Challenging Poverty, 365 Days a Year
Effects of poverty on Inverclyde’s people and families…
Poverty in Inverclyde affects many people and is an issue that the Challenging Inverclyde Poverty (CIP) Group and partners are keen to address.
For the most part the highest poverty rate is experienced by:
- Lone parent families
- Single adults
- Two parent families
The CIP group and community members highlighted that lack of:
- Appropriate housing
- Opportunities for extra activities/holidays etc.
can make it difficult to raise a family and / or get on with everyday life / living.
People shared that due to poverty, they deal with stress on a daily basis. This can lead to health problems and also impacts on all who are living at home. Those with families feel that they have let their kids down and it is also evident that people can be embarrassed by their situation.
- Tend to buy/access processed, frozen food etc. – aware this is not as good for you as fresh
- Reliance on food banks – hand outs, not good for self esteem
- Stressed - not meeting needs of kid/s - cost of the school day and things that parents are expected to pay for, kids feel embarrassed when they are not doing things with / having things that their peers have
- Not meeting own needs – tend to use money for other essentials e.g. rent/heating, enable kids to participate in extra activities as worry about how they are feeling and the impact that this can have on them (ACE’s)
- Worry that kids will not have as many opportunities as other children – sports, music, fun activities
- Kids feel pressure from their peers / social media on how to dress, what to do
- Failed as a parent - cannot afford to give them all the things they want
- Feel ashamed about living in poverty and it is very difficult to ask for help with costs for trips or other things
- Go without things I need to be able to give more to my kids
We here at the CIP Group hope that:
- Things will change for families / individuals living in poverty and all of Inverclyde’s people will get the opportunity to succeed in life
- People will have more support and greater awareness of what is available locally to address needs and concerns
- There will be more options available for day-care / nursery needs so parents can work
- Government/employers will raise the minimum wage for everyone, more equality for pay and more affordability for basic needs
Scarcity is an economic term that describes the mind-set people develop when they have many needs and not enough resources to meet those needs.
An example of scarcity is found in people who live in poverty. Research has found that living in poverty can greatly impair peoples’ decision-making abilities, often resulting in making poor decisions.
This is because poverty leads to a scarcity mind-set that negatively changes the way a person thinks, plans, and operates. Living in a state of scarcity:
- Imposes a cognitive load that saps attention and reduces effort – too busy worrying about other things to concentrate on the task in hand
- Impairs peoples’ ability to make and carry out healthy long-term goals. People become focused on present, short-term goals such as how to deal with immediate expenses
- This is called tunneling – the brain becomes so focused on a particular short-term problem that it can’t focus on anything else
may make bad financial decisions such as playing the lottery or borrowing too much money – in the hope that this will help them deal with the short-term problem of paying for a bill, can lead people into worse situations than they were in before
Scarcity is also present in other situations such as:
- When workers are not given enough resources to do their jobs
- In the aftermath of a natural disaster when there aren’t enough goods to go around
- Sometimes people even live out of a scarcity mind-set when there are plenty resources to go around - when people make decisions from a scarcity mind-set, they hoard resources, only think of themselves, and live with a lot of anxiety
Steven Covey is a businessman who wrote a book entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
In the context of business, Covey encourages people to embrace an abundance mentality over a scarcity mentality as they make decisions about their lives and careers.
People with an abundance mentality make decisions out of a mind-set that there is enough to go around. They are more generous with their resources, more gracious when other people succeed, and less anxious that they will miss out. They make decisions out of a belief that there is enough to go around.