When Gemma’s relationship broke apart and she had to raise two young boys on unemployment benefits she found herself struggling to make ends meet. As Gemma tried to provide for her family she felt that her only option was to resort to high interest payday loans, which soon spiralled out of control.
Here Gemma tells her story:
"I didn’t have much to spend on food after I’d paid my bills. I’d borrow money and get myself into more debt, and then when I’d get paid my benefits the week after that, I’d be left with nothing again because I had to pay my debts off.
The kids would be coming home from school and they’d be looking in the fridge and they’d be like ‘You’ve never got nothing in Mum’. It was horrible – I sat there and cried most days.”
Things soon reached crisis point and Gemma realised she didn’t have enough money to feed her boys. In desperation Gemma reached out to her son’s teacher. The school then referred her on to the local foodbank, supported by Church Urban Fund, who gave her enough food to keep the family going.
Gradually, Gemma got to know Jane, a foodbank volunteer living nearby. Jane invited Gemma and her sons to the new breakfast club at the local church, and began helping Gemma to develop her CV and help her to look for part-time work to help lift the family out of poverty.
Author: Lynsey Robinson
Date: 29 October 2015
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