Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley's MSP is encouraging constituents to reach out for support as part of raising awareness for Challenge Poverty Week.

Elena Whitham marked the week with an event in the Scottish Parliament.

The annual Challenge Poverty Week, organised by The Poverty Alliance, seeks to showcase the work that is done by individuals and organisations which tackle poverty across Scotland and calls for further action and reform.

Ms Whitham has highlighted the work of the Scottish Government in fighting poverty through policies such as the Scottish Child Payment and has also recognised that more work is needed to address the “injustice of poverty”.

The SNP MSP is asking her constituents to reach out for help.

Ms Whitham said: “We all know that poverty is unjust and restricts thousands of families across Scotland from living their lives to the fullest potential. Poverty has a knock-on effect on health, education, and economic growth.

"All research shows that women, children, minority groups, and disabled people are often hit the hardest.

“That is why I am proud to join my colleagues in the SNP in making tackling poverty our number one priority.

"We have already made great progress with ground-breaking policies such as the Scottish Child Payment which has helped more than 300,000 children across the country."

The SNP representative added: "We have built a social security system built on the principles of compassion, fairness, and respect. We are working to do all we can with the powers we have by spending more than £700 million in the last 5 years to mitigate Westminster welfare cuts.

“However, I know that we have further to go. Poverty is an issue which needs to be tackled across all Government departments and by working with the experts on the ground.

“If you are struggling right now, please reach out for help. Your first step should be making sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to by completing an online calculator tool.

"You can also get in touch with organisations such as Citizens Advice Scotland and Christians Against Poverty.

"If you live in my constituency, please contact my office. My team and I are ready to assist and can point you to the most appropriate service for your needs.”