CHANGE Bulletin 16th February

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CHANGE Weekly Bulletin 16th February 2018

Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland launch event

Some members of the CHANGE team attended the launch of the Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland (CNS) project at the Glasgow Women’s Library on Friday 9th February. The event was well attended with a wide range of organisations represented, all of whom were treated to some excellent presentations by the chosen speakers.

A brief opening from Chris Chapman of Policy Scotland was followed by the Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken who spoke of her support for the project and discussed why a project like CNS was needed in Glasgow. An insight into child poverty issues in Scotland, and the need for collaboration in tackling these, was provided by Douglas Hamilton of the Poverty and Inequality Commission. It was encouraging to hear this approach being discussed from a national perspective with both CNS and CHANGE having developed an environment of shared learning and collaboration in Glasgow East during the course of our respective projects.

The last speaker of the morning was Jackie Redpath, CEO of the Greater Shankill Partnership in Belfast. Jackie’s passionate talk provided an inspiring insight into the success of the Shankill Children and Young People Zone, a similar initiative to CNS. Among the topics covered were the need for a joined up approach that takes into consideration the needs of a specific area and the similarities between Belfast and Glasgow as post-industrial cities. Using a localised method for delivery was key to the success of Jackie’s project and this has been one of the underpinning principles that CHANGE has adopted by asking communities in Glasgow East what they need from childcare services.

A thought-provoking morning was brought to a close with a carousel table discussion about the developmental needs and milestones of children and young people from birth to adulthood. The CHANGE team shared a table with representatives from the Scottish Government, a local housing association and Glasgow City Council’s early years team. Closing remarks about how positive the event was came from Children in Scotland’s CEO, Jackie Brock, who chairs the CNS advisory group and is Project Director for CHANGE. We look forward to more collaborative working with CNS and other partners over the course of our project. 

Tax-Free Childcare

This week saw the UK Government’s Tax-Free Childcare programme being rolled out in Scotland. The scheme, which is intended to replace existing childcare voucher systems over time, will see the government provide up to £2,000 per year towards childcare costs for each child. For each £8 that a parent pays in childcare costs, the government will top this up by £2 up to a maximum of £2,000 per year or £500 every 3 months. This is equal to the basic income tax rate of 25%, which is why the scheme is known as Tax-Free Childcare. Perhaps the key difference between the two schemes is that while current childcare vouchers are provided at the employer’s discretion, Tax-Free Childcare is available to any working parent who meets the eligibility criteria. However, Tax-Free Childcare cannot be used if a parent is claiming tax credits or Universal Credit. More information about Tax-Free Childcare eligibility and other help to pay for childcare is available on the Childcare Choices website here

Contribute to CHANGE

We welcome and encourage input from anyone who has an interest in childcare or community wellbeing in Glasgow East. If you’d like to discuss this with a member of the CHANGE team please contact our Project Officer, Anthony O’Malley, aomalley@chidlreninscotland.org.uk or our Policy and Participation Officer, Alison Hay, ahay@childreninscotland.org.uk. Both Anthony and Alison are based in Glasgow East at least four days per week and are happy to chat to anyone who feels they have something to contribute to the project.