The Cost of Living Crisis is having a devastating impact on real people’s lives across our District. The reality of the situation needs to be seen by those who have the power to make change.

Every single one of these stories has been sent to us by a Lancaster District resident, or a local support organisation working on their behalf.

Add your story to our library by clicking here.

Our team are administering the Lancaster District Hardship Fund. From an adviser this week: “People have massively cut back and have done what they can, they are cancelling Netflix, going to Aldi, showers instead of baths, walking instead of the bus, no pocket money for the kids – they are cutting back on everything – to have food and heat in the house. Even then, some people can’t make ends meet so they come to us. It’s going to get so much worse this Winter and our team are really worried about what will happen when it gets cold.”

September 2022

Our client is a female in middle age with a 20 year old son. She lost her job at a local supermarket and couldn’t afford to pay her rent. She has now been made homeless and is living in a B&B with her son, and has only a kettle and microwave to cook food.

September 2022
Morecambe resident

We helped a parent who had been made homeless this week – she was living in a hotel room with 3 children under 4 and with only a kettle to heat food.

September 2022
Lancaster resident
Single mother

I live on my own and I’ve been able to pay all my bills with just my salary for years, but now with all the costs going up I just don’t know if I’ll keep being able to do that and it’s terrifying. I’m scared to spend any money at all. I haven’t seen my friends for weeks, I’ve got a half-wallpapered wall in the house that every time I walk past it I just get so frustrated that I can’t justify buying another roll of paper to finish it off. All because I don’t know how high my energy bills are going to be by the end of winter.
It’s nothing big. And I feel so ashamed to be complaining about it when I’m not struggling nearly as much as other people. But I’ve always been okay, I’m just so scared all the time and I don’t know what to do.

September 2022
Marsh resident
Female, age 25
Single-person household

A client called us in January. The family income is £1200 per month and rent is £600 per month. The client was calling because her electricity bill in January was £612.
The client is disabled and unable to work and was in despair about what to do. There were small children in the house.

September 2022

A client came to see us and disclosed that they had recently attempted suicide because their PIP application was turned down and they couldn’t survive on Universal Credit.
Universal Credit rates being paid at present do not represent the rate of inflation. People can’t afford the basics and are struggling to afford heat, shelter, light, food and hygiene – which are the things someone needs in order to avoid destitution. We frequently see clients in this position.

September 2022

A client we spoke with this morning cannot afford many costs due to decreased income when on maternity leave. She has five young children.
The impact of her low income is that she cannot afford costs for her children including school uniforms and meals during the summer holidays. The client is in debt and cannot continue with her IVA due to previous debts. Her children are sleeping on mattresses without bed frames as the client cannot afford to replace them.
The client is affected by the two child limit rule.

August 2022

An older couple had no money for food once bills were paid for – one is working and the other is not eligible for benefits as a result but they still don’t have enough to make ends meet.

September 2022
Morecambe residents

An 84 year old pensioner called us in tears because she had no money for food and didn’t know what to do. This is because her bills have gone up sharply and she can’t make ends meet.

September 2022
Lancaster resident
Female, Age 84
Single-person household

A working couple have been coming to us because once their rent and bills are paid, they run out of money for food by the end of the month.

September 2022
Morecambe residents

A pensioner called us in tears about rising bills. They were faced with paying over 50% of their pension income on energy costs and were unsure how they would cope this Winter. They were unwell and it was important for them to stay warm.

September 2022

I can’t afford enough food, school uniform, transport to health appointments, essential items like bed frames, TV, credit.
Food banks aren’t much help as my SEN son won’t eat most of the food they provide. He is a very fussy eater due to his sensory issues, and usually only eats fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. However, the food banks have kept us going in the most desperate of circumstances, even just the bread, pasta, pasta sauce and milk.
That being said it’s embarrassing and time consuming ringing the council every week to ask them to please put us forward for another food parcel and explaining our circumstances over and over again. Losing self-respect and self-worth.
My son’s aid broke and I couldn’t afford to fix it which left him distressed for months. We moved house after being evicted which got us in debt with family and friends and has now put a strain on my relationship with them and left me with mental health issues on top of my physical health issues to deal with. My son’s school is failing my son (and a lot of other children) due to lack of funding. I’ve just made a complaint for discrimination and failure in duty of care. I can’t get doctor, hospital or dental appointments quick enough. I’ve been looking at private for an MRI. Instead of saving for little trips away like I used to I now dream of having enough income to save up enough for a private physical health care and mental health therapy instead so I stop getting sicker and sicker before it’s too late.
People are starting to say the emergency services in our area are rubbish and never there anymore. I’m already worried about winter, I’ve been hoping I can maybe afford a chimney sweep if my pip assessment I’ve been waiting for for 5 months is finally accepted, then I can get free fuel from the woods and will be able to stay warm as last year was unbearable when I had no heating for months during winter. I could then also cut the supply off so I don’t pay a standing charge hopefully too. I can’t afford to drive, but if I could I wouldn’t be able to afford running costs anymore and not only that I now can’t even afford public transport either. For someone agoraphobic it makes life feel impossible.
I’m worried the future of this country in general. I have no hope for the future. I’m in debt with my gas and electric and water companies, I owe universal credit money, and the council. I feel like I’m not even living, what is the point in this struggle for nothing? There are no fun days out. I don’t even have energy to pop to a friend’s for a quick cup of tea, and my son doesn’t want to go out anymore at all since lockdown. Even if my finances improved, there is no actual physical support anymore and we have lost our identities & social skills in the pandemic, along with our mental and physical health.

August 2022
Lancaster District Resident
Female, age 30
Receiving income support

In August, our Food Support Network* was accessed over 4,123 times.

In September, the Network was accessed over 3,301 times.

*This number was reached by combining information from The Olive Branch, Morecambe Bay Foodbank, Eggcup, and the 10 local Food Clubs in our Buying Co-Operative. We thank these organisations for their contributions.

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