Q. Have you ever used a food bank?
Q. If you were struggling for essentials, where would you go for help instead?
I've never used a food bank because I always feel there are people much worse off than me. I've never had enough money to put money aside for savings. My main way of coping has been credit cards - not ideal, but at least I had access to funds. And I was managing. But it spiralled out of control because of things like being taken to court 4 times in 10 years without recourse to Legal Aid - I had to pay myself. There was just no cushion against financial setbacks.That said at one point, prior to the pandemic, I had got into £15 000 of debt over the years, ever since I ended up homeless on unpaid maternity leave with my children. With the help of StepChange debt charity I paid that off back in 2019, but even now an unexpected expense, like having to MOT and service my car, or having to pay the excess when I was involved in a traffic collision a couple of years ago makes life very difficult - I had to borrow from my family. And borrowing from family has it's own risks and puts family ties under strain and my family has suffered because of it.