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Skint - part 2

(132 Posts)
Sleepingbunnies Mon 20-May-13 23:01:56

AIBU to have switched it off as it gave me such rage to hear that a 21 yr old who has never worked a day in her life had 5 kids, free rent and £1600 on top of her free rent! Knew I shouldn't have started watching it....

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 23-May-13 14:23:33

Not necessarily warm and functional actually-could quite as easily be hugely judgemental of anyone who is not "successful". I know plenty of those. My family is a combination of intolerance of unemployment and support to get a job. And in amongst all that, plenty of miscellaneous dysfunction.

williaminajetfighter Thu 23-May-13 09:20:14

Ifonly I would love to imagine that magical world where every successful functioning adult has been brought up in a warm supportive family that breeds ambition and provides support for choices. That must be the case otherwise they wouldn't be functioning, correct!

It just isn't like that and the reason people get tired of this kind of black and white assumption about the life of some but not others. Total Social Worker-speak.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 23-May-13 08:14:50

The state hand holding is required for those people who don't have family hand holding/shoving/dragging in the right direction.

janey68 Thu 23-May-13 07:42:05

I think we're all in agreement that individuals have differing levels of motivation, integrity etc

Thing is, systems need to be consistent and equitable. It's not right to throw lots of money or resources at one family until they feel 'ready' to respond, while other families are expected to step up and meet the support half way.

The real world doesn't wait for people to be 'ready '... You can't get a job and then just show up when you feel in 'the right place' to do it. Most people have to do things every day which are difficult and which they'd prefer not to do

I also think that while support is vitally important, it's equally true that in many cases setting the expectations higher and not treating people as if they are incapable of helping themselves, can be the spur for them to want to improve their life

JakeBullet Thu 23-May-13 06:27:33

Many wont need that hand holding but some will. ....and as sugarmouse says, sometimes people have to reach rock bottom before they have that "wake up" moment.

Gosh, did I just agree with sugarmouse?grin

williaminajetfighter Thu 23-May-13 06:21:10

I think you'll find there are loads of initiatives and support agencies but it sounds like people want something that isn't 'official' as well. Mind boggles at level of hand holding and providing services on platter that seems to be required.

SugarMouse1 Wed 22-May-13 22:43:56

I personally think she should have had the twins taken off her if she is unwilling to change/engage

She should be given a time limit to sort out some long-term contraception, take some money-managing classes, make a plan for the future and steps to find a job for when the children are in school

They could also both do some voluntary work, but oh no, they cba.

I don't get why Hayley has been allowed to keep all her kids with no support etc, but Jamelia's has been taken away??

She didn't really seem any worse than them and Hayley must have been Jamelia's age when she had her first!

pinkballetflats Wed 22-May-13 22:41:04

Surestart - closed across the area I lived in when I was dependant on benefits.
CAB - almost impossible to get an appointment/get through on the phone
Gingerbread - didn't find them much help apart from general information on their website

I turned to everyone I could find - and all the support I found in the main was help getting into emergency housing (hellishly expensive) and help claiming benefits. Help to get qualifications to help me not be dependant on benefits? Nope. Nothing. At all. Help to help me gain meaningful skills? Nope. Nothing. There was an initiative to train as a teaching assistant and I did it - it helped with my self esteem - but at the end of the day, how does one live on approximately 15,000 a year pro rata (equating to 11kish)? I was still dependant on benefits to top up my earnings.

Don't get me started with childcare when you're on a minimum wage, yes, in certain circumstances you can claim up to 70% of what you're paying, but try finding cheap yet decent childcare in the summer holidays and at weekends etc....when you're depending on benefit top ups to get by 30% childcare bill soon eats away at things like groceries.

Having gone through the process it became clear to me that there is no real framework to help people help's merely a game of shuffling people about to make the figures look good. The people at the job centre did their best, but at the end of the day it was all about any job will do and it doesn't' matter if you still have to rely on handouts, at least the government can say that unemployment rates have gone down

SugarMouse1 Wed 22-May-13 22:39:35

Sadly, many people have to hit rock bottom before they will seek/accept help.

Ask anyone with experience of addiction- many druggies/alcoholics won't want to change until they are living on the streets/lost family/no money/no anything

What I do think Hayley really needs is a reality check.

JakeBullet Wed 22-May-13 22:37:13

....and I have acknowledged repeatedly that some people don't want to change...or are not at a point in their lives to accept it.

You can take a horse to water and all that.....but at least the water is there when the horse does want it.

