Hollywood actor, children’s author and proud Save the Children ambassador Isla Fisher has returned to Scotland – just a few miles from where she grew up – to learn more about how the charity is supporting families across the country amid the cost-of-living crisis and helping children get the bright future they deserve.
Born to Scottish parents, Isla spent much of her childhood in Bathgate (west Lothian) until she was six before moving to Australia where her late father worked as a Save the Children executive. Returning to her childhood home as a mother of three, Isla witnessed first-hand how the charity works with local partners to provide an array of emotional and practical support for families facing hardship.
She said: “This visit is highly personal for me as Scotland is the home of my ancestral roots. I still have relatives dotted around the area and many fond memories of growing up here. It’s also the first time I’ve returned to Scotland since my father passed away. I know he’d be incredibly proud of my being here to support Save the Children’s vital work helping disadvantaged children and families who live so close to where he grew up.”
During the visit, Isla attended a mother and toddler group run by Home-Start Glasgow North and North Lanarkshire, a community organisation that helps young families to grow in confidence and resilience, building stronger relationships within themselves and the wider community.
Through Home-Start, Save the Children delivers immediate cash grants to families with young children who are facing financial difficulties, so that they can get food on the table, buy warm clothes and afford the essentials they need to survive.
Reflecting on her visit, Isla said: "Many here are living at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis. I heard of parents earning double incomes and still struggling to cover the basics, mothers skipping meals so that their children could eat.
“I feel incredibly touched that the women here chose to share their stories with me. Motherhood can be isolating at best. Throw in financial difficulties, soaring food prices, mental health struggles, and I know I’m talking to some real fighters.”
In Scotland today, more than one million people live under the poverty line. What’s more, research from Save the Children shows that more than one in three families with a baby under one are now living in poverty – that’s much higher than the national average. These financial pressures have pushed many families into food poverty, meaning they struggle to consistently afford healthy, balanced meals.
Director of UK Poverty at Save the Children, Dan Paskins, said:
“We know that nutritious food fuels play, boosts education and enables children to have the healthy, happy future they deserve. Yet currently, nearly 4 million children live in households that are food insecure in the UK. This is not good enough. No child in the UK should be going hungry.
Winter is set to be an extremely difficult period for families as cost-of-living pressures continue to bite. That’s why Save the Children is urging the British public to come together and support children who are experiencing food poverty both here in the UK and around the world, by donating to the Feed Children’s Futures campaign."
Isla has been an ambassador for Save the Children since 2012. The actress initially fronted the charity’s breastfeeding campaign, for which she visited the slums of Sao Paulo and met mothers who pumped their breastmilk so it could be donated to neonatal wards, giving babies who were suffering illness or born too early the best start in life.
Save the Children works with children, families and partners across Scotland to challenge poverty and lessen its impact on children and families. The organisation also works closely with schools and organisations to improve children’s learning and development in the early years.