Far and wide across the country this October, locals like myself have joined forces with like-minded campaigning groups in the hopes of urging professional public bodies and policy makers on how to understand the sense of urgency of the cost-of-living crisis, which still looms. Regardless of the news articles that are being published about how things are getting back to normal, they truly are not. Inflation continues, as is evidenced in my local convenience store, where I am still able to spot household items still rising up by 5 pence or more.
All regions of the UK are impacted and involved. Many of the ‘challenge poverty’ campaigns are held where I live, in London, where the cost-of-living crisis has continued to exacerbate the inequality that continues to exist and is now beyond the capacity of what the charities are able to cope with. According to the Trussell Trust annual impact report, it shows they are having to help out families with adults that are in employment like nurses and freelancers, than they ever did during the pandemic.
As part of the Changing Realities family, my last wish as a single parent with two young children is for them to be shielded from what I feel is yet to come. Nothing acted upon now by the government, means that the piecemeal standard of living, which is all these little human being are asking for, like a basic meal, some decent clothes and hopefully a warm bed to sleep in at night, will be a luxury next year.
I put it in this blunt way, because the harsh reality in London is that in almost each ward (where a number of adjoining wards makes up a Borough), Newham, East London figures show that most of the dependent children living within its surrounding area wards, would be classed as residing in a deprived household.
What this means in simple terms is that, firstly, either the adult or adults living with them is not employed, and secondly education wise, they lack the sufficient qualifications that would enable them to take up more skilled jobs. They might also struggle to find jobs due to not finding any appropriate ones or for reasons out of their control such as amount of hours or distance. In addition to this variable, it is quite possible people are dealing with health issues and to make things worse, they may be living in a overcrowded, inadequate housing (and plenty of the time insufficient heating)!
Where do I fall into all of this? Well, had it not been for the community that is Changing Realities, I would have, like so many others given up hope that my situation will get any bit more manageable. This is due to my chronic back pain and sleep apnea, which only this month, after two long years, I have been able to be rightfully diagnosed and qualified for the LCWRA (Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work).
My housing situation continues not to be ideal and although I try to think positively that the many educational courses I am taking in order for me to be taken seriously in the jungle of confusion that is the ever changing landscape of the UK recruitment place. “You are not experienced enough, or as valuable as your transferrable skills are, they do not seem to have the specific qualities we are looking for at the moment”, is a snippet of feedback I have received in the past.
Having the great opportunities to mix with other local parent groups and attending Changing Realities ‘Big Ideas’ online meetings, leaves me feeling hopeful that even one of views from my lived experience was shared and appreciated. Getting together like this has been particularly good for my mental health and and reflecting on what improvements I would like to see in the society we live in.
Ultimately, in order for the systematic chain of structure at the top to truly understand what a normal day-to-day struggling parent faces when it comes to living in and coming out of poverty; it is up to us individually, to try and utilise any possible spare time we have and spread the message across.
The work we do is important, but the responsibility should be on those in power of this country, to think more effectively towards the little lives who should not need to begin their formative years impoverished, but in a brighter and enabling environment, which should be a right for every child, in every household…