000 children and young people are living in poverty, with a little over 2,800 households earning less than 60% of the median household income.

Councillors at all area committees are being asked to consider the council’s action plan on child poverty and identify any particular local concerns which they have before it goes to full council in April.

In her report Ms Johnston states: “Our approach within Aberdeenshire to tackling child poverty focuses on tackling the root causes and building people’s capabilities through income maximisation, employability, improving quality of life, helping families manage the impacts of poverty and promoting positive life choices.”

The committee will also be informed that in 2018, the South West Aberdeenshire Citizens Advice Bureau secured additional funding to carry out financial health checks targeting families.

The Garioch Community Kitchen also delivered 14 family kitchen sessions to 332 participants during the school holidays over easter, summer and October.

The New Scots within the area have also been given a range of support to ensure all benefits and entitlements are in place and clients know how to access mainstream money advice services.