Cost of Living Task Force
Cost of Living Task Force was initially set up as a short life working group but is now a full Delivery Group that will address the immediate crisis and the underlying causes of poverty in Orkney. That crisis is showing no indication that it is receding, as is demonstrated by the 2023 figures from The Orkney Foodbank.
The Task Force has drawn together the actions from Orkney’s Child Poverty Strategy, and the Orkney Food Dignity Report into a single action plan. When the Orkney Fuel Poverty Strategy is finalised, any additional actions will be incorporated into this plan.
The Orkney Partnership produced the Orkney Child Poverty Strategy 2022-2026 and the Orkney Local Child Poverty Action Report 2021-2022 (see below).
The Cost of Living Task Force will also be taking forward many of the actions identified in the Report on Food Dignity report produced by Voluntary Action Orkney and the Partnership.
- Orkney Child Poverty Strategy 2022-2026
- Orkney Local Child Poverty Action Report 2022-23
- Food Dignity Recommendations Report
Orkney Money Matters
One of the priorities identified in both the Food Dignity Recommendations Report and the Child Poverty Strategy is the need for greater cash based support for those in a low income, so they do not have to rely on food banks and other forms of support in kind. Cash allows households to get exactly the support they know they need rather than for others to choose for them.
Voluntary Action Orkney, along with Orkney CAB, the Blide Trust , THAW, the Council and other partners, have developed Orkney Money Matters. This partnership will ensure that households get the advice they need to access the cash based support they need.
The project has received funds from Orkney Islands Council, the Scottish Government and this Cost of Living Task Force (see below).
More details about this project is available here.
Islands Cost Crisis Emergency Fund
On 25 July 2023, the Scottish Government released the Islands Cost Crisis Emergency Fund to support those who were struggling most due to the cost of living crisis, either through existing schemes or new support. Orkney’s allocation for 2023-24 was £218,000, and Orkney Islands Council asked the Task Force to distribute the fund on their behalf. The money has been used to support:
- The Orkney Food Bank.
- THAW - Orkney's fuel poverty charity, free ferry tickets for children living in the isles.
- Grants from the Orkney Charitable Trust to help families struggling over the Christmas period.
- A fund to help children participate in school activities such as school trips.
- Support for money advice to Orkney Money Matters.
- Grants via Age Scotland Orkney for older people on low incomes.
A full breakdown of the grants paid is here.
More information about this priority and how we plan to measure it is available in the Orkney Community Plan 2023/30 available here.