'You can't afford to live': Families share struggles around financial pressures on the Isle of Man

  • ITV Granada Reports' Isle of Man reporter Joshua Stokes spoke to those on the Island affected by the cost of living

A woman in the Isle of Man says she 'can't afford to live', due to financial pressures in the Isle of Man.

Michelle Makin relies on the island's food bank, and says her gas has been disconnected after becoming unaffordable.

She said: "I just can't make the comeback, you can't afford to live.

"There's nothing worse than feeling you can't provide for your own children, especially in winter you can't even give them the heating that's they require.

"They can't shower - we're having to boil kettles to have hot water for dishes - yeah it's been hard".

Michelle had her gas disconnected in September 2023, and said she struggled over the winter months.

She said: "I've been having these pressures for over twelve months now. I used to think long term and plan things and prioritise things and now it's just like I'm trying to survive each day."

Michelle Makin lives in Peel in the Isle of Man, and says the cost of living is increasingly high. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

In the south of the island, Elizabeth is facing similar pressures looking after her children, and believes there is still a stigma around asking for help.

She said: "People don't realise how much we are actually suffering with the cost of living on the island."

One of the initiatives tackling the cost of living is the 'Isle Pay it Forward' scheme, aimed at cafes around the island.

Customers have an option to donate money to the cafes, which then eventually pays for those who are signed up to the scheme.

Elizabeth regularly visits Cafe Red in Port Erin, and says the scheme has changed her life.

She said: "I didn't really go anywhere, I wasn't very sociable. I kind of just stuck to me and my little boy in our own little bubble.

"But now it's just give me the go to get up and go out with him and socialise a little bit more, because I struggled terribly for like the last 15 years.

"So yeah, for me, getting out and sitting in a cafe is a big thing for me.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without I would definitely not. Definitely not.

Elizabeth regularly visits Cafe Red in Port Erin, where she is able to use her 'Isle Pay it Forward' card. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

More than 1,500 cards have been distributed so far, and the demand is increasing.

Founder of the charity, Tina Brennen, said: "There's so many people suffering at the moment that really I haven't even touched the sides of it.

"What I'm doing really is minimal compared to what is actually needed here in the Isle of Man."

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