Hi, I just wanted to share a lovely story about how it feels to be supported, and, what happens when you are given a break and the money to enjoy that break.
We have just returned from a week away at a friend's caravan in Wales.
The weather was mostly fantastic, that made such a difference! That, and the money my friend also gave us to go away with. It changed everything so noticeably that I had to share it here.
We set off after some really difficult days of unexpected expense, pet illness and an issue with my car that cost me more than it should have done. I really do struggle to work out why people overcharge for services. It seems where you don’t understand the workings of something there is always room for tradespeople to overcharge you after scaring you half to death about what will happen if you don’t pay them to fix it! Anyway, that’s another story!
Our break began with a very easy drive to the caravan and a day of torrential rain which almost led to us returning home. My son has additional needs which impact any transition if it is difficult or happy, so handling that first, we then managed to smooth things out and begin one of the best holidays we have ever had!
Not having to worry about money meant that we could do more or less what we wanted! That meant I wasn’t uptight and worried for the whole time, it was an astonishing difference! So much that my son even noticed it.
We walked on the beach daily, we went to the market, we bought the food we wanted, we laughed we hugged and we snuggled down watching tv and spending unfettered time together.
He played out with friends and was an unworried child for the week.
We are so so lucky to have the friends we do, without whom we really would be totally isolated. Not having supportive family has been exhausting and led to some very low times.
I can’t say that everything is fixed because of the break, but I can say that my son and my relationship was given space and it was so fulfilling. I feel rested, positive and as though I can face life with less stress for a bit.
I’m grateful, on every level, and especially uplifted because my boy and I got to experience what life is like when you don’t have to worry about money all of the time. It was beautiful and it made me realise just how impactful it is living hand to mouth with a child.
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!
On Wednesday my brother is getting married, unfortunately I am not able to go due the cost of traveling, smart clothes and other expenses. Last night as I sat thinking about this I found myself writing my thoughts. So below I share this writing which is something I rarely talk about. But please enjoy.
I sit here in near darkness,
In the comfortof my home,
But standing in the room, dressed in high victorian clothes,
Standing, chatting, drinking,
are people I don't know,
I try to be respectful,
In the corner where I sit,
with the ticking of my clocks disstracting me a bit,
Then I catch my thoughts a bit,
I'm really here alone,
My mind plays odd tricks on me,
It has done all my life,
That's why I sit here all alone,
No friends, no company, no wife.
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.
Honestly, a little worried and stressed.
My family are now at the point where we don’t get free school meals however we don’t earn enough to cover everything and more.
There are a lot of things for children who receive free school meals to do- clubs that are free or at a small cost.
However they don’t provide for others or if they do it costs a lot more.
I’ve resulted in putting all 3 of my children into nursery for a small amount of time each week as I get 85% back on the bill next month and been paying for it before school holidays anyway. At least they get a chance to play with others and do fun activities.
I wish I could do more for them and as my partner is working and I don’t drive I’m limited to what I can do as travelling with a double pushchair is extremely difficult.
Low income = financial insecurity
Cost of living = food insecurity
Interest rates rising = Home insecurity.
Increase in fuel costs= Further insecurity, cold winters, less travel in my car, less cooked meals .
All this creates serious anxiety for me when I begin to plan for my future.
We have the right to plan for our future, but when you are desperately trying to keep your head above the water on a daily basis its very hard to think ahead.
I tend to just stick to doing stuff that my local community centre's are running because often the activities that they run are part funded by the Government.
We never travel anywhere outside of the country during the holidays because sadly I just can't afford it.
You don't cope with the extra costs of school. I end up having to either put school costs on a credit card or pretend it is sick that day just because if a trip's 25 pound and I haven't got it, he's going to have to be sick that day. So I don't cope with the extra school costs at all.
Our local town is in a political battle of blame over buses. Our town has one bus provider, Arriva, and they're saying they'll cut buses to essential places (including no longer servicing the bus stop by the mental health hospital) by early July cos local council won't give them enough in subsidies (shockingly it's mostly the routes that service the elderly and disabled that are getting cuts, the ones full of concessionary bus fares). Local council has gone public saying the bus service is using cutting routes to hold council to ransom with most vunerable users cos they want more money that every other bus service in the outta area has happily accepted. While they fit for tad on who's the blame and will council pay more or will arrica cut these essential services. And I'm sitting here, trying to figure out how I'm meant to get to therapy without the bus, taxis are £10.50 one way to mental health hospital, I can't afford a two way trip once a week. Let alone all the other groups and services I attend to help manage my mental and physical health.
I applied for a concessionary bus pass, in April, still not heard from them.
It seems like such a small problem to most, but it isn't to those of who trapped and restricted by these service cuts left right an center.
I hope either arriva back down and keep the services, or council pays then to keep it. I'll be angry at arriva for the latter, council tax is already so high as it is and it's not like we have any other choice there are no other bus services except arriva in out town.
Oh but don't forget while all this goes one people get blamed for using their cars and clogging up the roads, gov and drs and who knows who else say "use the bus, ditch the car, save the planet" and that's pointless with no buses to use, or when those buses can use the vunerablity of elderly and disabled service users to bully the council into paying them more. If they do get paid more they'd still up their costs and not pay their drivers enough. Greedy fits.
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.
For people who rely on benefits, a change of circumstances can be anxiety inducing.
The only positive change in my case, was when I started working.
Instead I only had to worry about upfront childcare costs and the cost of travel to and from work. At least now, the costs of childcare will be paid upfront.
Changes in other circumstances and notifying the DWP is the cause of anguish. Your account is often on hold until an appointment for paperwork checking is completed. When there is a rent increase, but no actual increase to your award because of no increase to the local housing allowance, then the account is still put on hold until further documentation is submitted.
Just reading through other participants public posts and find it totally frustrating to think about the needless suffering of good honest hardworking people living in a wealthy country.
I can relate to so much of what has been said by other people however what sprung to mind was my disappointment discovering further removal of services to lower income claimants.
It feels as though disabled and low income patients are being left to rot. Fancy having to choose between whether you can afford the cost of travel to a medical appointment or not bother attending?
Patient Transport Services was a significant help to me, until more recently. My appointments were miles away I couldn't have made it there on public transport nor was there anyone able to ferry me to and from appointments.
Patient Transport Services provided me access to attend a specialist hospital for treatment on a regular basis over several years. Without which my mental and physical health would have deteriorated significantly.
Even this has seen the criteria for eligibility change and I am not longer classed as eligible.
Cuts backs are pushing people into a pit of despair.
Just more of the despicable reduction in benefits or services most people used to rely on.