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1 in 4 children are living in poverty across Scotland and that number is rising. For so many families, winter 2020 is going to be longer, colder and harder than ever before. Your support means Aberlour will be there when families need us.
I'm Sue and it's been three years since I first came across Aberlour. My son Luke, who was only 11 at the time, was having problems at school. He has ADHD and autism, and it was clear to me that he wasn't getting the support he needed with his education. That was really hard for Luke and for us, but no one listened to me until Angela from Aberlour stepped in. Angela is a Family Support Worker, and her job is to help children like Luke and their families with whatever issues they may be facing, before they get out of control.
Together, Angela and I worked with the school so Luke could have the same opportunity to thrive as every other child. As Aberlour says, A bad start shouldn't mean a bad end. That made a big difference to us as a family. Don't get me wrong, we still had our challenges, our ups and downs, like everyone else, but with Aberlours help we were coping and Luke was doing much better.
Then COVID hit.
It made our problems much worse. We didn't just have to deal with Luke's issues we now had to worry about where our next meal was coming from. My husband was furloughed, so our income took a heavy hit. Bills and debts began to mount up, and feeding the children became a big challenge. My mum helped us with the grocery shop whenever she could, but we were forced to use a foodbank. I was embarrassed about what people might think. I was worried about our children's pals seeing us and making fun of them. On top of that, with the whole family at home during lockdown and a new baby, Hunter, to keep warm, our utility bills were even bigger than before.
beep Beep BEEP!
The electricity meter in the kitchen started beeping. A sign that the credit was about to run out. It felt like it beeped nonstop; it was really getting to me.
That beeping was a constant reminder of my fears: of not being able to pay the bills, feed my children, keep them warm, keep up with rent. I just felt overwhelmed. Life felt hopeless.
We didn't have enough money to top it up, so I just unplugged it. And then I called Angela.
It'd been a while since we had spoken, but I know she's always there for us. She helped us get an emergency cash grant from Aberlours Urgent Assistance Fund, which meant we were able to buy food to feed the children and top up the electricity meter to keep them warm. Were also working together on a longer-term plan to get on top of our finances.
I know Angela will always be at the end of the phone.
She was there for us before the pandemic, during lockdown, and I know she will still be there whenever I need her help in the future.
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