Action for Children frontline workers confirm pressure on struggling families is worse than last Christmas and highlight the desperate choices parents are being forced to make.
Due to the pressures, the public are encouraged to be a Secret Santa for Action for Children to help a vulnerable child.
Dylan and Kiera
Dylan lives in mid-Wales with his daughter Kiera (15) who requires round-the-clock care. Dylan is her sole carer after losing his wife in 2017.
The cost-of-living crisis has been a significant cause of concern for Dylan that saw him take action like not having the heating on when he was alone in the house last winter. He wore two coats and wrapped himself in blankets to keep warm and save money.
Dylan would like to work but such are the responsibilities around looking after Kiera, he considers himself unemployable. More social care support would allow him to work and contribute to the economy and was disappointed the social care plan mooted by government still hasn’t come to fruition.
On politicians saying people should work more if they’re struggling financially
‘I would love to but for me, in my situation as a single parent carer I haven’t got the ability to do that. The reasons are there is no daycare [beyond school hours] and I cannot hold a job down because of my caring responsibilities stopping my opportunity to do it. But if there was a way I could do it which is to have more daycare, more help and support. If you earn £12 an hour in Tesco and I’m offering you £16 an hour, you’ll get more people wanting to work with children with disabilities.
‘So some of us can’t just go out and earn a bit more. The more you support third sector organisations like Action for Children with after school clubs for example, then that would allow some parents put more into the economy, it would give more help and support. There are ways you could do it but they said there was a social care plan and now there isn’t one.
Keeping warm last winter and Action for Children support
‘With electricity prices last year, Kiera was at a scheduled respite and I found myself coming back to the house alone. As it was just me in the house, I just put two coats on to save the heating. Someone from Action for Children came to the house and it was the first thing she saw and asked if there was any help she could give as electricity prices were so high. I need the heating as I can’t deprive Kiera of it but kept it off to save money when she wasn’t there. She couldn’t provide cash for the heating but she managed to get £150 of Tesco food vouchers for me which meant I could then divert money to paying for my electricity.
‘It would be nice if it was coming from the government but when it’s the third sector it means I’ve got someone looking out for me and my family as we are forgotten about. It was wonderful having Action for Children helping me out last year, it really eased my worries, I was really grateful.’
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