Becky, smiling, wearing her beauty therapy uniform and sitting in a salon environment

Becky's story

We spoke to Becky to talk about how it was for her to get back into education and training as well as her experience receiving vital support with everyday essentials through our Byker Sand’s Family Centre. 

Becky is a 31-year-old mum of two young children in professional training to become a beauty therapist through Barnardo’s Byker Sands Family Centre Sure Start in North Tyneside.

Becky's story is included as part of our new research report, A crisis on our doorstep, which exposes the severe impact of the cost-of-living crisis on children, young people and families across the UK.

​​​​​Learning opportunities to improve lives 

“I really just wanted to have a good job so I could help my family. Having just one person working is just not enough anymore, you just can’t provide for your family like that and have a comfortable life,” Becky said. 

Becky was interested in learning new skills and pursuing a career in beauty therapy. But with two young children, she needed a training course that could be flexible so she could continue to take care of her daughters when she needed to.  

“I really needed something so I could provide for my family and have a profession, but I also needed to be flexible as well." 

If Barnardo’s wasn’t here, I don’t think I’d be able to do it.


Becky at work

"I've been doing my beauty therapy with Julie, and I feel that we can trust her not just as a teacher, but as a person as well. And that's really good. And I did my, functional skills of Math and English here with Lucy, and it was great because you feel - I'm not just trying to make it look nice – but it actually does feel like a family...They give me a lot of tips like finding work placement and finding jobs, helping with the CV as well. So, everything that I have now is because they helped me as well. 

Getting back into further education or deciding to take on a new professional skills course can seem daunting but knowing that you’ll be supported by fantastic teachers like Julie and Lucy who are invested in your professional and personal success means you can take the plunge with confidence. 

“It wasn't just coming in here, getting a certificate, it was coming in here and actually getting support and moving forward with my life and feel proud and feel that I'm achieving not just my certificate, but going somewhere in life. Like, I love it here,” she said. 

The impacts of cost of living in the community 

While Becky is working towards getting her professional qualifications, the spiralling costs of everyday essentials has put even more pressure on her and her family, as well as other families in her local community. 

“Where I live, what most people talk about is the energy prices, because for most people they went up, for example, it was £30 a week for their heating and now they pay like £60 and £70. There's a lot of kids that come home and they cannot have warm meals all the time and I see it all around my neighbourhood. 

“Luckily, in the community there are a lot of associations helping with warmer places to stay, with food at the end of the day, for example, like kids' clubs, and it helps a lot, and you know that the kids are benefiting, but it's nothing that the state is doing. It’s the community trying to help each other.” 

Barnardo’s Byker Sands Family Centre is one of the vital organisations in Becky’s neighbourhood that’s working to support children, young people, and families through the cost-of-living crisis, while continuing to provide employment training and skills courses, as well as play and early learning sessions, health and wellbeing sessions, and more. 

“I know that in Byker Sands they’re doing ‘a warm place to stay’ so, from four until six, you can go there and have a warm place to stay, you can have a warm drink. They make packs for you to help stay warm at home. That's a good help I think...they [also] usually do parenting skills [courses], they do baby clubs, they do functional skills [courses]…" 

For Becky, the cost-of-living crisis has especially made being able to buy groceries and clothing for her children more difficult. Through Barnardo’s, she’s received food and clothing vouchers so she can still get what she needs to keep her family healthy and warm through the winter.  

“It was something that I wouldn't have to think about before, but now I know I have to save my money because it's more important for [my children] to be warm and be able to have good food at home...luckily, since I came to Barnardo's, we can use their food bank if we need to.  

“We also received vouchers for clothing from Barnardo’s and for me it’s been perfect timing. I needed clothes for my 10-year-old daughter and 4-year-old daughter. With the grocery shopping, because it’s so expensive now, I just couldn’t afford to buy them new things. It was a godsend being able to get clothes for her. I was able get some for my brother as well who’s 14. It was perfect.”  

“My 10-year-old daughter, she’s almost as tall as me. She was so grateful. I got her things that she’ll use in and out of school, and jumpers that she really likes, really colourful designs. It was really nice seeing her excited and happy,” Becky said.

Looking to the future 

Looking ahead, Becky is planning how she can continue her professional skills training and education to achieve her ultimate goal of working for herself. She's recently enrolled herself onto another degree course at Newcastle College University Center to hone her skills on skincare.  

“In the future, I want to do my level 4 and 5 degrees in beauty, and I’ll continue to work my part-time job. I want to set a good example for my kids. That would never have been possible without coming to Barnardo’s.  

“I’m very, very grateful to Barnardo’s for helping me get my qualifications. I know some people who are struggling right now because of the cost-of-living crisis, and I tell them, just go to Barnardo’s.”

A young girl looking sad sits on a doorstep

No child should grow up in poverty

It’s not fair that more than one in four children in the UK live in poverty. Children deserve more than empty stomachs, sleepless nights, and cold homes.

Mum holding her two children

Aliyah’s story

When families are struggling to pay the bills and keep warm and fed, Barnardo’s children’s centres and family hubs can make all the difference, says Birmingham mum Aliyah. 

Selfie of a girl in a hat

Becca's experience of being a young carer

Rebecca (Becca) Dean is a young adult carer from Liverpool. Read about the way she's been supported by Barnardo’s.