(*** Don’t forget I will be back on Monday 11th November 2013. ***)
On Wednesday the BBC reported:
“The number of people relying on food banks to survive has tripled over the last year, according to new figures. The Trussell Trust, which runs 400 food banks across the UK, said it handed out supplies to more than 350,000 people between April and September this year”.
“The Trussell Trust said the problem was so severe that some people using food banks have started to hand back items that need cooking, as they cannot afford to use the energy. It also forecast that rising energy prices this winter are likely to see more people choosing between heating and eating.”
“However the government has taken issue with the report and says – The Trussell Trust itself says it is opening three new food banks every week, so it’s not surprising more people are using them,- said a government spokesperson”.
You can read the whole article here.
On Wednesday, Radio Leicester also asked me to give my views on the situation. There were lots of people calling in and texting. Quite a few people were saying that they think food banks were being used when they didn’t need to be, so that people can continue to drink, smoke, have Sky TV, holidays etc. instead of buying the food they needed. I really don’t know if this is true or not, but I should imagine that there are always going to be some people that take advantage of a situation.
The whole discussion made me think back to a 2012 survey where the ‘Save The Children’ charity estimated that there were 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK and predicted a steep rise in the numbers in years to come.
At the time the figures surprised me and I looked further into this and found that when my children were younger, we were actually classed as ‘living in poverty’ with the household income that we had. Looking back I would never have classed ourselves as living in poverty and our children never went without food or clothes.
We chose for me to stay at home to look after our children, but we never realised this put us under the so called ‘poverty line’.
So what did we do when we were struggling to make ends meet?
When we decided that things had to change, we were lucky as we didn’t have debts to clear. We desperately wanted another child and we knew we couldn’t afford this and carry on the way we were living, so we made changes.
We looked at the luxuries that we had (rather than the necessities) and decided if we could possibly cut back on them or give them up completely. In those days there wasn’t mobile phones, laptops etc, so we chose to give up our car, as this saved us the most money. I can’t say it was easy at first, but we managed it, thanks to shopping deliveries from Iceland and Somerfield (things would have been different now, as you can get deliveries from most of the major supermarkets).
Over the years that followed, I made changes to how I shopped, prepared food, cleaned etc. and began to meal plan. I went from a ‘packet mix queen’ to cooking from scratch. I took on my first allotment and began to grow our own fruit and vegetables and as you know, I now have four allotments.
All the above things developed over time. Unfortunately, the common sense things that ‘grandma’ knew just weren’t passed down to my generation, as the 80’s and 90’s were affluent times. It took me a long time to work out how to cook things from scratch, with no one to tell me what to do, but I did it and I’m proud of myself.
We are lucky to have the internet these days and that is why I am so passionate about writing my blog. I want people to know that cooking from scratch and growing your own vegetables IS easy when you have someone to show you, which is why I try and include as many photographs in my recipes and when I write about what to do in the kitchen garden each month.
There are still things that I want to explore to save more money and I am always looking for new ideas. This is never a chore now, as I find it such a challenge.
What I have learnt along the way will stay with me for a lifetime, as I now enjoy our lifestyle. I have found that simple living is a ‘lifestyle change’ rather than a way to cut back ‘when the chips are down’ and I actually love living this way.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I am going to take a break from blogging for three weeks, as my daughters are off school next week and I want to spend some time sorting my house again, after the builders have finished.
So I will be back on Monday 11th November 2013.