Yesterday, I spent another couple of hours at Oldham foodbank for more interviews with people who needed food parcels.
Here’s one of those interviews.
I spoke for a short time with a young woman.
She’d been abused by her partner, had left him and had been living in a refuge since July. Her kids were in care, I think (she was emotional and had struggled to speak at points). She said she was waiting to find out from the courts whether or not she’d “get my kids back.”
She had a Universal Credit claim, but hadn’t received any money since October. There was a problem, because she’d moved addresses to get away from the violent partner:
“I haven’t been paid for two months, because of a mixup in address – something to do with the address and all that… I suffered a domestic violence relationship, so I went into refuge.
[I am] trying to fight for my children in court. Don’t know if I’m going to bring the children back with me or not. All depends on whether I’m entitled to a three [unclear] or a one bedroom property.
That relationship. I lost everything.”
The foodbank volunteer asked her if she needed tampax. She said yes, so the volunteer made up a bag of sanitary items for her.
This woman’s mother was with her. She’d come along to do what she could. She was obviously concerned.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, because it becomes truer by the hour – we don’t have a safety net now. Social security hasn’t been reformed. It has been reduced to this rubble. People who need help most – help to stay alive, if you will – can’t access it. I meet more and more people whose circumstances should put them at the head of any queue. As things stand, they’re not in the queue at all. This is criminal.
I gave the woman and her mother my number. Maybe they’ll call.
Excerpts from the interview transcript:
“I’m ashamed of coming here, I don’t know why, but I’m ashamed… food, because I can’t afford to feed myself. Can’t afford to live let alone feed myself.
Haven’t had any money since October …Universal Credit. Can’t afford to go anywhere… if it involves money, I can’t do it
The foodbank volunteer came over with bags. “Not got any tampax in there… do you want…?”
“Yes, tampax please…”
“Haven’t been paid for two months, because of a mix up in address. Something to do with the address and all that, because the refuge I’m staying at. I suffered a domestic violence relationship, so I went into refuge…
Trying to fight for my children in court. Don’t know if I’m going to bring the children back with me or not… all depends on whether I’m entitled to a three [unclear] or a one bedroom property. That relationship… I lost everything.
Trying to fight for my kids… been in refuge since July… ex-partner isn’t the father. He’d hurt me by using the children and hurting me physically and emotionally. I was on Universal Credit with my ex and then I went onto a single claim, from where I lived… and now have made it into my own combination.
I don’t know my future until I get the result of what is happening with the children… haven’t got a clue, had no money for a month.”