Stephen’s Story

“The foodbank was a lifesaver.” I thought I was alone and then found out about North Belfast Foodbank.

young family at foodbank entrance

Holly’s Story

“The people at the foodbank were wonderful, they understood and saved us.”

Having always worked and never claimed benefits, Holly, 29, from Chichester was bringing up her four-year-old daughter, Phoebe alone. She was determined to give her the best possible start in life, but when Phoebe suddenly fell ill, Holly was forced to turn to a foodbank for help.

The council flat that Holly was living in was in a deprived area with drug dealing and dog fouling taking place in the corridor outside her door. Holly was adamant that her daughter should have a better environment to grow up in and was offered alternative accommodation near her parents but at double the cost. As well as borrowing money from her parents to meet the cost, Holly was working part time. At the same time, she had been selling second-hand clothes online and the shop she was working in noticed its success and offered her a space selling clothes in their shop.

Under normal circumstances, Holly could just about scrape by, but when her daughter became poorly and had to spend three weeks in hospital, she was forced to close the shop temporarily. When Phoebe recovered, they returned home to empty kitchen cupboards, bills racking up and no income to support them.

Holly felt unable to ask her family for help again and after discussions with the local Citizens Advice Bureau she was referred to the foodbank.

Holly said: “The people at the foodbank were wonderful, they understood and saved us.”

Although Holly’s situation is still precarious, knowing the foodbank is there in an emergency is a huge weight off her shoulders.


Food sorting - pasta and tins boxes large

Stephen’s Story

So my story goes; I’m 30 years old I live on my own (with a cat) in North Belfast. I am fairly well educated with A-levels and a University degree in Biochemistry. I graduated a couple of years back and have been working in pharmaceutical manufacturing ever since. That was until January this year when I lost my job. At first I looked for jobs similar to the one I had previously but have been unsuccessful. I am finding extremely difficult to get another job. Even bar jobs or kitchen porter type jobs. Perhaps I am seen as being over qualified or maybe too old. Why employ somebody at 30 when you can employ somebody younger and pay them less. I am not sure. Anyway, I had been living on my saved earning up around three weeks ago when I ran out. I went to job seekers to ask for help. I still having received a penny from them in aid. Last week I went to Citizens Advice about the problems and they pointed me to the food bank.  I was pleasantly surprised at the treatment I received. I was welcomed and had a pleasant chat with the volunteers. They provided useful advice and food.

There is a stigma attached to people who use food banks but having been myself I have not found this to be the case.




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