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Real Stories

“The foodbank was a lifesaver.” Your support is helping us to change lives.

 

young family at foodbank entrance


My wife and I have 4 daughters, from 5 years – 16 years. I have run my own business for most of my life. My wife was my P.A. and has helped me. I had a massive stoke and have not been able to work, therefore lost everything. Windsor Council have kindly given me a flat to rent. I recently went to my landlord who assisted me with claiming child benefit, they recommended me to the foodbank (Langley Community Centre) where I found everyone to be absolutely lovely and selfless, they have helped in more ways than I can mention . In so few words!

Please explain how you felt when you came to Slough Foodbank? A little nervous and embarrassed.

How were you greeted and helped when you first came in? From the minute I arrived I was made to feel completely welcome. Had a great feeling and experience.

Did you talk to a foodbank volunteer and get any practical support?  Yes. Anne prayed for me, I found everyone there to be extremely selfless and kind.

Is there anything we could more, or better, for you? Not in my opinion

Client story: “This month my wages were low due to a cut in my hours. I was hit with a bill I wasn’t expecting which left me with virtually no money and no food. I was told about Slough Foodbank by my social worker. ” KT Glad to have been able to help.

 

10th Feb 2016

Due to changing from JSA to ESA there was a delay in payments so I’ve been left without food.

How has the Foodbank helped: Supplying me with food/drink/toiletries it now means I don’t have to stress out about no food, and can wait till I next get paid.

 

11th Feb 2016

I was recently released from prison and my sentence was not long enough for me to get support for housing. So I am currently homeless and will have to make it on my own now. I have appointment with P3 Housing.

How has the Foodbank helped: Foodbank made me feel better and confident the way I was treated. Very happy with the service.

 

21st Feb 2016

Being  Placed in Slough 36 Miles away from my ???? Family support by Hillingdon Council. Slough Foodbank has provided much needed support, as I have to travel to London 3 days a week. And travel costs, then because we don’t have cooking facilities we have to eat out a lot.

 

24th Feb 2016

I look after my poorly father and look after my three daughters. I was working but had to leave due to my youngest being referred to courts from our family doctor. So I am constantly looking after my ill father and my youngest who self-harms. She needs my constant care and attention. I am a single mum of three daughters.

How has the Foodbank helped: I feel it has taken a big weight off me means one less thing to worry about. I am very grateful. Thank you.

 

24th Feb 2016

We were homeless due to being threatened with violence. We came to Slough with just the clothes we had. We had nothing, no roof over our heads, no money, no food, the Slough Citizens advise gave me a voucher for the foodbank. The volunteers at St Andrews foodbank were the friendliest people I have met since coming to Slough.

How has the Foodbank helped: The foodbank is needed so much, I could not of survived without them.

25th Feb 2016

I was renting privately for 7-8 years when my landlord died and the property was sold leaving me homeless. This was 2 years ago I have the money for deposit and one month rent to get started but cannot find a landlord now due to L.B.C. [London Borough Councils] paying more.

Foodbank has helped me out no ends of terms as I need to buy more expensive foods being homeless. I do have some where to cook food 3 days a week.

 

17th March 2016

My partner moved in with me & my children a couple of weeks ago & we have had to inform all the relevant people. This has resulted in our weekly benefits being postponed & although we both work, has left us in a desperate situation as we are only on a low wage.

How has the Foodbank helped: We have received a large amount & varied range of foods & other hopeful producrs. Very pleased with what we have been given.

 

31st  March 2016

Due to my W.T.C. [Working Tax Credits] been stopped I was relying solely on my wages, and as I work part time it was hard to manage. My benefits were stopped because I no longer get the disability part of my W.T.C. So I have to work full time to get it.

The foodbank has helped me because without them I would be hungry. I thank God and wonder where he wants me to go.

 

21st April 2016

Back injury which has led to numerous hospital, doctors and physio trips which I have to use taxi service as I can’t walk far or use public transport as it aggravates my back. Most of our living funds go towards travel as I have no help from no one.

Foodbank has helped with food until next benefit payment in 6 days.

 

21st April 2016

I have been in hospital for 2 weeks. When I got home my benefits had been stopped. DWP said they didn’t receive sick certificate plus medical notes. PIP was fraudulently taken from Post Office account on two occasions.

