I want to start by saying that I’m managing, that I’m not broken, but, that I know I can’t keep things going as the situation stands, without significant impacts.
That’s what I want to speak about, the impact of poverty on my physical and mental health. How, if I track my life from 2019 to now, I can see just how messed up things have become.
It wouldn’t matter how much money I had right now in a way, the damage is done.
Poverty, slowly but steadily, removes your true voice. It takes away the strength to fight, to believe that we are worthy.
Over time, our friends have stopped asking us to attend events, stopped inviting us to places because we cannot afford to join them. Our circle has reduced so much and as a single parent to a child with additional needs, that has slowly destroyed my sense of self worth and my ability to get out and try to enjoy life.
My body ‘feels’ broken. I am experiencing a very difficult menopause and despite multiple attempts to garner healthcare support, I am unable to due to a family history of cancer. I’ve given up asking. So I just suffer and I don’t use that word lightly.
I can’t properly care for myself any longer, and that is so very sad to me. I gave up smoking and drinking alcohol, I tried to eat healthily but it’s so expensive now.
I recently had a minor accident and really hurt my foot. I absorbed the pain and carried on because there is only me to take care of things. I found out from my doctor when I could finally get in, that I have a suspected hairline fracture on my foot. I’ve just carried on, because although rationally I know I need to rest, realistically, I can’t. I can’t afford to get help to do jobs in my home and I have no one to help with my son.
I absorb the pain and I think well this is all you can do, but it makes me so so sad that I even matter so little to myself now.
I am not the person I was in September 2019. When I finally had help with my son, I had a part time job, I had possibilities and a bit of hope. I was building back up after difficult times and honestly thought we can do this, things will get better, they haven’t.
Recently, my stepfather died and the devastating effects of that have hit me hard. I come from a fractured family and have no support at all from them. They hid his death and I found out by accident. I cannot tell you how that felt and as I add that to the mountain of suffocating beliefs that I don’t deserve better, I know that getting out of this dark place has become something I just cannot see.
Whilst I keep telling myself you aren’t broken, the reality is a very different story…
I’m trying hard to keep the faith and I support others through voluntary work and a listening ear, so it isn’t over, yet.
I wanted so much more for my son, how sad that so much greed and apathy to the lives of people on low incomes has rendered any dreams that I had, void.
I do think that we have survived a lot, and maybe we can get through. But the crisis in the actual ‘cost’ of living this way is far from over for so many of us.
There’s a sadness to the end of the summer holidays approaching - which is odd really because I haven’t loved them. In fact, the sadness comes from my guilt at not having facilitated non-stop fun and activities throughout. We’ve managed a couple of days away (to a soggy coast) but generally we’ve been at home, whilst I’ve worked and the kids have entertained themselves. The pretty rubbish weather hasn’t forced me to spend on expensive activities inside so we have endured “pandemic, stay at home vibes” and done what we do best. Now in reflection I’m questioning if I should have done more…but I’m one person and I’m so tired!!! Maybe next summer will be different?
The summer holidays is nearly over. It’s been a tough one on entertaining 3 children. Wish I could have done more for them but hopefully next year I’ll be able to, even if that means planning a few months in advance.
But I feel optimistic about the future, surely it can only get better.
Been up doctors for me, and my youngest came with me and walked all way home, which took 20 - 30 mins. Longest she's walked, and yesterday used her potty – so proud!
Well, having both my kids off school, plus 1-yr old eating us out has been a nightmare. Don't get me wrong, love my kids to bits but all I hear is "I'm hungry, can I have a snack?" Any ideas, guys, plz? Anyway, we're still waiting on the house getting sorted – what a nightmare. Been here 5 months and still waiting for plasterers to come since we moved in.
My Deep Fat Fryer has been an absolute god send during this 6 week holiday so far (although I know we are only 1 week in so far - but, it has been really useful for after school and half-term holidays too).
I say this because my 7 year old loves fast food, and there is a famous fast food restaurant very close to his school, which we visit sometimes.
The food there, though, has become super expensive over this cost of living crisis, which was why I decided to invest in a Deep Fat Fryer in the first place.
I tend to buy supermarket own brand chips, chicken nuggets, etc., fry it, and top it up with store brand condiments, and breakfast/lunch/dinner is served!
