Associate feature: Festive compassion needs to give way to real action on poverty

Written by Celia Tennant, Inspiring Scotland on 17 December 2018 in Comment

Inspiring Scotland has supported 35,000 young people into work, education or training in a decade

Celia Tennant, chief executive, Inspiring Scotland - Image credit: Inspiring Scotland

At this time of year, we often turn our thoughts to those less fortunate. And so we should.

But, on the back of a damning report from the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in the UK, this time that festive compassion needs to give way to real action.

We need to end poverty in Scotland and close the ever-growing gap between the poorest and the wealthiest in our society.

I know the desire and the will to make Scotland a more equal, compassionate and prosperous place, where ambition and opportunity are open to all, is shared across our society.

I know because I have seen it in the work of thousands of organisations across Scotland, in the hundreds of charities we support directly, and in the generosity of investors who support us.

I know that to support people out of poverty and inequality takes time, is wholly personal and that it cannot be done with a magic wand.

I know that people know the issues in their own lives better than anyone and that communities must be at the heart of building their own future.

I know that to better support people and organisations working in our poorest communities means building trusting relationships over time.

I know it means long-term commitment and collective hard work.

It means changing our society to work more effectively for all.

It also means gathering evidence to see what really works, and what doesn’t.

I know these things because this is what Inspiring Scotland has been doing for the last 10 years and I know that it works.

In 2008, we set the aim of supporting 35,000 young people into work, education or training in a decade. In December, that aim was met.

We achieved what set we out to do because we worked together.

Charities, their staff, funders, volunteers, researchers and thousands of young people all striving for the same aim.

In the next 10 years, I know we can do even more. And I know that we must.

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