Woman with a PhD and two jobs forced to rely on the food bank due to the cost of living crisis

Perry’s Pantry, a food bank in Didsbury, Manchester, helps more than 50 families who cannot afford to support themselves locally

Trustee Tricia Reilly-Hurst says Perry’s Pantry Foodbank in Didsbury has seen an increase in remittances due to the cost of living crisis

A PhD woman who works two jobs has to rely on boards due to the rising cost of living in the UK.

Claire (not her real name) depends on weekly food parcels from Perry’s Pantry Foodbank, a service that provides groceries to more than 50 families in Didsbury, Manchester who cannot afford to make a living.

Claire says she is struggling to cope with her mounting debt, lack of income and mental health issues, reports Manchester Evening News.

She first received the packages last summer after being referred to Perry’s Pantry following a deterioration in her mental health.

Despite working two jobs and recently completing her PhD, Claire still had no money for groceries.

She said: “I started my PhD years ago, then I ended up in the hospital, I got cut twice in a relatively short period of time, and I then had to go back to university part-time and had other breaks in the middle of it.

Claire says she still lives with an ex-partner because she can’t afford to move out


Manchester evening news)

“It was very difficult to keep it going alongside work and my mental health.

“For this my funding stopped so I had to work effectively but with no income and I am self-employed as I was hired as self-employed by a charity – but it is effectively a zero hour contract.

“They don’t pay me on time, I have to chase my salary every month, and it’s not a very stable job.

“Only the pay sounds okay, I’ve basically been living on £600 a month for the past year.”

Claire’s rent in Didsbury was £725 a month, which she shares with an ex-partner who she continues to live with as she can’t afford to move out, but was recently told this would rise to £850 a month .

Claire also worries that moving house could result in her losing the vital metals that support her health


Manchester evening news)

She feels trapped in her property as she is currently receiving support from her local mental health services and moving could mean losing those vital services if she moves to a different area.

“It’s a nightmare, I really don’t know what to do, I just can’t afford to live, I really don’t know what I’m going to do and I already have so much debt just to pay the living expenses .

“I can’t afford to live alone, I can hardly afford to share, we each pay half the rent and bills.

“What worries me most is the uncertainty that anything could go wrong in a blink of an eye and I’m just a paycheck away from literally having no place to live.

Claire (not pictured) says she has to rely on food banks even though she works two jobs


Manchester evening news)

“I feel like I’m in a survival game. I’ve run out of all my weapons, my resources and toolbox are empty and I’m being shot at.

“I’m in a survival game and there’s no way out.”

Meanwhile, Claire has also received a water bill of £600 for the past four months.

She describes how her faucets are leaking and have not been repaired despite repeated reports to her landlord.

Claire says she’s getting hit with bill after bill


Manchester evening news)

Claire says the property she rents needs further repairs, with damp walls which she believes have caused a chronic cough.

She does not receive universal credit or other government support because her working hours are above the subsidy threshold.

“I’m really struggling to function at a basic level with all these worries, the rent going up, the electricity bills going up, this massive £600 water bill, and I don’t get a rebate on my council tax because I work enough hours to support myself not quite qualify for support,” she said.

The packages from Perry’s Pantry Foodbank have become a lifeline for Claire, she says


Manchester evening news)

“I always fall in the middle of things where I’m not eligible for benefits because I’m working, but I end up stuck in that situation. I remember someone telling me I would be a lot better, I would just never work and I could say what I could, but even that isn’t enough for people now either.”

Without the grocery packages she receives from Perry’s Pantry, Claire thinks she can’t afford the food.

She worries that her landlord might see that she’s receiving packages and she might quit.

“I made a weekly schedule [with Perry’s Pantry] where I pay £3.50 a week and they deliver it.

“Had I not had that, well it got to a point where I went to Aldi and my card was declined because I didn’t have enough to pay for what I put on the counter so I had to go back past everyone and put all groceries back on the shelves.

“It was such a low point that I think if I hadn’t gotten the weekly grocery packages from them I just wouldn’t have had anything to eat.

“If I get my food issue here, I worry that my landlord will see it and kick me out because I can’t afford to live.

“It’s just relentless, there’s no quality of life here.

“My concern is that it will only get worse. This world, I just thought I had no quality of life with it, absolutely none.”

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