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Tackling the effects of poverty in Kinross-shire with Dignity

Broke Not Broken

Author: Annie McCormack, Chair

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Who we are

We are an anti-poverty charity based in Kinross-shire, and we run various projects aimed at tackling the effects of poverty in our area.

Implementing the Dignity Principles

One of the main ways we integrate the Dignity Principles into our projects is through the use of supermarket vouchers, enabling people referred for food support to choose what, where and when they shop and to buy the items that their households prefers or needs. This enables the support to be culturally appropriate and meet any dietary needs, and avoid any food waste from unwanted food from a food parcel. Ideally we hope that people can access additional financial support at times of crisis, and that this includes poverty premium and rural poverty premiums that people living on a low income in rural areas face. It is more expensive to be poor. We also ensure people who live on a low income are part of planning, part of our board and feed into any changes or projects being developed.

We integrate food into every project, enabling participants to not worry about taking part in activities and we also try and build access and travel costs into each project. We understand that living in a rural community has additional challenges around accessing our services and operate delivery, outreach and ensuring offering transport solutions as part of any project.

Our counselling service is open ended, allowing people to get the mental health support they need in a timely manner, at their own pace. 

Challenges we face

Our greatest challenge is policy and how we can address structural issues that seem to be steadfastly ignoring people’s dignity. Whether that be benefit deductions, eligibility criteria, complexity of applications, lack of support, lack of agency. These are things that alone we cannot change, but as part of a larger collective we believe that we can. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wishing to implement the Dignity Principles for the first time?

“Speak to the people who are going to be using or are using your service. Ask for anonymous feedback, enable them to give you positive and negative feedback and understand that if one person is finding an aspect a barrier then chances are other people are as well. Encourage people to participate and co-design any projects from the beginning.” – Annie McCormack