Our Family Support Worker, Kelly (pictured), supports local families every day – families like Josie’s.
Josie is a single mother of four children, all aged under five. Complex health needs, including a major hernia, often cause Josie to go in and out of hospital, leaving her unable to work. When we met her, poor health, unemployment, and a lack of a suitable support system had trapped Josie in a desperate cycle of poverty.
When Josie contacted us by phone she spoke to Kelly anxiously. Josie explained that her fridge was broken, and her cooker was only just working. She admitted to us that she felt ashamed to be asking for support, “when so many people are in much worse situations.” We felt Josie was in a highly difficult situation herself. Kelly was shocked by what Josie had to say to us and worried about her situation continually after receiving the call.
When our Family Support workers arrived at Josie’s house the next day, they asked if they could have a look in her kitchen to see what was wrong with her fridge and cooker. Josie promptly demonstrated that the oven and grill did not work. Only one of the hob rings would light, and it would only light weakly, making it exceedingly difficult for her to provide nutritious meals for her children and to sterilise baby bottles. When Josie opened the fridge, the door hung off broken hinges – only being held in place when shut via the DIY use of duct tape and magnets.
Upon exiting the kitchen, Kelly noticed that the spot in Josie’s kitchen where a washing machine belonged was entirely bare. This was highly concerning. Not only did Josie have an 11-month-old baby, but her eldest child has incontinence issues. Quickly piecing these details together in her mind, she realised that Josie – a woman with a weak heart and a hernia – must have been handwashing basket upon basketfuls of dirty clothes and bedding each day. No wonder she was in such poor health and felt so awful.
As our support workers entered the living room, Josie apologised for the mess, quickly folding up pillows and a duvet bunched up on the sofa. Josie began to cry in embarrassment and frustration. She had not meant to reveal that she had been sleeping on the settee with her baby, having no cot for him or bed of her own. Naturally, our team immediately sympathised, doing their very best to comfort Josie. It is hard enough for any parent of small children to get a decent night’s sleep, but it is almost impossible for a person without a bed.
Recognising that Josie needed our help and needed it fast, our Family Support Team sprang into action. In just three short weeks, we provided Josie with a cot, bunk beds, mattresses, and a washing machine. Additionally, Alice Charity has made applications to other organisations to provide her with a double bed and mattress, cooker, and fridge freezer. Alice Charity’s People’s Pantry has also provided Josie with several food parcels, ensuring that her family is full and well-nourished.
Josie told us, “I can’t believe it. I’ve been stuck in a bad place for two and a half years. It feels like you’ve fixed everything in three weeks.” As a result of our help, Josie is able to live comfortably in the knowledge that her children will not go without. She can now look forward to enjoying a worry-free six-weeks holiday with her family.
We are glad to hear that Josie is pleased with our Family Support Team’s hard work and are very happy to have been able to help. After all, family is not an important thing, it is everything.
In the long term, Josie is always welcome to call us again should she need further support. For now, we are happy to continue emotionally supporting her for as long as she needs it.