Just before Christmas, a young care leaver and her support worker came to the full council meeting and laid down a challenge. They asked as many County Councillors as possible to try to live on £57.90 a week just like they have to. I used to work as a residential social worker and a teacher at Aycliffe Young People’s Centre, so I thought I ought to respond to the challenge. My partner, John, has agreed to do it as well – he thought it would only work this way as he does the shopping and the cooking!! We started on Monday this week and it isn’t easy – you have to set aside money for heating, cooking, water and the TV license and it costs £4.50 every time you need to go anywhere – the cost of a return bus fare. You get a list of food etc. you are allowed to put in your cupboard to start you off – not much though – and then after that it is up to you to make the best of it.
John did a shop at Aldi and Tesco – looking for bargains like these nan – but what hit us immediately is you need to know how to cook to eat cheaply. And you need to be able to get to the shops to take advantage of cut price deals – and that’s not easy if you need to get a bus.