Providing a better life - against the odds
“It's hard, difficult, stressful. I've had many pulled out hair moments. But I really want to show Evie that you have to work and have good values and I want to provide for her.”
We wanted to share the story of how one single mum is working in every way she can to provide a better life for her daughter - and how poverty makes this more difficult at every turn.
We first met Evie (3) and her mum Claire* when the family finances had become overwhelming. Our support worker Connie was immediately struck by the warmth and love between them. Claire was doing everything she could to protect her daughter from the stress of potentially losing their home, but even Evie was affected when her wellies and clothes didn’t fit.
Despite many obstacles, it was obvious that Evie remained the centre of Claire's world, spurring her on to pursue her ambition to train to be a nurse - even as she struggled with dyslexia and demands for payment.
“She could have given up so many times but she's so proud, tough and determined. She doesn't want handouts. She asked if she could donate back baby clothes to Children 1st or another charity - even though she could have sold them on for some much needed money”, Connie says.
Claire's really careful with money, ensuring all the basics are paid. But that means there's nothing left at the end of the week to help her realise her ambitions – like internet access to complete her course. Against the odds, Claire has passed all her assessments using the local library and is waiting to hear about a university place.
Currently 80% of the families we work with struggle with the effects of poverty. Over the last 25 years the face of poverty has changed. We know from recent research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that 73% of families in poverty have at least one person in employment - working to try to make ends meet.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.