Friday, 27 April 2012

Kinship Carers demonstration attracts media coverage

YESTERDAY'S demonstrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh by Kinship Carers have attracted media coverage in the Herald.

In an article in the Herald, by columnist Jennifer Cunningham, it was highlighted that this was a "rare public demonstration by a normally very private group of people, prompted by desperation." She continued "Kinship carers, usually grandparents, aunts or uncles, are the hidden army that has come to the defence of an estimated 15,000 children in Scotland whose parents are unfit to care for them through drug or alcohol addiction." This coverage further highlights the issues around Kinship Care which are often not discussed in public.

36 Candidates in the Local Election attended the demonstrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh to sign the pledge outlined in the National Kinship Care Manifesto 'It could be you' put together by Kinship Carers and Children 1st.

One key area of the Manifesto is for the 'Local Authorities to work with kinship carers, local kinship care groups and other organisations supporting kinship care families to make change happen'

This has been welcomed by the Poverty Truth Commission who believe that it is important that Kinship Carers be around the table and at the heart of process of policy development in this area. 

'Nothing about us without us if for us'.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


GRANDPARENTS from across Scotland took to the streets today unperturbed by the rain, demanding that council election candidates from all parties sign a pledge to support vulnerable children living with non-parental family and friends.

They were met by 36 council candidates from all parties with another 15 sending apologies. In Glasgow 32 council candidates and councillors met with the 60 Kinship Carers gathered and publicly signed the pledge. They included Councillor Billy McAllister (Deputy Leader SNP), Councillor  David McDonald (Social Care spokesperson SNP), Deputy Lord Provost Allan Stewart, Councillor Gordon Matheson (Labour group leader) Councillor Kenneth Elder (Scottish Lib Dems), Councillor Martha Wardrop (Green party) and Graham Campbell (Solidarity). A complete list of attending candidates and more information about the pledge is available on our press release.

The Carers shouted slogans such as 'Justice for our kids!' and 'oh when the kids come marching in, we'll be there in our numbers' in the style of Oh When the Saints. In Edinburgh grandparents from the Kinsfolk Carers support group met with representatives of all parties and were asked back to make a presentation to councillors in the chambers after the elections.

Sadie Prior, a Kinship Carer from the North of Glasgow and a Commissioner for the Poverty Truth Commission says:
 “We have been campaigning for justice for years and have seen nothing but broken promises from government at Local, National and UK levels. We are not going away and as long as our children continue to suffer the lack of the most basic support we'll be in parliament and in the streets demanding change. We are saving the government millions in care costs and it's time they recognised us.”

Yvonne Ramsay from Edinburgh Kinsfolk Carers said:
“The numbers of children in Kinship Care are alarming for all. These children are Scotland`s future. Council`s need to be doing the very best for them, not avoiding the issue or just putting policies on paper and not into practice. Kinship carers are doing their very best for these children, its time Local Authorities gave these children and carers the support they undoubtedly deserve.”

Rev Ian Galloway, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland agrees:“Kinship Carers are the bedrock of our society and politicians need to acknowledge that without them the state could not provide appropriate care and it is time that they recognised this.”

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Scottish Kinship Carers create local election manifesto

KINSHIP Carers from a variety of locations across Scotland worked with CHILDREN 1st to produce a manifesto for the local elections and a few key pledges for council candidates to sign. 

They have sent these to every candidate in their area and hope to meet with prospective councillors on Thursday at their national demonstrations at Glasgow and Edinburgh Council Chambers to sign pledges in public.

Kinship Carers are asking candidates to promise:

·         To end the postcode lottery across Scotland for Kinship Care support and give all children in Kinship Care a fair and equal chance.

·         To create a one-stop-shop approach to the necessary financial, health, psychological, educational and social work support required by children in Kinship Care. Getting any one of these can be a huge struggle for Kinship Carers.

·         To recognise the hard and brilliant job Kinship Carers do and support them with respite, legal advice etc.

·         To work with them when making policy for change, since they know what the priorities are and how to use funds most wisely to benefit the children.

The full manifesto can be viewed here.

Martin Johnstone from the Poverty Truth Commission, who have supported Kinship Carer's campaign said: "It is time for politicians to stop talking and start really delivering for children in Kinship Care. The party which deserves to be elected is the one that does the right thing rather than just accusing others of doing the wrong thing." 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Wind power money can address fuel poverty

WINDFARM community funds should be invested in local energy efficiency projects to lift residents out of fuel poverty, says Consumer Focus Scotland (CFS). 

In a report published on 10 April 2012, the watchdog has called for greater integration between renewable generation and energy efficiency policy.

The report noted that developers commonly set up a Community Benefit Fund alongside each windfarm and highlighted the potential to spend it on insulation and advice, reports Utility Week.

Trisha McAuley, deputy director at CFS, commented: "Fuel poverty is greatest in rural areas. Although there have been significant and welcome improvements in the energy efficiency of Scottish housing, these improvements have not been sufficient to compensate for rising energy costs, while levels of fuel poverty in Scotland have also continued to rise."

She continued: "In the early stages of managing Community Benefit Funds, local groups have typically prioritised small-scale projects to improve local amenities such as their village hall or play park. Now our research shows that there is growing interest in activity to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty among some of these groups."

Communities involved in the research received an average of just over £30,000 a year but CFS said larger sums were becoming more common, enabling more ambitious schemes. CFS urged the Scottish Government to take a lead and work with developers and local authorities to integrate energy efficiency into community initiatives.