Charity Number: 1197493

Waving around in the dark

Ben, one of our Community Commissioners had to leave his job after suffering from ill health. Here is his story, in his own words.

What I struggled with most was coming from having a good job. I’ve always worked since I was a kid really, Dad said; “If you want pocket money go and work on the market, do a paper round!” so I’ve worked since I was 11 or 12. Suddenly finding myself where yourself not working affects your identity, your sense of self-worth, that’s incredibly hard.

Knowing who to ask or having the courage to ask someone for help is incredibly difficult for anyone I think. I don’t think I’m more or less proud than anyone. Having to go to someone and say I can either pay for my gas and electric or I can feed my family, you have to do it because you haven’t got a choice- but it doesn’t make it any easier.

If I wanted something I got it, that’s been my life. We live in a consumerist society, we have always been okay, always been comfortable. To suddenly find yourself, not in discomfort, but in real fear that you are not going to be able to feed your family is terrifying.

If you don’t know who to ask, you don’t know what’s out there, you don’t know what help is available, you’re just waving around in the dark hoping that someone will see you.

I think it’s opened my eyes to something that I probably was guilty of ignoring for most of my life. I think it’s getting harder and harder for people to ignore that, because of the cost-of-living crisis and Covid, so many people have been impacted.

All it takes is for one bad thing to happen and your life could be turned upside down. If you can’t pay your rent one month, all of a sudden you’re in a bad situation and it can get very bad very quickly.


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