“The foodbank was a lifesaver.” Your support is helping us to change lives.
“This food package is going to really help.”
I got out of prison a couple of weeks ago, 12 months into a two-year sentence. Walking through the gates was a great feeling. I was so positive about the future and was full of intentions to do something good. While in prison, I’d done a lot of thinking. Basically, I wrote down my life story — 400 pages — and it helped me see everything more clearly.
Once I was out, I went to the probation office. But they told me I was at the wrong place — even though I was at the address on the letter I had. For I while I felt like a tennis ball being bounced from place to place. Then, because I didn’t have identification on me, I couldn’t get the paperwork through and I was homeless.
I was forced to go back to old acquaintances, people I didn’t want to associate with again.
It took eight to 10 days before I had a place. Now I’ve got a converted loft. I like it. It’s newly decorated and very nice, but I don’t have anything else — not a towel or a plate to eat off, and no duvet or pillows for sleeping.
This food package is going to help. I’ve got soup, potatoes, bolognese sauce and more in these bags. I can cook for myself ok, so I’ll eat well tonight”
“Without the foodbank, I don’t think I would be here today.”
Having worked in the police force for six years, followed by 12-years in the Royal Military Police, Richard, 49, from New Milton, had always considered himself fit and healthy. However, this all changed when a chest infection quickly developed into a heart condition and he suffered from two major strokes followed by 19 mini strokes, leaving him unable to work.
Richard’s situation deteriorated further when he separated from his wife and moved out of their family home, where, unfortunately due to this change of address his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was delayed. As a result of his serious heart condition Richard needs 35 tablets a day, but the cost of travelling to collect his prescriptions left him without enough money for food, and his local Citizens Advice Bureau referred him to the foodbank.
Although Richard admits he never expected to be in this situation, on arrival he was put at ease straight away. “The volunteers were fantastic, offering a chat and a shoulder to cry on. I suffer from depression as well and without the foodbank I don’t think I would be here today,” he said.
Richard looks forward to seeing his 10-year-old daughter every weekend but admits he has skipped meals on a few occasions so she can eat. He explains: “It’s a really bad situation that people have to decide whether they can feed themselves, feed their children or put the heating on. It’s a case of having to budget or having to go without.”
At the moment things are still tough for Richard, he’s on the waiting list for a heart transplant and will be on medication for the rest of his life, but he’s grateful that the foodbank is available if he ever needs some extra help.