David is keen to tell his story if he feels well enough.

He is an articulate, able man who has worked as a retail manager both in the UK and North America until he became seriously ill. He has written to his MP about some of his issues but even so “It has been an uphill grind”.

Born in the UK, David spent some time living abroad with his wife.

When they initially returned to this country they had to use all their back up savings to pay rent for a year upfront as they had no credit rating in the UK.

This left the couple with nothing to fall back on when David became seriously unwell. His doctors have signed him off work and he has little energy.

He is now on Universal Credit and E&SA but DWP only pays the single person’s allowance as his wife is not a UK citizen; despite that her salary counts against his universal credit.

He has even been declined a PIP although his doctors recommend it.

Since he can no longer work bills have become an issue.

Universal Credit does not cover the rent. So everything else comes from his E&SA. DWP.

Inaccurate meter readings and estimates put the couple into a serious position where they were being billed £2,100 quarterly for electricity in their flat.

The energy company would not accept the argument that a couple in a flat in the summer would not be using that much energy.

A new energy company installed a smart meter which immediately showed that the couple were only using about £30 per week - but the debt still looms.

Situations like this prey on David’s mind a lot.

David and his wife are constantly looking at their finances and “crunching the numbers”. At the end of each month they have very little left.

There is no way they could feed themselves without the foodbank. No one there makes you feel bad about yourself.

At Epping Forest Foodbank, we are seeing more and more people come through our doors.

If you need assistance, call Help Through Hardship on 0808 208 2138. If you would like to help with our work through donating your time, money or food items, visit our website: eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk

  • Jane Evans is a volunteer at Epping Forest Foodbank