How has the Foodbank helped: A complete lifeline as I had no food or money. Fuel voucher also given

17th May 2016

Landlord prosecuted by SBC because house condemned got eviction notice, I was in hospital at the time or eviction, have lost everything was left in the clothes I was stood in. Now in tempory  accommodation (2 bed).

Foodbank has helped me feed my family and put a smile on my face and lovely helpful people and a cup of tea.

 

11th August 2016

I became |homeless because of an Ex-partner, I have not been given support. Because I am homeless I come to food-bank just to speak to someone and some support.

How has the Foodbank helped: They have given me loads of support and advice.

 

11th August 2016

Got made redundant by our agency so was left with no work started a joint benefit claim just waiting to get paid and still waiting on wages which they’re mucking us around with.

The foodbank has been very helpful if it wasn’t for them we would be very unstuck and would have to commit crime just to feed ourselves + children.

 

10th September 2016

When employment ceased I applied for U/C [Universal Credit] 6 weeks and still awaiting information. Lots of mis-informed staff at DWP. DWP and U/C are two different departments where left hand does not know what right hands doing so to speak! Lack of communication and single, unemployed adults are suffering.

How has the Foodbank helped: Provided food, support, information of local charities and help with gas and electricity with fuel voucher.

 

 

12th September 2016

Medical reasons caused me not to attend a medical in Reading and because of this all my benefits stopped. Now saying all money will be backdated once I’ve had the medical which I’m being made to wait ages for with no income at all and also stopped my rent being paid.

How has the Foodbank helped: A great deal as I was denied any money at all from the benefit people so my only alternative would of been to shoplift without the help of the food bank people.

 

07th November 2017

Ex partner – physical and emotional abused me for 8 years. I have left and am temporary at a disabled friend of mine, he doesn’t know. Foodbank: I have got my benefit yet and my friend is on DLA and cannot support food or money for me – just a roof over my head.

 

09th November 2017

Mum died when I was 14 from alcohol abuse. My brother took custody so I wouldn’t go into care. At 18 I was an alcoholic and went to prison for GBH. I received 6 years. However my brother took his own life last year 2016. Due to circumstances I’ve lost all/any local connection and am homeless. This is why I was released to a probation hostel.

Foodbank: I was released on 23rd October 2017 and still haven’t received any benefit as of yet. I have no food so the foodbanks been a true life saver. Thank you.

 

3 weeks ago M came to foodbank he had been living rough and had his tent, clothes and medicines stolen. Shelter gave him a voucher – he said he was suicidal.

M came in again today with a broad grin. Shelter had found him a room, he has been living there whilst looking for a job and waiting for permanent accommodation. His landlady is partially disabled, so M helps her around the house.

Slough Council is getting ready a studio flat for him, hopefully he will be able to move in before Christmas. His landlady doesn’t want him to go, but M told her he will come at weekends to help her.

Even better news – M has a job interview on Monday. Told him we will be offering prayer and lighting candles.

 

Cecilia’s Story

When I first heard about the Foodbank at Slough I immediately conjured up images of homeless men and women queuing up for some sustenance until their next meal, if at all. I had always worked, and as a lone parent I did struggle to raise my child, but always had enough money for food and bills despite hard times, it was the main priority after paying my mortgage. That all changed when in 2012 I became ill and had to go into hospital for a few days. When I left the hospital, I was told to rest and not work until the Doctor ordered. Sadly, due to employer error I did not receive any salary or even sickness benefit for at least 6 weeks. I found myself struggling to get by and what items of food I had, soon dried up. Within weeks I had mounting debts and fell behind with my mortgage and I started to panic. The mortgage company and utility companies were at fists sympathetic but soon changed their mind and I began to get debt recovery letters, and eventually had my first Court Judgment. A friend told me about the Slough Foodbank and she took me to my local church in Langley, where the people were warm and friendly. The vicar knew me from my childhood and soon put my mind at rest. Within hours I was in a queue waiting to be seen in at the Slough Foodbank. I was initially afraid, and a little embarrassed as I felt as if I was undeserving and blamed myself for being ill and not having the strength to survive in a hard time, albeit a temporary situation, but it did not feel like it would never end, at the time. When I arrived at the Foodbank the lady who greeted me was extremely warm and empathic, and I sensed she would be good to me and did not pre judge or look down on me. Her name was Sue, and I knew I would never forget her. She went through the situation with me slowly and soon put my mind at ease. I showed her all my mounting bills and the letter from my Doctor and other paperwork I had brought along. When I was talking to her I thought about how my father would have viewed this and what will my friends and family say. I knew my father would be proud of me that I sought help for my child, but was not sure how I would be viewed by others, and felt like a complete failure. I was not sure who would be there, but admit, that the people in the queue surprised me, as they were mainly families and people with children. Some of them were new immigrants who had fallen on hard times, and others were working families on a low income and few homeless people who were in temporary accommodation, just trying to get by. They were all in dire need, and I watched as the Foodbank staff gave out food, and even advice, asking people about what type of foods, they require, even handing out well needed toiletries such as soap power, washing up liquid and toiletry rolls, toothpaste etc. It has always been present in my mind that this situation could happen to anyone in any situation and I was conscious about how life can change for anyone in an instant. Since that temporary time in my life I have come back and started my own business, running an educational workshop in schools and other educational institutions, and have been lucky to travel home and abroad. I have written a book of poetry and have been privileged to have shared my work online to many countries, thanks to the magic of the Internet. I will never forget my Food bank experience. I have always thought of myself as a giving person and someone with empathy for people, and this experience has made me even more so. I never take anyone or any situation for granted.

