For me as a working mum it’s dehumanising to have to survive off strangers’ kindness MOTHER-OF-TWO SOPHIA FORCED TO TURN TO BABY BANK
cots and 604 buggies. Many families are also bearing the brunt of the botched Universal Credit rollout.
They are forced to wait for payments as the Government moves them across to the new benefits system, leaving some without cash and vulnerable to spiralling debt.
“We’ve heard some pretty horrific stories about Universal Credit,” said Sophia. “The families we see are living right on the edge. For many, it can be a case of choosing between providing for their child and putting food on the table for themselves.” Jackie Appleton, unit supervisor at Leeds Baby Bank, agreed with Sophie about Universal Credit.
“We noticed a difference when it came in,” she said. “People have to wait longer for their money to come
through. At the end of the day it’s the families and children who are suffering.”
Mum Bianca, who is expecting a third child, was referred to Little Village baby bank by her maternity nurse at St George’s Hospital in southwest London. She said: “To have to go seek out services to provide for a child is so disheartening.
“I’ve learned to budget as best I can, and at the end of the month I am left with enough money to get me to and from work and to feed the children.
“I am one of the lucky ones. But my children have seen me crying and upset about bills and there have been times when they have been fed and I’ve just had a slice of toast.
“We pay taxes, we’re working and we’re meant to come together as a society to support one another. But clearly there’s not enough support where there needs to be, because 35,000 families are having to go and beg for help.” Sophia says employers must take some of the blame for the rise in baby banks for not matching wages to spiralling living costs.
“I think it’s right that we’re really scrutinising whether welfare systems like Universal Credit are going to support the people they’re supposed to be supporting,” she said. “But we need to be looking at fair wages.” ■■Born on the Breadline, Channel 4 Dispatches, airs tomorrow at 8pm
I’m shocked by the need we’ve uncovered. It’s a hidden crisis and we are a sticking plaster BABY BANK FOUNDER SOPHIA ON SOARING NUMBERS USING IT
Universal Credit has led to more poor users, says supervisor Jackie Little Village has given more than £1million of donated baby essentials to hard-up parents