It goes without saying that Coronavirus is dominating all of our lives at the moment.
Up until last week Edinburgh Poverty Commissioners were busy preparing to host events in the lead up to the launch of our final report next month. For the time being we have postponed those plans.
As a voluntary and independent body, we are committed to ensuring that we meet our central objective to define the actions we need to take to end poverty in Edinburgh. Right now, that means taking stock of how Coronavirus is affecting people in poverty, helping to ensure immediate help is in place and that we consider the impact of the current crisis on opportunities for long term change.
We know that all of us in society are being challenged on so many fronts, in ways we never could have imagined. We know too that there are particular and pressing challenges for those who were already trapped in poverty and those now at risk of being swept into poverty, who may have precarious working arrangements or be in poor health, be disabled or have caring responsibilities, be without a safe and secure home – all of whom will be feeling increasingly anxious about how they can support themselves and loved ones right now.
The response is fast paced and much of what has been put in place by the UK Government, Scottish Government and agencies within the city looks focused on those who need help most. There will be challenges involved in making sure support reaches people quickly. And despite the fear and uncertainty that the Coronavirus has brought, we are also seeing lots of examples of kindness in communities, whether it is local cafés offering food deliveries to people self-isolating or neighbours connecting online or by phone to see if anyone needs help or just to have a chat.
Before we finalise our report we would like to hear about the experiences of people living in poverty in Edinburgh:
- If promised help is getting through and what are the immediate challenges and solutions needed
- About examples of kindness and help that are really making a difference
- About changes that are happening now that should last for the long term
Stay safe, take care of yourselves and look after each other.