Leilah is a single woman with good qualifications and work experience who has had trouble finding work in her industry since the pandemic.

Leilah spends a lot of time on the job boards looking for work suited to her qualifications and experience.

Meanwhile, she has been on Universal Credit but found that as soon as she found casual work on a zero-hours contract in a basic customer services job, the UC was reduced and linked benefits like council tax support ended.

Bills have gone up and council tax is very high, so debts mounted, and she needed help to sort it out.

Her job is based in west London so she has to choose between high petrol prices and even more expensive public transport to get there; usually, she chooses to drive, especially as she works long and late hours when shifts are available. 

When her struggles with arrears of bills became a real problem, she contacted Citizens Advice who helped her sort out some of her financial issues and gave her some supermarket vouchers which she eked out very carefully to make them last. 

However, there have been times when she was unable to feed her cat (who has since died) or even buy toilet paper, so when a friend came to stay who had a foodbank voucher, she accompanied him and discovered how the foodbank could help with the basics, including toiletries and cat food. 

Leilah contacted the CAB again and was able to get a referral to the foodbank for herself after her friend had moved on.

Since then, she has used the foodbank a few times over the last few months and found it a great help with the essentials such as toiletries, tea coffee and cat food.

Everyone has been very helpful and together with CAB she is starting to feel; that there is hope.  Meanwhile, she keeps on applying for roles in her industry.

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