What a week. I had my American family over and it did nothing but rain after the heat wave a few weeks ago. It was so nice to see them all but I had to watch my money which was embarrassing and I felt bad I couldn’t treat them. I did however do free stuff with them like go to an Art gallery and walk around the Titanic. I also took them on a walking tour of the murals on both sides of the community and they loved it and they didn’t have to pay for a tour as I knew so much about the murals as I grew up in the Belfast troubles. It’s the little things in life and I’m glad they had a fun day which didn’t cost any money but was precious as we all spent time together.
Well in (NI) we are already well into our summer. My 2 children have been off since the end of June. It’s harder this year than any other year financially as there’s little excess money to do anything exciting. I feel sorry for my children as the weather is rubbish and the budget cuts over here mean that there are limited spaces and trips in the summer scheme. I am thankful my friends are coming over from Manchester next Friday and hiring a car and taking me and the children on a day trip to visit the Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge which my young son age 9 thinks is hilarious and will spend the entire time laughing as I’m super afraid of heights but if laughing at me screaming is the highlight of his summer then so be it. Little amused the innocent. I am also looking forward to it as I don't drive.
It's really difficult to deal with additional school costs because already the uniform is so expensive. And anybody that says that just because your child is entitled free school meals, their school is free, it's not. So not only do you have stationery costs, et cetera, but the trips, the school trips in June were horrendous because over in Northern Ireland there were budget cuts. It meant that something that would have cost £3 cost £15. We're talking about a free trip to the museum, which is free. The museum is free to get into the Ulster Museum in Belfast. But the cost of the transportation was £10 which I thought was horrific because it's a bus and therefore I did not know what to do. But I have to do it because then my child would feel like he wasn't valuable or that he felt different or he didn't feel worthy enough to go on this trip. I just can't believe the astronomical cost. The schools used to be able to fund part fund. Then my daughter had an attendance trip, which is amazing. She's in secondary school, my son's in primary school, and again it was, oh, your child has won an award because they have an attendance trip. And yet it was so expensive. The bus was the same price as what my son's bus was, but they were like 3 hours away. My daughter and my son was only in the center of Belfast, about 15 minutes away, so I paid for that. And then they needed like, costs for getting on all the rides off the Fun Park. So these extra costs, of course, they're not compulsory, as in don't send your child in the trip, but then your child is the only one that's not going on trip. So then what do you do? So I'm not really coping well, to be honest, with the extra costs. And there's hidden costs everywhere. Like, my son can't eat certain foods and on those days I have to give him pack lunches.
Very sunny day in Northern Ireland. Lovely weather and no need to put the heating on to dry clothes as you can dry them outside. Today is a good day all round.
I am truly at the end of my tether. Sitting looking at all the cut backs coming our way here in N Ireland. Right now the adults are still paying the price for our history as we seen little investment in our education and opportunities, now we see our children's services get stripped to the bone. Seeing so many posts about how our children are being impacted and it feels selfish to say what about us? right now!! Why can we not show our children? Why can we not have opportunity now for us to give our children something better.
Education is already funded less per child here than anywhere else in the UK, yet it is being stripped again!! youth services, lolly pop crossings, mental health support, breakfast and afterschool services and the list goes on.
We are being used as scapegoats again!! because of the political instability. I am NOT a stick, I am a human person.
The budget cuts in (NI) will have a detrimental affect to my children. The education authorities budget was cut recently which meant they had to remove the funding for after schools, home work clubs and summer schemes this year. It’s coming into immediate effect next week. This leaves my son with no access to other children or events he wouldn’t normally avail off coming from a low income household. This will have a massive impact on his mental health and well being. Summer schemes were put in place in youth clubs to assist low income families. Children could get day trips which they normally wouldn’t get. It’s just so devastating. Instead the British government gave 3 million pounds to paramilitary support. The budget hasn’t been done appropriately and the children get again have been forgotten about as a result.
In Northern Ireland every household receives a payment of £600 to tackle the cost of living crisis. I am one of the few who hasn’t received theirs yet. It’s to do with what service provider you have. I’m with Budget and it appears that not all of us have received the voucher. I can’t find my electric card so I hope they accept a receipt with my number on it. It’s nerve wrecking as you’ve to bring some forms of ID and proof of address. I just wish it was paid straight into my bank account instead of worrying with the anxiety over it and there’s a time frame as to when you can cash the voucher in.
