Resilience is one of today’s vogue words. No wonder. To get through the next five years or so of higher unemployment, declining real wages and reduced public spending will require more than the usual levels of stoicism from everyone who is not sitting securely in the top rank of income earners.
As a rallying cry to the nation, “Be resilient” may lack the recognition factor of “We’re all in this together” – but it will be less offensive to those whose individual or family experience has taught them that they are among those who can expect to cope with the worst effects of the crisis.
Scotland’s disadvantaged communities include many of those who are most vulnerable, but by no means all. While 34% of the population of the 15% most disadvantaged communities in Scotland live in income poverty, those 240,000 individuals represent less than a third of all Scots living in poverty.
It is one of the strengths of Scottish communities that they defy popular stereotypes. The most disadvantaged contain not just a spread of income but a diversity of talents, skills and ambitions across all income groups. Rather than any headline slogan it is that diversity that will nurture the resilience local communities will need to meet the challenges ahead.
How we can all work together to support diverse and resilient communities will be the theme of SURF’s Annual Conference in Edinburgh on 17th March 2011. I hope that you can join us there and that you find the special feature articles on the same topic in this issue of Scotregen useful and informative.