BANK BRI­TAIN

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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