‘How can kids function properly at school when they are hungry?’
MOTHER-OF-FOUR Gillian McCormick says there are times when the challenges her family face hit her so hard that she can’t help but break down and sob.
“I spent the whole of yesterday in tears, it was horrific,” she admits.
“My daughter is going through tests for autism. My son, Mikey, has Down’s Syndrome, he’s in a wheelchair and can’t talk. It’s the most exhausting thing you can imagine.
“They said ‘You can’t earn £100 a week and keep your Carer’s Allowance’, so they took it away. It was money that helped, now it’s gone.”
Gillian, 32, who lives in Whiteinch, manages meals and other expenses using the £80 budget the family has left once the main bills have been paid. It’s brutal, she says, but she knows there are others worse off among the 100 people who visit the Glasgow South East Foodbank where she volunteers and where husband Ryan, also 32, works full-time.
At home she feels the pressure that comes with trying to clothe and equip Hannah, 15, Mikey 14, Grace, 10, and six-year-old Bruce for school.
“There are so many expenses that add up,” she says. “Things like home economics classes, which parents now have to pay for.
“Every last Friday of the month it’s ‘dressdown’ day. The kids take £1 each for charity, which starts to add up when you have a couple of kids.”
Gillian finds about £12 a week to cover outings for Mikey at school and with a support charity, and is trying to help Hannah achieve her Duke of Edinburgh badge goals, including buying waterproof jackets, camping gear and boots.
“You don’t want them to miss out on things,” she adds. “That just leads to children feeling isolated and left out. How can they concentrate in class when they’re worrying about what the other pupils are saying? Bullying over poverty is widespread in schools.
“Kids know when things at home aren’t quite right. They’ll notice if mum’s maybe not eating very much or dad’s trainers have holes in them.
“And how on earth can kids function properly at school when they are hungry?”
Gillian McCormick manages meals and other expenses using the £80 budget the family has left once the main bills have been paid. She also has to find money for her children’s home economics classes, school outings and charity dress-down days