How we transformed food poverty into food dignity

Becky (not her real name) was anxious, hungry and desperate when she turned up at the Gathering Place to ask for a food parcel.

The Happy Days team could see that she was in crisis and quickly built a rapport with her. Becky opened up enough to share some of the huge problems that were weighing heavily on her. She hadn’t paid her rent for 6 months and was terrified she would be evicted any moment. She was also battling a chronic health condition.

We told her that she would be able to apply for council tax reduction or housing benefit but we realised she would need help to complete the forms. She didn’t have a mobile phone or email account, which excluded her from digital support options, and lacked capacity to fill in the paperwork.

Our cost of living support worker set her up with an email account and applied for universal credit, housing benefit and council tax reduction on her behalf. Then she contacted Becky’s landlord to let him know the claims were in progress, to reduce the likelihood of eviction.

Intensive support like this means we can help people live independent lives. Becky is now a member of our Community Supermarket and has the choices and dignity we all deserve, with access to the food she wants and the knowledge that she won’t need a crisis food parcel in the future.