"I'm frightened. Change is frightening. So many people are so excited to see everything open up again, and I'm glad for them, but for us it means less not more. Unless you count 'more' as more expenses to stress over. Today's meant to be the day that our local community center sends a bag of food items over for the kids. My son's birthday is next week so I figured I'd save money on a food shop this week and use the food bag from community center and have a little extra money for his birthday next week. Only yet again I was missed in their texts they sent to people explaining that the bags have stopped now lockdown is over and they prepare to reopen the youth club. They still have a little food bank type shop (£1.50 for bag of ingredients for a meal or two boxes of cereal for a quid, that type thing but not useful to me cos A: No money left after last payday, except what I've saved for my son's birthday, and B: if I did have money I've no cash cos I do everything online now, so moot anyway). They did have a few free items (yellow tag stuff) and were kind enough to let me take some fruit and a juice for kids also, which was nice if them and I'm grateful. Just reminded me that post covid world is gonna be a tough one. The lady today told me that the service, the little community food aid shop thingy, would probably only be for another month or two, while lockdown fully lifts. They don't know the end date for sure yet. So basically, reopening everything means most aid stops. Even the £20 per month will eventually stop. Even this covid realities research group, which has really become a type of support system during the last year, will end sometime in the coming months.
However, as everything reopens and covid related aid petters away, the cost of most items will go up, expenses will go up, pressures to go be productive little spending patriots will go up. All while income and food aid drops. Post covid is exciting, hopeful even for most. My kids can't wait to get back to social groups and swimming and outings. I've just no idea how I'll be able to afford those things on universal credit, even with the extra £20, god only knows how well cope when that's gone. I'm listening to people I know happily, excitedly booking hair appointments, holidays, manicures, swimming trips, etc. Talking about their plans for the coming months. I'm still in the same place I was six months ago, worse off even than 12 months ago and my prospects (unless I miraculously win the lottery -which would be miraculous as I can't even afford to waste money on playing haha), my prospects over the coming months, maybe even the coming years, are likely to get worse. I'm at a stage in life, in my benefit experience, that the idea of better that what I have now feels impossible.