Best of all, I tend to always have a supply of chips, chicken nuggets, etc., in the freezer, so I never have to worry when my son fancies this type of meal, when it's about 9.00 o'clock at night, and having to travel to a Fast Food place for it, as I only have to go as far as my freezer for it, knowing that it will cost a fraction of the price!
I also never have to worry about having to buy extra portions of, say - chips at a fast food restaurant if my son runs out of them, because I often find that the fast food restaurant portions are often too small, whereas when I buy a big bag of store brand chips, for say £1, I can make my son several portions of chips from that one bag. It really is more economical.
I don't give my son fried food often, and do have an air fryer as well, because I know that they are a lot more healthier way of cooking food - but every now and then won't hurt, and keeps me happy knowing that my son is fed, and is happy for being fed too!
This is a hard one, because it would depend if it included rent as well, with UC it includes your rent payment, also depends on how many children you have and then add on disabilities in the household, it would be wrong to put a figure on this as i would not like to come across as greedy, but due to circumstances right now, we have just lost our car due to MOT and there is no price you could give to allow me to have a car where we live, as we live in a rural location that only has a bus every hour in the day. So with all these issues i could not put a value on this. See adequate is different for everyone. So i am unable to put a figure.
I want to ask my MPs, how the unpaid carers can deal for the future with this situation because prices increase every day and with out stability for us. How we can survive?
My ex partner left me in October 2019. I had to go to the job centre to make a claim for Universal Credit has my wage wasn't enough to pay the mortgage, bills and my 2 children. I made the claim in October and did not receive any money until the January 2020. This meant I had to use foodbanks and that Christmas was the hardest ever. Luckily I managed to still get Christmas pressies has I went to charity shops and a friend helped me out. I was made to feel I was begging for money when I was working full time. Since then I actually got a second job and earn my own money so I don't have to claim anything. If it wasn't for food banks we would have gone hungry over those few months. Before I would have just thought, get myself a job or go back to UNI. I was already doing those things so I felt helpless and worthless even tho I was working. I was also recovering from cancer and remember thinking I don't have time to be ill and just carried on. The positive was I gained strength from a place I didn't know I had until then. This will carry me through anything now.
Informing DWP of a change in circumstances brings nothing but bad memories to me. Seven years ago my partner who was working left the family home, leaving me with the responsibility of looking after our daughter. When I phoned to report this, child tax credits were stopped immediately along with my daughters free school meals. I was told that I would have to change over to universal credit or continue to survive on the new style ESA as a single person. On top of this the child benefit was being paid into my partners account, which took almost 2 years before it was paid directly to me as they needed my ex partner to inform them of this, during which time I did not receive any financial or other help from my ex in order to support our daughter. I also did not receive any help or advice from DWP in gaining information about where to go for help. It was only through joining Covid /Changing realities, that I started to find out about other help available such as water help with the cost of water bills, food banks, etc. Until this time I had been left broken, financially, mentally and physically, by the very people who are supposed to help and support those in desperate need, struggling to survive and support their children.
From my point of view, six, seven years ago now, when my ex wife left and my circumstances drastically changed, we were on child tax credit and because I notified them that my wife had left me, that then called chaos. And I ended up with six weeks of no payments while I got full onto Universal Credit because I was a registered carer as well. I still am for my youngest daughter. That as well, when payments went down by 34 pound a week because I wasn't a couple. Which is a bit kind of ludicrous, really, because you're struggling on your own more than when you are the couple. So that was mind boggling. But no, I haven't had a good experience of changing over from one to the other or much support at all in the benefit system. I'm currently not able to work due to disabilities and because I'm on universal credit and I spoke to ESA and they went, 'well, you do qualify but universal credit would just take the money off you so you won't gain anything at all from that'. So I had the benefits of DWP. To me, there's no point claiming employment support long term sick because give it for one hand and take it with the other. And because I still claim carer's allowance because it helps me budget, they pay weekly so that's my weekly food bill when universal credit is monthly, which I use on my main bills and my rent, they also take off my carers allowance as well. So no, I've not had a positive experience of one benefit system talking to the other one at all.
I was getting housing support and now it stopped from two months.
Paying rent on my own no support any more. Its affecting my health now because I have to do extra hours with working full time already to pay the rent.
Unable to give time to my son on weekends too. As no choice but to work on weekends too.
Support from government is a joke.