Great news for me. After years of failed applications, I have finally been awarded the basic rate of PIP. After being offered help to work through the form and seek medical evidence it turns out that I had not understood the forms correctly and been completing them wrong. I don't think this extra help is going to directly ease any problems I am facing in my personal life, but it will mean that I can let my daughter use the heating occasionally during the winter months, also enabling me to provide for her in a reasonable way during her final year of A levels. I will now be able to buy some fresher and healthier food to feed her and some suitable warm clothes for the coming winter months. My daughter has always been understanding about how difficult it is being part of a single parent family, but now I feel I may be able to make her life slightly easier.
I feel grateful throughout all of this time, because no matter what, no matter how bad things get, we survive. That's a hugely important message I want my son to take away from his childhood. You can get through anything and at some point, things will level out and we will be ok.
The roof needs repairing, and the roofer has said that I can pay him in instalments! How amazing is that?!
I am slowly changing my mindset because I realise the impact that poverty has had on me is to make the previously happy and hopeful person I was, into a very depressed person, the cup has definitely been half empty. But I want to change that for myself and for my son.
I am a survivor of adversity, of trauma, and that is an amazing thing I think. I am one of the lucky ones.
It isn't easy to change your mindset when things are difficult and when maybe you didn't have the best start in life either, but I am trying because I want a better life for myself and for my son and despite the challenges we face, there is so much to be thankful for.
I am currently in intensive therapy and slowly, the lady I am working with is helping me to develop a toolkit of coping strategies. I'd like to share these with my son in a positive way and help him to see that his own reality can be better. No matter how tough things get, we are here and we are survivors.
I appreciate the Covid Realities and subsequent Changing Realities projects and the teams and partners, very much. The experience of being involved in these has been so uplifting and there are so many reasons to never give up. I have become an activist, I have become a person who sees the truth behind so many things, that's priceless. The projects have expanded me as a person and made me better in many ways. How lucky I am to have experienced this.
I do feel sad that the projects will be coming to an end, but I will be forever grateful to have taken part.
How am I feeling about the new school year?
Our daughter is starting 6th form at her school in September. I am excited for her and she is very much looking forward to it. There are additional costs involved of course but our local council has extended the free school meals entitlement and when we get confirmation that will be one less financial worry. Most of the new uniform required has been covered by a uniform grant from the school which helps massively as 1 badged skirt and 1 school blazer = £89.50! We have also applied for a free bus pass for her which she can use at any time not just journeys to school. This is the most financial assistance we have ever received and it has made the summer holidays noticeably less stressful for me, for which I am very grateful. With a winter coat and shoes that still fit her, I feel I have 'got off lightly' this year.
The benefit system is always screwing folk over, like we've not got enough to worry about as it is. I'm getting nearly £40 deducted for rent arrears in the place I literally just moved in to, the notification of deduction came from current landlord, according to UC - bear in mind I've no letters of rent arrears from anyone, current or past landlord, and when pressed UC said it's from current landlord and they said that they were told that current landlord had discussed it with me. Which is BS.
So I'm working with a local charity who've been helping with moving during such a high stress time in my family's life, so they're trying to sort it. They rang my landlord who said they've no record of rent arrears or anything on my account cos I've just moved in. UC won't listen. It's too much for me to think about right now so I'm leaving it to my housing support worker but it's not easy losing £40, when you're on benefits that's a huge amount. It's just one effnup after another with benefits.
Spending time with family over summer holidays – not having to rush about.
As the cost of living soars, I am wondering what I can do to help myself and others caught in this web.
Summer holidays are here. I am trying to look forward to spending time with my children. Its an opportunity to get the children involved in helping in community projects and taking part in events.
This allows them to experience a unity at a time of difficulty for all.
We will be visiting our community kitchen, donating more to food banks as well as shopping in food banks and also having days of cutting back on treats after school.
Hearing everyone's stories, the support has been a lifeline! We need this support for people and campaigns to make life better, FSM for all primary children across UK would be a great start, but universal basic income will also help and decent pay rises which value public sector and key workers who help others for a living.
So today I received a top up from the local council of money per child to help over the summer holidays. I was panicking that I wouldn't be able to feed them so sometimes being on universal credit does allow you access to other support that is a life saver x today I'm feeling grateful
One of the often overlooked aspect of poverty, relative to the UK I mean as that's my area of experience, is the home. Council houses are great for not being on the street, and safer by far than private renting, but so hard to get into. I've moved home, the floors cos over £600 quid and that is an absolute steal! And I'm lucky. I took out a loan to pay for them and other furniture items cos my council consider a fridge freezer, washer, sofa, bed and either wardrobe or drawers, essential, the rest of the stuff needed is up to me.
I'm also super lucky that I had a housing support worker from a local charity who could advocate for me and make sure I got the washer which wasn't guaranteed as new home is within walking distance, for a person without mobility issues, of a laundrette. She fought for me and I got granted a washer. She also sorted new bills out for me and saved me the stress that is dealing with energy providers while stressed by moving. She got that sorted and set up for me, as well and updating my benefits and council tax. I've had more support from her in one week than I got for two years with the last supposed support service I had access too. It's a joke.
I rely heavily on support from the school, and extra funded clubs.
It’s been difficult this year more than others due to my daughter finishing primary and entering secondary school after the summer: the added expense for prom, leavers disco etc has had me awake at night crying wondering how to make ends meet without her feeling like the odd one out and left out of doing x, y & z with the rest of her classmates & friends.
I think I'd be very lucky with school. My daughter, my youngest daughter, is the only one left at school now. The other two have gone off to university and my youngest, H, she goes to a special needs school. And we're very lucky that most of the trips, if they do go anywhere, are fully funded, so we don't have extra the costs as such. So we're very lucky there. But not all parents are in that boat. But there is a discretionary bursary that school can use if people are on a low income, which I have used before, where they will subsidise either all or part of the school trip, which I have done years ago. It's just got to fully apply sometimes and ask for the assistance.