Yorkshire woman who fled abusive partner went days without food after crisis aid refused

A Yorkshire mother who managed to flee an abusive partner had to go days without meals after her application for emergency help was turned down.

The Hull woman, who cannot be named due to her circumstances, said she was now stuck in a vicious circle with money after buying an oven out of her own pocket. She added she felt like she was punished for doing the right thing while trying to hold down a job, get her daughter to school and arrange child care.

A Hull City Council spokesperson said they were sorry they could not help and they would review the decision if requested. The council declined the mother’s application for a community crisis payment, saying in its response the money was intended to help those unable to afford food, toiletries or fuel.

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It told her to contact a charity or Hull Citizens Advice for help, but the mother said she did not have the money to afford white goods, leaving her unable to make proper food for her daughter while she skipped meals.

The Guildhall in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, headquarters of Hull City CouncilThe Guildhall in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, headquarters of Hull City Council
The Guildhall in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, headquarters of Hull City Council

She said: “It took me a year to save up the money behind my partner’s back before I could get away. I worked and worked and finally managed to get a house. So I asked the council if there was any help I could get but they told me it wasn’t feasible.

“I explained I wasn’t going to have a fridge-freezer for two to three weeks because I didn’t have the money. I’ve gone out and bought us a cooker but now that leaves me short for the month. So now I’ve got to catch up next month, it’s becoming a vicious circle.

“It’s not been pleasant at all, and trying to get my little girl into a school near where we live has made it more difficult. Because I couldn’t get her into one close by we have to get up at 5am so I can take her before I go to work at 9am. I’ve had my little girl screaming and crying because of how tired she is from having to do that every day, I wouldn’t want to put any child through that.

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“Despite all that my daughter’s so much better now, she’s seen so much in a few short years but now she can be a normal child again. She’s playing out and she’s already made some friends in the first few weeks of us being here.

“But she still says ‘I’m hungry’, before I got the cooker she’d say that she wanted things that I couldn’t make, we couldn’t even have cereals because we don’t have a fridge to put the milk in.

“She says to me: ‘I thought things would be better here.’ We lived off cheese and ham for a few days until I got paid, then I managed to get us a takeaway for a treat. I had to go a couple of days without anything, but I’m used to that.

“Other than that I’ve got a microwave and a toaster, I can’t provide a healthy meal for a six-year-old with that. We don’t qualify for free school meals either because I work, but because of all my difficulties with child care I could end up losing my job.

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“My request to the council was all for legitimate reasons, I just needed help. And the letter I got back from the council was dated October 9, it gave me 48 hours to appeal but I didn’t receive it until October 17.

“It feels like the only thing there would be left for me to do would be to stop working and just go on benefits, but I don’t want to do that, I want to work. I feel like I’m being punished for trying to do the right thing.”

The council offers a community support grant which can be used to help with expenses on white goods and other outgoings, but people have to be in receipt of benefits such as Universal Credit or Job Seeker’s Allowance to qualify.

The council’s spokesperson said there was more help available to people other than the Community Crisis Payments.

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The spokesperson said: “Sadly we cannot comment on individual applications, and we are sorry that we were unable to help. However, we will conduct a review of the decision If the applicant requests it.

“There is other help available which residents may be eligible for on our website. The council always seeks to help residents in any way it can in times of difficulty, either directly or by directing residents to those organisations that can help.”