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To believe that this family of 8 has one bath towel?

110 replies

Zoflorabore · 30/06/2017 11:49

Hi, my dd goes to primary school with a little girl who's family are travellers but now settled in a house. Her dh apparently mistreats her and has got substance issues.

They were also at nursery together and the mum has told me her whole life story and basically started asking for my dd's hand me downs.
I had no problem with this, my dd is bigger and I could tell she was in desperate need.

For the last few years I have continued to pass on clothes/coats/shoes etc plus school uniform and anything that I think her dd would like such as dress up outfits and hair accessories, my dd has a lot of things and I am grateful for that.

Several times the mum has asked me for food, money and even medication as she has similar pain issues to me, i would not give her my medication and helped her several times with food and money.

There have been people locally who say that she asks a lot of people for stuff, she has 6 kids and is pg again and said she has nothing for new baby due v soon.

Last year after the latest baby she said that she can't have any more childrenHmm

This morning at school she said the usual that they have no money etc and that she needs xyz for new baby and then asked me if I could give her a bath towel as she only has 1 in the house for 8 people:

I am sympathetic to her but also she has told me that her dh gets dla ( he faked it apparently) and she gets all of the benefits she's entitled to.

This is not a benefits bashing btw, we claim some too. I just don't know what to believe any more and feel sorry for the children.
They look so uncared for and the little girl in my dd's class looks pitiful it's really sad.

OP posts:

DeadGood · 30/06/2017 11:54

What exactly are you getting at?

Do you doubt that she needs help?

If her husband really does have substance abuse problems then she probably doesn't have access to the cash she needs to care for all these kids.

Poor little one, if I had a spare towel I'd be passing it on, though I can understand if it's grating on you that she's always asking?


Zoflorabore · 30/06/2017 12:11

Yes i suppose you're right, she does always ask me for things and I have plenty of towels so will pass some to her but I have the feeling that she is taking me for a fool sometimes.

OP posts:

KeiraKnightleyActsWithHerTeeth · 30/06/2017 12:14

Sounds like she is in a shitty situation.
You sound like a nice person but don't give more than you can physically or emotionally if you feel you will be hurt somehow.


noblegiraffe · 30/06/2017 12:16

Do you see the little girl wearing stuff you've handed over?


LakieLady · 30/06/2017 12:18

I've met lots of traveller families in the course of my work, and the men often treat the women like shit. Domestic abuse is a huge issue in the traveller community and for cultural reasons the women don't address it in the way a non-traveller woman might. In some cases, we have spent years working with a family and just reminding the women that they don't have to put up with it before they're prepared to take action.

Things often get worse when they "go brick" as they no longer have the same connections with the rest of the traveller community. When they're on the road, whole extended families often live in quite a communal fashion, and they struggle to cope without that support network.

Your local council (county council, if you're in a non-met area) may well have a dedicated team that works with gipsy and traveller families. If they have, why not ask her if she's ever had any help from them, and if she'd like them to get in touch.

But yeah, I'd give her some bath towels in a heartbeat. I could do with the space in the airing cupboard, for a start.

I've become really fond of some of my traveller clients. The women are amazing, and they are some of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. I lost count of the times I was offered meals, gifts etc by them, even when they had fuck all themselves. And they always offer a cuppa the minute you're over the threshold!


IWantABlueBanana · 30/06/2017 12:18

She does sound like she's taking the piss!

Take a step back op


Chaotica · 30/06/2017 12:24

What LakieLady said.


EssentialHummus · 30/06/2017 12:33

Do you see her DD in the clothes?

In your circs I'd pass on a few towels. But some broader signposting is needed, to an aency in a better position to assess her/her family's needs.


reuset · 30/06/2017 12:37

I don't think people living on benefits as sole income have much, and with current benefit caps. Also, going from what other posters with experience of these things have said, it isn't very likely to be able to 'fake it' for DLA.

And what lakie said.


expatinscotland · 30/06/2017 12:38

I'd give her some if I had them to spare.


Toysaurus · 30/06/2017 12:40

DLA has been or is being transferred to PIP. It's impossible to fake to ATOS or who ever does assessment locally.


MyChemicalMummy · 30/06/2017 12:42

Just be careful, to me it sounds like she is taking the piss out of you.

We had someone like this at our school, even begged on facebook. Turned out she was not as desperate as she made out and was flogging the items on ebay.