I am not going to save the world or the country but I am going to continue helping families like this make small changes which will improve their lives and that of their children.

JakeBullet Wed 22-May-13 22:34:02

....and nobody is asking you to do that, but to just assume people don't want help is lazy arsed judgemental thinking. I manage a morning a week despite having a disabled child and will continue to do so when I go back to work next month. I dont believe any family I support is beyond help, some might make more progress than others but plenty of parents are accessing our service. The CV writing is just one thing and is done with a meeting at the estate visiting.

Yes Hayley managed to deal with her immediate problem but it does not deal with any underlying problems. She might NEVER seek help but plenty of people in similar positions DO seek support. All I am saying is that people can play a part in helping rather than judging and saying "they don't want help".

Or we could just continue paying out £1600 a month plus rent and ignore her....or judge her, or suggest she is sent off to beg for a "reality check".

williaminajetfighter Wed 22-May-13 21:55:18

Just read all these posts and I'm with Sugarmouse on this one. Jake, the reality is a lot of us don't have time to volunteer because we're working usually full time. Moreover I can't just walk onto an estate and hunt down people who want their CV written. wink

LOADS of initiatives target these communities. I've worked on and seen a range of projects from art to education initiatives. And there is always a big problem with take up due to apathy. People aren't interested in participating.

I grew up in a working class town and there were loads of kids who dropped out of school and went down a path of limited work or benefits. It was not always due to their family situation or lack of support. Sometimes ambition is limited and people don't want to take the risks or make the commitment necessary to change their situation. All the hand holding, cajoling, kind whispers and support won't change that.

janey68 Wed 22-May-13 21:21:06

I think to say they ALL want help is as unhelpful as slating them all as no hopers.

The reality is- you get people with and people without basic integrity at all levels of society. While I'm sure some of these young parents are really receptive to support and just need the real life hand of someone like jakebullet to guide them, there are others who have no intention of taking responsibility for their life. They milk the system shamelessly. Anyone on £1600 PLUS rent paid, who can buy all manner of gadgets and smokes, but then complains that they can't afford to feed the kids properly is taking the piss and its insulting to everyone who raises a family on far less.

I'm all for supporting those in need who are wanting to improve their life. But it's not helpful to suggest that everyone in this situation wants to change things.

SugarMouse1 Wed 22-May-13 20:52:02


I have just looked on Scunthorpe council's website- and they do still have loads of surestart centres with lots of different activities

SugarMouse1 Wed 22-May-13 20:50:42

Sorry, but sometimes people just need to help themselves!

And for those unwilling to, there isn't a lot anyone can do.

As for Hayley being unable/unwilling to access any help, well she found it easy enough to go to the charity food bank and access/accept help! So those of us who donate have 'helped' in some way. She was even happy to be filmed going there and then seemed all smug about everything she had got.

JakeBullet Wed 22-May-13 18:57:22

It's not even about being in a perfect world, it's about recognising that we ALL have a part to play in helping make changes for those who want to do so.

I recognise that I am very fortunate, I am ON benefits (go choke on yer coffee sugarmouse) but I have benefitted enormously from a good education, support with a disabled child and good family. In return I can spare a morning a week to support another family...who may or may not be on benefits. In fact I have enjoyed this voluntary work so much I will continue with it when I go back to work next month, I will fit it in somehow as I am encouraged by the small successes I have had....and I get a kick from seeing someone who was struggling make positive changes.

We could ALL make a difference. It's too easy and too lazy to just say "they don't want help" because I can tell you for a fact that "they" do want help and "they" do access it. Or the school/nursery accesses it for them.

foslady Wed 22-May-13 18:51:41

The problem is they're all lumped as official agencies Sugarmouse - along with Social Services, and as Jamelia put it - 'They're known as the baby snatchers....' Outside agencies are exactly that - outside of a community already suspicious of motives. When I went to the local Surestart group, most of the people that went were outside of the area (which was adjacent to that estate). The mum of 5 believed that it was the registrars that had caused her issues - they'd reported here and was an 'outside' group of government officials. She had never thought to write down the time and date that she'd rung the tax credits agency that she was adamant she'd contacted

IneedAyoniNickname Wed 22-May-13 18:48:24

Sugarmouse I wish lived in your perfect world where help is so easy to come by.

Many sure start centers have been closed/facilities reduced.
Gingerbread. Other than reading a bit on their website I don't know.
Joseph Rowntree, what is this? I've never heard of it.
Cab, practically impossible to get an appointment here!

I'm a single mum, on benefits, who's had ss on the periphery of my family in the past, yet I've still not been offered help from anywhere like this.

