Blog: Challenge Poverty Week 2023 was bigger than ever

2023 marked the tenth year of Challenge Poverty Week - our time to come together to call for a just and equal Scotland.

There was a flurry of activity over the course of the week and organisations who may have not typically got involved found their own space and voice within the anti-poverty movement. We raised our voices loudly to highlight the injustice of poverty and to show that action based on justice and compassion can create solutions.

In 2023, more than 500 organisations joined us in calling for an end to poverty in Scotland – this was around 30% more than had taken part in 2022. In a survey conducted after CPW, 85% of respondents indicated that they felt key messages were well-received by their own audiences and networks. There continues to be demand for, and engagement with, this campaign and it is supported by many organisations who align closely with Poverty Alliance values. We worked alongside our members to present solutions, and joined them in highlighting the experiences of poverty in Scotland.

If you haven’t been involved in CPW before – there is space for everyone. There are local events, national events, activity across social media, lessons taking place in classrooms and colleges, webinars to inform and involve individuals, and a whole host of passion and enthusiasm felt across the week. Everyone fighting for the same cause and with our priorities aligned.

Each year, The Poverty Alliance evaluates CPW activity and events, which provides insight into what worked well, where we could make changes and what the impact of the week has been. Although CPW takes place one week of the year, our work under the banner of this takes place all year round.


Policy Development and Support

For 2023, we had ambition to have policy as a more integral part of CPW and following a survey, we developed a short-life working group made up of a variety of organisations with varying expertise in anti-poverty work. Our short-life working group met twice early in 2023, and we are grateful for their contribution in helping us to develop 5 key policy asks which have been widely supported by organisations across Scotland: An overview of our key policy asks. We will refresh these policy asks for 2024 by establishing a new short-life working group and will continue to highlight the importance of this action to the Scottish Government.


Influencing in the Scottish Parliament

A crucial part of our campaign is engaging with policymakers, and in particular the Scottish Government and elected members across Scotland.

Before CPW we communicated our policy asks to the First Minister – with the support of 150 organisations: Campaigners unite to ask FM for action on poverty. This collaborative action long before CPW, opened the door for us to have further engagement with Parliamentarians as the week drew closer and during the week itself.

In a CPW first, anti-poverty campaigners, who have lived-experience of poverty, met with the First Minister to detail their personal experience of poverty and how things could change to ensure everyone in Scotland has the essentials they need – a safe secure home, reliable and affordable public transport, and dignified access to food.  This meeting was reflected on as positive, and subsequently resulted in the FM posting a video highlighting his support for CPW, as well as being mentioned numerous times in the Scottish Parliament throughout the week and afterwards. In addition to this, some of the Poverty Alliance members met with the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Ann Somerville, to discuss fair funding for the third sector. We will continue to work towards securing similar opportunities to ensure the voices of those with experience of living on a low income and our policy asks remain high on the political agenda. This becomes even more important as we move closer to a General Election.


Resources and Training

The Poverty Alliance offer support and resources to organisations taking part in CPW, and if you haven’t taken part in CPW before you can view some of last year’s resources on our website.

Our Get Inspired sessions run before summer, and are an opportunity for us to outline some key information about the current campaign and to highlight some of the (many!) ways organisations may wish to get involved. Values First Framing Training also takes place earlier in the year, these sessions aim to equip individuals and organisations to tell a new moral story about poverty and effectively campaign for solutions. In 2023, over 200 individuals attended a Get Inspired Meeting or a Values First Training session, these sessions will be available and open to all who wish to get involved in CPW24. If you want to be the first to know about them, join our Campaigns Mailing List.



We want to say a big thank you to all those organisations who get involved every year and to those who took the leap to get involved for the very first time! There were more faith groups, more businesses, more trade unions, and more third-sector organisations taking part than in previous years. We know it takes time, effort and resource to take part in CPW and we appreciate the incredible effort that organisations put in to show their support. CPW continues to grow year on year as people across Scotland continue to feel frustrated and disappointed by the continuing cost-of-living crisis and under-investment in our essential public services.

Finally, we want to say a big thank you to our funders for this years CPW – The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Robertson Trust and The Corra Foundation.


Lastly… what to expect this year.

You can expect all the usual resources including: various Get Inspired Meetings and Values First training sessions; daily themes and accompanying resources; policy briefings; graphics for social media; lesson plans for anyone working in education; and physical resources such as photoboards, badges and stickers if you require them. In addition to this we hope to have lots of resources available to help you engage with your elected representatives and candidates for the General Election. As always our door is open for you to arrange a one-to-one meeting with me to chat through your plans and if you require more support we will do what we can to help.

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