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September 2019
Welcome back!
Following a moratorium on newsletters we are now back in business and would welcome your feedback and comments on our content.
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(L-R: Irene MacKinnon, Tamara Horsburgh, Christina McKelvie, Ruth Forsythe, Chloe Clemmons, Karen Hendry)

Christina McKelvie, Minister for Older People and Equalities, met with church practitioners this week to talk about how to inform the Scottish Government's Loneliness and Social Isolation strategy.

Chloe and Irene of SCPO were joined by Danny Collins and Richard Steinbach from the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Rev Karen Hendry from Yoker Parish Church, Rev Ruth Forsythe, Director of Finn’s Place in Langside, and Tamara Horsburgh of the Salvation Army.
The First Minister announces her Programme for Government
The Programme for Government was announced on 3 September and includes legislation that the Government will progress over the coming year, including billls on a Good Food Nation, Hate Crime and the Circular Economy tackling single use products.
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Funeral Payment is launched for low income families in Scotland
The new Funeral Payment from Social Security Scotland will help towards burial or cremation costs, some travel costs and a £700 payment for people without funeral plans.
For more information or to claim, call 0800 182 2222 or click
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Church communities prepare for Brexit
As the Brexit date of 31 October gets closer, the Scottish Government have highlighted resources that may be of use to local congregations, including information on the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme. For more information click here
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Challenge Poverty Week 2019
Challenge Poverty Week takes place from 7-13 October 2019 and it is an excellent opportunity to highlight what is being done to address poverty and commit to more action in the future. Last year 130 organisations took part, delivering over 200 actions as part of the Week.

A toolkit to help you get involved including graphics, ideas and lesson plans is available to download at Take part on social media using the hashtags #ChallengePoverty and #AyeWeCan
If your church / church group is taking part in an event to mark Challenge Poverty Week 2019 or you would like to highlight a service that challenges poverty in your community, please contact Irene at SCPO
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Citizens' Assembly of Scotland
A debate was held recently in Holyrood on the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland, reiterating its independence from the Scottish Government and what it hopes to achieve. Preparations have been ongoing for the Assembly to start at the end of October, including a focus on cumulative learning and a respectful exchange of views.
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The Give Me Five campaign
On 26 June, the Give Me Five campaign welcomed the Scottish Government announcement of a new Scottish Child Payment. The latest Programme for Government further pledged that the payment will be accessible for children under six by Christmas 2020, and six to16 year olds by 2022. Give Me Five will continue to lobby the Westminster Parliament on the importance of boosting Child Benefit.
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Meet Your MSP
Over 130 events have taken place as part of this project, including visits to foodbanks, care homes, churches, afternoon tea and coffee mornings. Please contact Irene at SCPO if you take part in the project.
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Government Legislation
For the latest information on Bills going through the Scottish Parliament click here
All petitions in the Scottish Parliament can be viewed here

All petitions in the UK Parliament can be viewed here
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Meet Your MP
Thirty events have taken place as part of this project with quite a number over the summer. Any denomination taking part should contact Irene at SCPO here so that we can share each other’s stories.
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Public consultations are published by the Scottish Parliament and by the Scottish Government and include the following:

Funeral Directors: Code of Practice
End date: 20 September 2019

Benefit Take Up
End date: 21 October 2019
The Catholic Parliamentary Office of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland responded to a Scottish Government consultation on ‘Incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Domestic Law in Scotland. This can be read here
The Church of Scotland responded to a Call for Views on the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill. This can be read here
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Home Office fees scandal meeting

An open meeting will be held at 6pm on Wednesday 2 October in Glasgow to discuss a Scottish campaign against Home Office fee levels. It will be hosted by the Scottish Refugee Council at 6th Floor, Portland House, 17 Renfield Street, in Glasgow. People will share their personal experiences and speakers will be Robert Swinfen, Sarah Craig, Alison Phipps and David Bradwell.

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CPG on Religion or Belief

The Cross Party Group meeting will be held on 2 October at 5.30pm at the Scottish Parliament. There will be two representatives speaking from Yazda - a global organisation aiming to prevent genocides against the Yazidi community and other minorities, and to assist in the recovery from the 2014 genocide.

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Christianity in the Public Square debates

A debate event on ‘Has Christianity anything to contribute to the 21st century public square?' will take place on Friday 25 October from 6.30pm. Professor Mona Siddiqui will chair three debates on the relevance of Christianity, if Christian principles should be dropped from medicine, and whether Christians should support the criminalisation of hate speech.

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Good Money Week 2019
The Church of Scotland and partners are holding a Good Money Week Fair on Saturday 5 October to help people connect their faith and values to their finances – helping to ensure a more just and sustainable world.

To find out more book your tickets
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Appeal for Articles
We would like to invite denominations to contribute articles for future monthly newsletters. Please contact SCPO here if this is something that you would be interested in doing. It could relate to an issue that is politically current or tie in with events highlighting a specific cause.
We would also like to encourage groups to share the information enclosed in their newsletters and online – and please let us know if you do!
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