Luckily for me, I've got the drive, ambition and family support to have gone to college. I hope to go to uni in the future. The people on the programme don't seem to have that, and I find that so sad. sad

JakeBullet Wed 22-May-13 18:48:10

......and by the way, I answered your post about help this morning. Did YOU read anything I wrote? Answer MY question...what are YOU doing to help people who WANT to make changes achieve their goals?

JakeBullet Wed 22-May-13 18:45:33

Sometimes you have to take people by the hand and show them. Or is that too much like an effort?

I doubt this girl thinks from one moment to the next and certainly doesn't have the wherewithal to access support services. If she DID then one assumes she would not have five children at 21. So it needs pointing out to her if she is in the right frame of mind to accept support (and with five young children I doubt that she is in the right frame of mind at this time) but ONE day she may well want the help...much easier if it's out there and someone can help her access it.

I ask again ...what are YOU doing to support the vulnerable people in your community? How are YOU showing them that there is a different way? Even 30 mins spent helping someone write a CV is positive and takes up very little time. Give someone the benefit of your education (and unless you were sent to a private school you got that free) and HELP the,. We are overrun with referrals from people who WANT help with all sorts of things. I can bet your own area will be the same.

Or are you just up for judging in a "I can't be bothered with them" way? If so then you are part of the problem which is sad.

SugarMouse1 Wed 22-May-13 18:35:19


Did you not read my post?

What about the help ALREADY AVAILABLE from Sure Start centres, Gingerbread, Joseph Rowntree, the CAB and endless other organisations???

There is already loads of help, they clearly don't want it!

foslady Wed 22-May-13 15:20:43

My concerns re Jamelia is that she gets full tenancy support. The flat was lovely, but if she doesn't budget correctly, doesn't put her rent payments as a priority, and doesn't realise what anti social behaviour is and it's implications (including visitors) she could mess up her housing for the rest of her life. She needs a mentor to work with her. I know Scunthorpe has a 1st tenancy support scheme on how to run a home (or at least it did) - learning about basic skills that if you never had/were taught them at home, you wouldn't understand/realise about them (and we're talking v basic ie ironing and be given an iron at the end of the lesson, not just budgeting). I hope she gets this kind of support to ensure a successful future for her

lowercase Wed 22-May-13 15:00:06

Thornhill Estate...

lowercase Wed 22-May-13 14:57:10

It's an inside job!
None of the external stuff will really make a difference...
Some estates did try the approach freckled suggests, and have been very successful- with healthy eating, exercise, craft initiatives but it does cost millions, and ultimately needs to self sustain after a while...

What I noticed from the programme ( watched 20 mins of first program )
Was that they were full of fear and pride...can't be wrong, admit they need help, have made a mistake, seek or accept help...
I doubt these people want to mess their children up but this is all they know...they have no other 'tools' to draw on.

FreckledLeopard Wed 22-May-13 13:42:08

Why can't there be a kind of half-way house for people like Jamelia or the other young mum? So, if you're pregnant and a teenager, with no educational or vocational prospects, and you want the financial support of the government, you go to some form of specialised accommodation, where you can live with your baby, with access to education, healthcare, help to budget, help to manage your own affairs.

So, for example, Jamelia could have moved into such a place when pregnant and her 'side' of the bargain could have been to stop smoking/doing drugs etc and go regularly to classes, with the knowledge that if she did stay on the straight and narrow and make an effort to improve things, she'd be able to look after her baby, rather than have it taken into care. Then, once the baby was born, she could have been helped to breastfeed, look after it, as well as how to manage on a day to day basis. She'd be given access to contraception and part of the deal would be that she regularly stayed on contraception and didn't have more children until she was in a position to be able to independently support them. Then, as the baby got older, she could have been given some kind of childcare whilst she continued getting qualifications. With the end result, that after maybe a few years, she could have left the halfway house, moved into independent living with her child, with a job and a future. If she didn't comply with the programme, then she would have the baby taken from her.

So, a carrot and stick approach if you will. The idea could work too with the father moving in and learning and abiding by the rules.

I'm sure people will argue that it's patronising and that why should only certain classes of parents be forced to live like that etc, but frankly, it's a win-win in terms of breaking the cycle of poverty and lack of ambition. It would be economical in the long-term too, although labour-and-money intensive in the early stages.

It may be argued that forcing certain young people/families to live a certain way is paternalistic, but it would work. People wouldn't end up with 5 children at 21, no job prospects and living in poverty.

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