'Before you get paid again, you're struggling': Middlesbrough mum on the cost of living crisis

A mother from Middlesbrough has told ITV News Tyne Tees it is a "struggle" to pay for essentials during the cost of living crisis.

Rebecca spoke during a visit to the White Feather Project, who joined forces with Helping Hands Middlesbrough and Women's Street Watch to host an "affordability day" for struggling families.

Rachel said: "It’s very difficult. Where we get paid once a month, it’s hard, because you pay all your bills and what you’ve got left, you’ve got to do your shopping and then before you get paid again you’re struggling. It does put me down, but I’ve just got to be strong for my family."

The Halloween themed event gave children the opportunity to play games and have their faces painted, whilst the parents were able to get free toiletries and warm clothing, financial advice and a hot meal.

Hot soup served to struggling families Credit: ITV News

Michael Harvey of Helping Hands, who organised the event, said on the ground he is seeing abject poverty daily and claimed it is "getting worse".

He said: "It’s just getting worse and worse all the time. I mean even down to the point where I had to give someone £1.01 the other day when they were at the till to be able to take their food home for their children, because they couldn’t afford that last £1.01.

"Things just do not seem to be getting any better and I just don’t see a way out of it. Things like this shouldn’t be put on. There shouldn’t be a need for it."

Women's Street Watch founder, Bethany McLean, said joining the other two charities meant they could give the help needed to mums and dads.

She explained: "It’s non-judgmental, friendly people, because we know that, you know, they’ve got a hot meal in their bellies, they can take some toiletries home and they can be a bit more comfortable, knowing that they’ve got stuff that they don’t have to buy when they’ve saved that twenty quid on toiletries that they need to pay for bills or heating."

Toiletries handed out Credit: ITV News

Mayor of Middlesbrough, Andy Preston, also dropped into the event to offer his support.

Asked whether it is right for charities to be shouldering the burden during the cost of living crisis, he said: "Yes, listen, I think when you’ve got a crisis, when you’ve got people in need, you need the government, don’t you?

"You need local government, local politicians, but you need the community groups and the charities, so as I say, the White Feather Project, Helping Hands Middlesbrough and Women’s Street Watch, three incredible groups and they’ve teamed together, so one plus one plus one makes more than three in this case, they’ve teamed together to make something brilliant."

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