The pandemic has been tough on everyone. But if you’re struggling to make ends meet, getting through it is even harder. Choosing between food and phone credit made Jo feel isolated and depressed, here she shares how asking for help with money made all the difference.
I worked in the restaurant industry before the pandemic. My friends had set up a restaurant and I was helping them with that, doing front of house and whatever they needed really. But then lockdown happened, and it wasn’t kind to the industry. I ended up with no work, and that put me in a really tough place.
It was a really bad time to be unemployed. The jobs I am used to doing just weren’t there any more, the events and catering industries were pretty much closed down and I ended up with my only income being Universal Credit. Things were just getting harder and harder. I already had some housing and gas arrears, so when my income stopped it made it really tough. It was virtually impossible – I had £200 a month for everything: food, electric, gas, all my bills. I couldn’t make the money stretch.
All the information out there was about staying connected in lockdown, calling your mates, having video calls, but I couldn’t afford credit on my phone. I was literally alone, waiting for people to call, and I just sort of became more and more depressed.