Martin Whitfield MSP is inviting businesses, community groups and other organisations across South Scotland to join hundreds of others around the country in taking part in this year’s Challenge Poverty Week (4 to 10 October).

Co-ordinated by the Poverty Alliance, Challenge Poverty Week brings together local groups across the country with big national organisations to help tackle poverty in communities across Scotland.

The theme for the week this year is #NowIsTheTime, with a focus on this being the time to build a society free from poverty and action taken to boost people’s incomes, reduce the cost of living, and create the just and green Scotland we all want to see.    

Mr Whitfield plans to focus on the take-up of pension credit during the week this year, following figures showing that thousands of eligible local pensioners are missing out on millions of pounds of support they are entitled to.

Speaking about the week, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“While there are many affluent areas within the South of Scotland, stubborn pockets of deprivation also remain and in many cases are getting worse, especially due to the impact of the pandemic. Covid-19 has highlighted and increased poverty across the region over the last 16 months.

“Poverty restricts people’s lives in hundreds of different ways, with women, children, minority groups and disabled people often affected the most. Far too many of our fellow citizens simply aren’t getting the income and support they need to live a full and free life. 

“Challenge Poverty Week provides an important opportunity to highlight and take action on the causes of poverty to help build a Scotland where everyone has a decent standard of living. This pursuit of fairness must be at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic.

“My focus during the week this year will be on pensioner poverty, especially the uptake of Pension Credit. I’m encouraging people across the South Scotland region who think they or a family member could be missing out to call the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for a free entitlement check.”

Find out more about Challenge Poverty Week at