Universal Credit : Get paid monthly, feel like you’re white collar ? Learn to manage your finances like those in full time salaried jobs ? Sound good ? Its really not good when you’ve come from a weekly paid job or transitioned from other benefits. Given forewarning you could save, right ? No ! Not when you’re only surviving with the help of foodbanks, friends, family and neighbours already!
This is one woman’s story :
I’ve managed to survive. So far. I’ve had help, food parcels, a tenner slipped in my hand by a neighbour, friends putting a few pennies in my bank and whilst it has been hard, I haven’t felt destitute. Perhaps I’m too optimistic and I count my blessings where I have them. My kids aren’t going hungry, they have mostly what they need. Okay, one lost their PE T-Shirt and is now being sent into school with a T-Shirt that isn’t the right colour and after my child got told off I stifled the embarrassment and explained to the teacher, does it really matter what they wear to PE, as long as it is practical and comfortable? They have holes in their shoes but hey, it’s not snowing.. We all need haircuts. Even before the UC claim, I can’t remember when we last had our hair cut. I cut their fringes myself but mine is going out of control, I’ve never seen so many split ends.
The worst thing is, that when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, when I know that these five-weeks are nearly over, my period starts. Now you may think, what is the big deal in that, surely she should know her period would start?
Well yes, but stupidly, I hadn’t planned for it. I was so caught up in making sure my kids would have enough food, that the important bills like rent and energy would be paid, I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about myself and my periods were the last thing on my mind.
It is embarrassing talking about period poverty. Periods are a taboo kind of subject anyway, no one wants to hear about a woman’s time of the month at the best of times, even the women experiencing it themselves. No one enjoys having their periods, well unless it is that relief when it comes, but that relief soon sours as we put up with the effects.
Period poverty though, that’s something that no woman should have to go through. It is like a woman’s curse, we don’t choose to have periods, they come uninvited and when they leave us, they leave us often needing medication just to cope with the changes.This is just another embarrassment to get over during the five-week poverty challenge for women and one that hasn’t been highlighted enough. I wonder how many other women and girls are suffering in silence?