smiling man - foodbank client

 

Richard’s Story

“Without the foodbank, I don’t think I would be here today.”

Having worked in the police force for six years, followed by 12-years in the Royal Military Police, Richard, 49, from New Milton, had always considered himself fit and healthy. However, this all changed when a chest infection quickly developed into a heart condition and he suffered from two major strokes followed by 19 mini strokes, leaving him unable to work.

Richard’s situation deteriorated further when he separated from his wife and moved out of their family home, where, unfortunately due to this change of address his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was delayed. As a result of his serious heart condition Richard needs 35 tablets a day, but the cost of travelling to collect his prescriptions left him without enough money for food, and his local Citizens Advice Bureau referred him to the foodbank.

Although Richard admits he never expected to be in this situation, on arrival he was put at ease straight away. “The volunteers were fantastic, offering a chat and a shoulder to cry on. I suffer from depression as well and without the foodbank I don’t think I would be here today,” he said.

Richard looks forward to seeing his 10-year-old daughter every weekend but admits he has skipped meals on a few occasions so she can eat. He explains: “It’s a really bad situation that people have to decide whether they can feed themselves, feed their children or put the heating on. It’s a case of having to budget or having to go without.”

At the moment things are still tough for Richard, he’s on the waiting list for a heart transplant and will be on medication for the rest of his life, but he’s grateful that the foodbank is available if he ever needs some extra help.

 

Sarah’s Story

sarah-768x493

“We didn’t know where our next meal was going to come from and we were really struggling.”

When Sarah’s partner recently moved in with her it should have been a happy time for them, but informing the council of this change to their circumstances resulted in a delay to their benefits, leaving them in a desperate situation.

“We are both on a low wage and we were left without any benefits for nearly two months. We found it really difficult,” explains the 35-year-old, mother-of-two.

Sarah admits that a big issue was juggling money for gas and electric, as well as for food. It was whilst they were at their local housing association discussing their struggles to pay their rent due to this benefits postponement that they were referred to their local foodbank.

“As a parent, to not know if you’re going to be able to feed your children is shameful and degrading,” she explains. “Always knowing the foodbank is there puts your mind at rest a bit; knowing you can go there and get support is brilliant.”

The family were glad that the foodbank was there to support them during this difficult time. Although she had no control of the situation, Sarah felt as if she was letting her family down: “It was very worrying. It’s scary as a parent as you don’t feel as if you’re doing your job properly. Obviously you want to be able to support your children in every way and that’s not possible when things like this happen.”

And her six-year-old daughter, Frankie is aware that hunger in the UK is an issue: “Every night I pray for poor people to have food because I care about them.”

Sarah certainly didn’t expect a simple change in circumstances to have such a big effect on her life. “Living together as a couple and both working, I never thought would be so difficult,” she admits. “I thought it would make our lives easier and we would be better off, but we ended up really not in a good situation at all.”

But despite their struggle so far, Sarah is holding out hope for a brighter future: “We’re worse off financially but obviously we’re better off emotionally and as a family we’re a lot happier.”

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