WomblingThree · 30/06/2017 12:44

That was a really interesting and informative post LakieLady. I do think though that it's taking the piss to expect the OP to keep her supplied with everything she needs on a daily basis. There does come a point where personal responsibility has to kick in. I mean god, yes, I'd chuck her a few bath towels, but money/food/drugs? Not a hope in hell.

It seems like she's started to see you as the answer to all her problems OP. It's entirely up to you whether you want to be or not. And yes, it's almost impossible to get PIP if you are genuine, faking it would be harder still.


LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett · 30/06/2017 12:49

You know, maybe she is taking you for a fool. But she might not be, and you sound like the kind of person who gives others the benefit of the doubt. That's the harder road to take sometimes (it's easier to think 'fuck you' and cut yourself off) but I think if we were all a little bit kinder and a little bit more giving the world would be a better place.

As they say on MN, only give what you can, whether that's money or time or resources or hand me downs. Accept the possibility that she might be laying it on thick or taking you for a fool. But she might not be, and at the heart of this is a group of children who don't really have anything...


FuckYouLinda · 30/06/2017 12:50

If she was asking you for cash, I'd be more suspicious, but the fact that she's asking for basic foodstuffs and clothing for her kids would to me suggest that she's not getting access to family money, especially if the DH is spending it on getting himself high or drunk. It sounds like an abusive or controlling relationship and in that situation, I'd help her and the kids whatever way I could.

Their culture makes it harder to leave DV - in some Irish refuges they have a policy of one traveller woman at a time as it's occurred where one has fled to a refuge and the family send in another woman to put pressure on her to return home.

If you have it to spare, help her and the kids. If you don't have it spare or if you are yourself struggling then don't.


mayoli · 30/06/2017 12:55

Yeah, she's asking for stuff, not money, so it's less likely that she is taking the piss. It really does sound like she's struggling and you've been brilliant but you can't be the sole provider for her family.
Traveler families do have high abuse rates (don't slate me for that, I grew up in one!).
I second everything that @Lakie said. If your city has organisations that works with traveler communities please give her links. Some of them can be really helpful and she sounds like she needs it!


ShoesHaveSouls · 30/06/2017 12:56

I'd give her some towels tbh. As long as you're not struggling. She clearly is, poor woman.


belmontian · 30/06/2017 12:57

I would be more than happy to pass on stuff that we no longer needed. I would be more careful giving out money though. The Travellers where I live have a rough time and their life expectancy is about 20 years less than the settled community (non-travellers?) She might be taking the mic but unless it is costing you money then give her the benefit of the doubt. It might make a big difference to them. DV in the Travelling community here is expected and tolerated as a norm. WA hostels are full of them, the women go in for a break and then go back home and several weeks/months later you will see them in again Sad

If you think the little girl is being neglected OP then speak to the school or else SS?


angelnix · 30/06/2017 12:59

Speak to the class teacher and see what support may be accessed through school?


ImperialBlether · 30/06/2017 13:03

The OP has said that several times she's asked her for food and money.

Why is she asking you for medication when she could get it for free?

I think if you're feeling she's using you, then you need to stop right now.

Is she selling on the clothes you've given her or does her daughter wear them?


belmontian · 30/06/2017 13:03

Just to add that the Travellers that are known to us keep their children impeccably in the best of gear and their vans/houses are absolutely spotless. They would not be pleased at the thought of wearing second hand clothes, so I can only assume that this woman is really desperate.


belmontian · 30/06/2017 13:06

Why is she asking you for medication when she could get it for free?

She may be getting the medication free but her substance abusing husband is taking it off her.


mothertruck3r · 30/06/2017 13:08

Unless her husband is taking all the money she would be getting approx £68 per week per child just in tax credits and child benefit so, over £400 per week altogether. If her husband is getting DLA they won't be subject to the benefit cap and would receive other benefits as well which would top up their income quite a bit. Does the husband work?

Perhaps she gets people to give her donations and then sells them to make some extra cash?


SusannahL · 30/06/2017 13:08

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steppemum · 30/06/2017 13:09

If it were me, I would give her any stuff that I didn't need and was happy to pass on.
Tbh, even if she doesn't actually need it, and is passing it on/selling it, I wouldn't mind as her situation is obviously poor.

I would not be giving money or buying anything new to give her.

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