A Year Like No Other is a book charting the ups and downs of family life on a low income during the unprecedented times of Covid 19. It is written by researchers at the Universities of York and Birmingham in conjunction with the participants of the Covid Realities research project.
As a participant of the Covid Realities research project, this book is extremely important to me and all the others involved in its creation. I feel it is also important for a wider social understanding of life for some of the poorest in our country. I am a 37 year old disabled wife and mother to four sons, we became reliant on universal credit when my husband lost his job due to covid 19. The pandemic was beyond difficult we juggled the children being home, the lack of food and support all while falling into huge debt whilst waiting 9 weeks to receive a decision and payment from universal credit. This book delves into the challenges, fears, struggles, worries and even the hopes we have collectively to attain a better, fairer future and to end poverty.
The Covid Realities research project ran for over two years remotely, with parents and carers on a low-income from across the UK meeting up over zoom to work together and develop recommendations for change. We also completed online diaries about what life was like, and some of us spoke to media and politicians about our experiences. We made online zines (DIY magazines), took part in writing workshops, and did much, much more.
During the two years that it ran, Covid Realities became a very special place for me. It was a safe place to unload my problems with no judgement and always offered unwavering support.
'A Year Like No Other' was put together by researchers on the project, who made sure that the diary entries from participants like me and the zine pages featured across the book. Many of us also had the opportunity to write short sections, which introduce each chapter. All this gives the book a very raw and real look into the life and struggles of living in poverty especially during the life changing times of the Covid 19 pandemic. What this book shows is the harm caused by poverty, which affects not only parents but children and the wider family as a whole.
My hope is that this book encourages a change in the way people view benefit claimants and low-income families that are reliant on social security support. All too often, we are either brushed under the carpet and forgotten or portrayed and judged as lazy and living the life of luxury. This book shows the truth of the life we live day, in day out. The torment of making decisions no parent or carer should have to make in today’s day and age.
This book also shows why things can and must be different. Please read it, share it, and join us in calling for change.
You can order A Year Like No Other here. Use code POAYLNO for a 30% discount on the cover price. The book will be launched with an online event on Wednesday 19th October Find out more and sign up to attend here.