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Guest Post: Challenge Poverty Week: Tackling Poverty and Inequality with Edinburgh’s new Equality and Rights Network (EaRN)

Guest blog from Roseanna Macdonald, Equality and Rights Network (EaRN)

Challenge Poverty Week is here, and it couldn’t arrive soon enough. It will come as no surprise to those working on issues including employment, equality and welfare that poverty is set to rise in coming months and years; currently an estimated 1 in 5 children are living in poverty in Edinburgh. Questions need to be asked (and answered) about how to tackle the growing numbers of people living in poverty, the harmful stigmas and stereotypes associated with poverty and how poverty connects with – and often deepens – other inequalities.

EaRN

With these questions in mind the Edinburgh-based Equality and Rights Network (EaRN) is holding its first solo public event, A Platform for Positive Change, on the 21st October to explore how the Network can be used to tackle poverty and inequality and effect positive change. As a new member-based project, EaRN’s aim is to be a platform for people and communities experiencing discrimination, poverty and inequality to influence policy and practice surrounding equality and rights by sharing their lived experiences. A Platform for Positive Change is an opportunity for public services, third sector organisations, community groups and individuals to identify how EaRN can achieve this aim. Through interactive workshops and discussions, we will be asking participants to identify common priorities between various equalities groups, what role EaRN can play in tackling poverty and inequality, and practical steps the Network can take towards this in coming months.

It is our belief that positive change in the twin landscapes of poverty and inequality can only truly come about through public services engaging directly with those that use, and are affected by, their services. A Platform for Positive Change is the first step towards improving this engagement in Edinburgh; the actions that will come from this event will serve as a basis for EaRN’s future activities. So if you are affected by poverty and/or inequality, or work with people affected, we want to hear your voice in this engagement!

A Platform for Positive Change will be held at Out of the Blue Drill Hall on the 21st October from 9.30-13.30. Click here to find out more about this event.

A bit more about EaRN

Managed by Volunteer Edinburgh and funded by Edinburgh Council and public sector partners including NHS Lothian, Police Scotland and the Fire and Rescue Service, the purpose of EaRN is to enable individuals, rights groups, third sector organisations and communities of interest to work in partnership with public services to advance equality, promote human rights and tackle inequality and poverty.

Joining EaRN is open to any group, partnership, forum, organisation, agency, company or individual interested in advancing equalities issues, tackling health inequalities, promoting rights-based work and combating poverty. EaRN Members will have opportunities to identify key priorities surrounding equalities and rights and be engaged in and consulted on developments and reviews in services, policies and practices across the themes of poverty, inequality, human rights, caring and groups protected under the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Another key part of EaRN will be the recruitment of volunteer Equalities Ambassadors who will serve as an important link between public services and the most marginalised groups in society to ensure that those who most need it have opportunities for their voices to be heard.

If you would like more information about EaRN, you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with news and upcoming events, or contact them on equalityandrights@volunteeredinburgh.org.uk.

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