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Claire’s story of child poverty in the North East

Mother holding child | Barnardo's

Claire lives in Hull with her four children Sam (18), Lauren (12), Luke (8) and Ruby (4). Claire's children don't have the same opportunities as many other children.

It is hard for them to understand why they sometimes miss out on birthday presents, can't afford the right school uniform and struggle to pay for school trips:

[Ruby] knows, she could see me worrying about it. I couldn’t believe it when she said 'don’t worry mummy I won’t have a birthday present this year.' That made me cry so much, I felt so guilty for not being able to give them more.

One of Claire's children was being bullied at school and started behaving violently, which put a lot of pressure on family life:

His behaviour just got out of control at home – he had a really bad temper and was becoming violent, swearing, breaking things in the house on purpose.

Barnardo's staff provide emotional support and practical tips to help families struggling with poverty to stay together and turn their lives around:

[At Barnardo's] we started to use some techniques to try and improve things at home. We set up a 'family contract' where we all set out what we were feeling and what our expectations were for the future [...] We had 'games nights' as well where we could all spend some quality time together.

Claire is more confident now but she knows there is always someone to talk to at Barnardo's if she needs help or advice:

Things are still hard, but when I look back, this time last year I sat here and cried buckets. There were more tears in my tea than water! But then the crying got less and less as I got more confident.

It’s reassuring knowing that staff like Sandra are there at Barnardo’s in case I need help again. We all know what it’s like living in a family – you can have rough patches when you don’t expect them. But at least now I know some techniques for how to get through these times – and there’s always someone at the end of the phone.

Barnardo’s has given me that confidence to carry on – confidence and hope really. They listen to me when I need it. I don’t feel on my own any more, I feel supported.

Read more about Barnardo's child poverty work »

Real stories