Charity Number: 1197493

Rebecca’s Story

“It made me accept help. It just made me not feel so scared, because I know there is somebody there who could help me. I don’t feel as alone.”

We meet many remarkable people at the Foodbank, who have been through so much trauma in their lives and yet manage to pick themselves up. People like Rebecca whose passion is teaching young people who have been excluded from mainstream schools.

Work had always been her safe place, as she was living in an abusive relationship at home. However, her life was turned upside down after she was sexually assaulted at work.

Her self-esteem was already very low, because her partner continually put her down:

“It was horrendous, he took everything I’d spent years building up, financially and emotionally… he just bled me dry, living rent free in my house without paying any bills.”

Following the incident at work, she couldn’t cope anymore going from one place of abuse to another, without the support or understanding she needed from her manager. She ended up taking an overdose that nearly killed her.

It was the health treatment team who brought Rebecca along to the Foodbank, so traumatised that she couldn’t come on her own and wouldn’t look anyone in the eyes. Her now ex-partner had stolen thousands of pounds from her, and without her regular income from work, she needed food. What she got was so much more:

“[My son] needed some school trousers and Alison said she would sort it. I couldn’t understand that it was a Foodbank and they were helping me with school uniform. I didn’t know the scope of what the Foodbank did – more than food and more important than food.”

Little by little, and with Alison’s gentle persistence, Rebecca opened up and was offered help to apply for an emergency grant from the Surrey Crisis Scheme and deal with the debts left by her ex-partner:

“I’d never been in debt before, so I struggled with acknowledging that I had a problem… That wouldn’t have happened without Alison prompting me. She lets me do it at my pace, rather than telling me what to do.”

Alison also helped Rebecca to make one of the hardest decisions of her life, to permanently leave the job she loved: “I was scared of giving it up in case I didn’t get another one. But she helped me to realise that it was a toxic environment.”

Asked about the biggest difference made by the support from the Foodbank, she says:

“It made me accept help. It just made me not feel so scared, because I know there is somebody there who could help me. I don’t feel as alone.”

Like many of the people we work with, there is no fairy-tale ending to this story:

“Mentally, it’s still up and down, but I’m not on the floor and I’m not contemplating suicide. To me, that’s a positive.”

Talking about her hopes for the future, her wishes are very simple:

“I hope that I get better and to eventually be in a job that I like again and to be able to live and breathe, not just cling on to survive. I’m trying not to look backward.”

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