The Scaffolding Project - The Experience of Poverty And Community Responses In East Belfast
In late 2020, the Scaffolding Project, part of EastSide Partnership, engaged with community and voluntary groups in the East Belfast area to gain a greater understanding of poverty and the impact it was having on individuals, families and communities. During the engagement process, The Scaffolding Project were provided with in-depth conversations detailing the true reality of poverty in the area. The group not only discussed the impact of poverty on individuals, families, and people from all generations, but they also learned about how the voluntary and community sector were responding to help break the cycle of poverty. During the discussions, it became apparent that there were further policy interventions required from Government and other agencies in order to alleviate poverty and its impact in the area.
With support from the Executive Office’s Urban Villages Initiative and NICVA, as well as funding from the Communities in Transition Programme, The Scaffolding Project have been able to design a briefing document that details their engagement and research findings as well as highlighting six key policy asks.
The Scaffolding Project briefing document recognises the need for a welfare system that addresses the immediate impacts of poverty. Moreover, the document demonstrates the need for the implementation of policies that tackle the underlying causes of poverty and help those affected to find a way out of poverty. Policies to address poverty should aim to help in the short-term but also ensure the end goal is long-term and in turn break the poverty cycle.
The six key areas highlighted within the document, in order to address the impact of poverty in East Belfast, are:
- Access to employment that provides a good standard of living
- Affordable and energy efficient housing
- Support for low-income families Improved support is needed for families on low income.
- Better benefits and a user centred approach
- Better mental health services and supports to reduce isolation.
- Digital inclusion
Tracey Wilson, chair of The Scaffolding Project committee recognised the value in the briefing document and the potential impact it could have on future interventions in the East Belfast area,
“In this report we have a reflection of what is happening in our community regarding the issue of poverty and insight from those on the ground of what is needed to address it. Whilst it is vitally important that we support those affected by poverty at this current time this report further makes some recommendations on how we might address some of the causes. This briefing document is a valuable tool to support future work of those in East Belfast who wish to advocate for change and will help inform our response to the government’s Anti-Poverty Consultation.”
Read the briefing document in full here.
To learn more about the work of The Scaffolding Project, you can visit The Scaffolding Project | EastSide Partnership
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