A range of speakers spoke with a passion and determination as Challenge Poverty Week got underway in North Ayrshire on Monday morning.

The ‘Aye We Can’ Conference launched a week of activities across the region as the council joined the Poverty Alliance’s campaign to raise awareness of the existence of poverty in our communities.

And the event at Fullarton Community Hub – a symbol itself of how communities are coming together to fight poverty – was a perfect platform to promote the message that the council, partners and a range of organisations are fighting hard to help and support our local communities.

The event was opened by Chief Executive Elma Murray, who highlighted the work being carried out by the council and, in particularly, its recently-approved Fair for All Strategy.

The Strategy looks at ways we can empower communities, encourage local innovation and create more equity in our communities.

Peter Kelly from the Poverty Alliance spoke about how they are finding solutions to tackle poverty.

Zoe Ferguson from Carnegie UK Trust provided a fascinating insight into how promoting kindness is essential to the well-being of people and communities.

Donna Fitzpatrick, from the Fullarton Community Association, detailed her inspiring journey which ultimately led to development of the purpose-built Fullarton Community Hub.

Closing the event was Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council.

He said: “Challenge Poverty Week is hugely important to all of us.

“It’s a week where we can try and raise awareness and try to build connections.

“We aren’t going to solve the issue of poverty overnight but we want to take steps, even if they are quite small ones, in trying to make a difference.

“The conference was a great opener.

“It allowed us to hear from people with different perspectives of poverty and share experiences, problems we’ve encountered and, most importantly, lessons that we’ve all learned.”