North Ayrshire Council is tyring to tackle high levels of child poverty by focusing on “improving employability”.

Currently, North Ayrshire has the second highest poverty rate in Scotland with 20.8 per cent of children living in relative poverty and 16.6 per cent in living absolute poverty.

Tackling child poverty and issues surrounding employability have been called “top priorities” by the council, who have determined key factors in child poverty to be “employment, income from social security and the cost of living”.

One way in which the council is hoping to improve on this issue is through its employability programme called Your Next Move (Working North Ayrshire).

Laura Neil, a senior manager for employability and skills at the council, said: “We need to make every interaction count so we can help people to move on.

“North Ayrshire always has one of the highest levels of unemployment, but if we work together we can change these statistics.

“When we speak to people there is a common theme of ‘confidence’ and if we help people feel confident we can make a big change in North Ayrshire.

“We need to move people into employment to increase their household income.”

A workshop on employability labelled ‘Tackling Child Poverty: Employability’ was held on Tuesday, November 15 in Ardrossan’s Whitlees Community Centre as a step to help combat the issue.

With presentations from council teams and partner organisations, the workshop aimed to see which areas had to be improved, which were being serviced suitably, and highlight gaps in services.

Councillor Marie Burns, leader of North Ayrshire Council and chair of the child poverty and cost of living board, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“No child should ever feel the effects of poverty and by working together we can make a difference.

“As a local authority, we are determined to make sure that residents are aware of the support that is available to them from us and our partner organisations.

“It was great to see everyone coming together at the workshop, sharing ideas and looking at how we can do better by identifying challenges and barriers.”

Information on help available for those struggling due to the cost-of-living crisis in North Ayrshire can be found here: