Charity Number: 1197493

Susanna’s Story

“It was a very stressful time, but I felt very supported….I knew if I was struggling, then I could call my friends or my mum, talk to ESDAS, or I could ring Citizens Advice.”

Susanna’s story shows how vital it is to have a strong support network – family and friends, but also local agencies that can be there for you through a difficult period in your life, especially when you’ve never been in this situation.

Before falling pregnant with twins, Susanna was working as a manager in a local store and had no real financial issues. But things went “terribly wrong” at the end of last year when she met someone during covid and had an unplanned pregnancy:

“He moved in during my last trimester, but things unravelled quickly. Having an extra person, more electric, more food, he wasn’t working, put me under a lot of stress… Then two days before having the twins, he got physical with me – that was the final straw.”

Fortunately, the hospital’s safeguarding team were on call, and she got a lot of support straightaway. The police arrested her partner, and ESDAS – a local domestic violence charity – got involved too.

After having the twins, now 9 months old, Susanna lived with her mum for a while because she couldn’t even afford to heat her own home. Citizens Advice helped her deal with some existing debts, accumulated while her partner was living with her, and referred her to the Foodbank:

“It was a very stressful time, but I felt very supported….I knew if I was struggling, then I could call my friends or my mum, talk to ESDAS, or I could ring Citizens Advice.”

She still remembers her first visit to the Foodbank:

“I was very anxious, almost ashamed that I’d got to this point in my life… but I soon realised after a couple of weeks that I was being silly, that no one was judging, that everyone was there to help.”

Susanna now goes to the Foodbank most weeks and then does a little shop at Asda to bulk out what she’s been given. As well as food, Penny and Alison have helped with her Universal Credit claim, applied for a crisis grant, offered energy top-ups and supplied clothes and baby equipment for her children, as well as lots of emotional support. Asked what has made the biggest difference, Susanna says:

“It’s everything. If I didn’t have the support from the Foodbank, I genuinely don’t know where I’d be. I’ve never been in this situation, so I was completely lost. They are the ones that have guided me to the right places. They’ve taken the stress and pressure off me, so I can focus on parenting my children. They’re helping me financially by letting me come to the Foodbank. It’s the whole package.”

Susanna and her family are in a much happier place now. She is currently on an extended career break, thanks to her employer, but would like to return to part-time work next year, because she wants to be a positive role model for her children. She would also like to do some volunteering with the Foodbank:

“Because of the help I’ve had, it makes me want to be part of it.”

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