Venture philanthropy, The Hunter Foundation (‘THF”) has announced the creation of a £7.5m Innovation Fund aimed at delivering systemic change in child poverty – THF will contribute up to £2.5m over four years with the Scottish Government contributing £5m.   

The focus of the fund will be to either trial new approaches or attempt to scale innovations that have proven success in reducing child poverty.

Commenting upon the Fund, in support of the Government’s Child Poverty Delivery Plan (“CPDP”), chairman of THF, Sir Tom Hunter noted;

“Scotland faces a child poverty crisis that must be addressed if we are to succeed as a nation. This is not about words, it is about individuals – young people through no fault of their own unable to achieve their full potential. Poverty absolutely debilitates progress for that individual and for Scotland as a whole.

“Scotland’s heart is in the right place; we invest in this issue but the outcomes are poor – patently we need to change the approach, innovate, try new ways and lead the world in combatting child poverty.

“Child poverty in so many ways cripples success – it’s a vicious cycle that is totally interrelated to educational achievement and ultimately job prospects. To rid Scotland of that blight we need to think differently, act with pace and take risks – if we do what we have always done we really are confining a generation to negative lives.”

The Fund will focus on families’ and carers’ needs first, system needs second in order, it is hoped, to drive systemic change.

Importantly this Innovation Fund will not ask the professionals, the academics, the theorists – though we will pay heed to them – what to do; it will ask those suffering the abuse of poverty what can be done to help them help themselves up and out of poverty. The THF belief is that you cannot break the cycle of poverty with a new cycle of dependency.

Sir Tom added;

“Fundamentally this is a challenge for all of Scotland, come together, work together, deliver together; if we don’t this issue will only get a whole lot worse. Finally to be clear if THF does not see new and meaningful innovations or scalable solutions that engage those impacted by poverty we will simply not release our funding.”   

The Poverty Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board of THF and Scottish Government representatives and build on the advice offered in determining the CPDP as well as taking counsel from those living in poverty. Work starts today.