Claire, Emma, Michael and Andrew
Claire has three children; Emma, 15, Michael, 9 and Andrew, 7. A previous employee of Bentalls Department store in Ealing Broadway in the 80’s, Claire approached FTCT to help to buy carpets for their home, school uniform and travel costs for all three children.
Claire told us: “We were living a reasonably comfortable life until my husband secretly gambled our money and future away. We lost our home, savings and my marriage broke down as a result. I have no external family locally, so I found myself on my own with the children.
“The four of us were allocated a house via a housing association, but it was seven miles away the children’s schools and it wasn’t fitted with carpets. Although I was working, I was only managing to pay rent and put food on the table, and was struggling to pay for the children’s travel expenses. I approached the council, but due to the school being in a different area they declined to help me.
“As the children had been through enough upheaval and Emma was in the midst of her GCSE’s I didn’t want to move them to another school and pull them away from their friends. Things started to soon mount up as they all needed new school uniforms, and Emma started to get bullied as a result. Also, Michael suffers from eczema which was being affected by the dust from the exposed floorboards in the new house.
“I was feeling desperate and guilty because I couldn’t give my children the basics such as carpets and school uniforms. There were even days I couldn’t afford to get them to school and we had to ring in sick which, on top of what they had been through, was affecting their education.
“Desperate for help I went to the Citizens Advice Bureau and they told me about the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust. As I had worked for a department store in the 80’s that sold clothes and textiles, I hoped I would be eligible for a grant.
“I was very nervous approaching FTCT, but as soon as I started speaking to them I felt more confident as they were so nice, and non-judgemental. They do all that they can to help you and improve your quality of life.
“The grant has enhanced my family’s life and I am more upbeat about the situation, and so are the children. The house is now comfortable, and the children feel confident in their new school uniforms. My children will now do much better in life, thanks to the grant.”
*Names may have been changed to protect identities