As a single mom, I really don't think I have any time to myself. I have a nine year old boy who's quite challenging behavior, and not a lot of people that I would trust either to mind him. And I have a nice 14 year old daughter at the minute. I've been pushed into a situation where I've been forced to homeschool, much to my dismay, because of my son's challenging behavior. There's a backlog in Northern Ireland of statutory assessments and children getting a statement. Unfortunately, without the support of the statement, the school are finding it really hard to get behavioral support. And as a result, then I'm homeschooling. Which means, to be honest, I have less time to myself. No, I'm just finding it really difficult as a single mommy, not just with the cost of living crisis. I'm paying extra gas and electric having the child in the house. Twenty four seven. And really, I don't put the heat on during the day, but I'm being forced into a position where I have to put it on. And now I'm feeling that I don't even get to breathe. This is the type of child where you go to the bathroom and they're talking to you while you're in the bathroom. It's literally like no privacy, no escape. And it can be really tough. I knew as a single mommy it was going to be tough, but at least during the school days and on Facebook, and there was loads of pictures of people cheering whenever the children went back to school. And it was all funny. And, you know, I wasn't in that position where I was cheering because I was still having my child in the house. So the answer is no. I do not get any time for myself. On the odd day, tomorrow, I'm looking forward for my daughter's 14th birthday, for my son to be minded. So I can actually go for a cuppa, but I think I might want to go to bed and sleep because I'm so exhausted.
So we still sit here still waiting for information on the energy support for those of us living in N Ireland and face a possible cold spell again in Jan and Feb. How much more can people take? We are led to feel like we should be "grateful" they are giving us £600 in cash! Like we should have been getting this from October the same as everyone else. Those on prepayment (which is usually the poorest and renters) have to wait whilst those who can afford to wait get theirs first and not only that, but those with holiday homes also get payments for empty homes before those in need. But, we are told the priority was getting this out.
My energy provider has decided to increase their rate now just as the energy is reduced, effectively increasing my tariff by 90%. The SOS has the power to make a difference to lives here in N Ireland but it appears he is choosing to not. He can so easily bring our energy into regulation, it's not even worth my while trying to switch as it is time consuming to switch provider and by the time we do switch their tariff could have went up. They can announce as often and as irregular as they choose.
People are getting tired of not being heard, treated third class, like this is what we deserve. N Ireland has years of trauma still undealt with, they don't need to be pushed to the bottom of the rung and made to beg.
The cost of living crisis will affect me so much at Christmas I'm having to rely on food banks again with this situation in Northern Ireland in particular. The gas is just through the roof. Unfortunately, my son, because he's on the spectrum, has actually been suspended from school. Now, it has been unlawful and I am trying to sort that out but the way that they went about it wasn't the right way. They had to consider socioeconomic and financial situation of the child as well as the mental health of the child and unfortunately none of these were considered. I've had to spend over £70 in gas in the two weeks that he's been off and there's still another week to go. It's really concerning me because I had no idea that this was happening. I did not budget for this to happen and now I am in a position where I was a little bit terrified there for Christmas, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel because I do have a lot of good people around me. The local food bank has agreed to help with food and then I have a friend who rallied around and tried to make Christmas a little bit more manageable. Although it did really depress me, everything that's happened. And I don't put the heat on normally during the day and I had to put it on and I don't even have my Christmas tree up. But now that I got word today that there are some people out there to help, then I feel a little bit better. But, I do feel like a failure as a parent because the cost of living crisis is crushing families. They just feel like they can't provide for their children. In actual reality, it's the government that's doing this to people, it's not the parent. We're just trying to get by and live and we can't. We're just existing, we're not living and that's that.
I’m very lucky that I have been able to save. I worked during lockdown so anything I had, I saved. Lucky that I’m able to heat my home at the moment. I went to count my savings during the week and realised I’ve spent more than half of them. Over £1000. I feel sick about this. Feel like I can’t wait until Christmas is over to start trying to save again. Heartbroken that the only time in my life where if my washing machine broke I could buy a new one and I’ve spent it. Not even the thoughts of seeing the joy on the kids faces is taking it away. We still haven’t had our payment in Northern Ireland for the electric and it’s not going to happen until January now, something I had been relying on. BUT I know I’m lucky and there is people out there far worse off than me.
We are nearing the end of November, 4 weeks until Christmas. I can't wait for it all to be over. I will be off for 2 weeks, I know my January wages are going to be very low and my December wage is already 1 week down from Halloween break.
We, in N Ireland, still don't know when or even if we will see the same energy support the rest of the UK is already getting - no matter how many times we have been told it's coming!
I am tired. So tired.
...I just need work that pays that pulls us out of poverty! Is that so hard to ask.