What's new with Janey
29 June 2019

Child poverty and hunger thread

Child poverty and hunger thread

  1. In the mid 70s my mum and dad were separated, I was the youngest. Mum was exhausted with life, crap at managing money and addicted to Valium/ opiate pills – I was 14 at Eastbank Academy school

2. I got free meals and it was embarrassing but I was too hungry to care. I would eat at midday and not eat again until midday the next day as there was often no food at home

3. I became clever at finding people in the family to “visit” to ask them for a sandwich or some biscuits. I was ashamed of the poverty and it was always a “secret” bear in mind I was being sexually abused by my Uncle at the same time

4. So visiting family was fraught with danger in case he was there as well. People ask “why didn’t you say?” Well I did say …nobody really listened and if they could accept my abuse then the hunger was going un noticed

5. I couldn’t concentrate at school I was starving and gorging on food at midday. It wasn’t every day but probably 3/4 days of the week this went on

6. Cookery classes were a nightmare as we had to pay 50p or something towards the ingredients and I couldn’t afford that so I wasn’t allowed to learn to cook – the teacher often let me skip the fee though and she knew I was eating my “dishes” before they went home

7. The guidance teacher sussed ( god bless Mr Burgess) that I was hungry and skint and would often bring a sandwich for me at 10am break. He saved my life and sanity – and tried to get me to explain what my home life was like but I couldn’t explain

8. The constant hunger drove me to stealing food from the cookery class and I more than once ate out of a bin when classmates threw away food

9. Child poverty brings such shame and horror on kids, we don’t want you to know our house is filthy, that we have nits and we haven’t eaten as we don’t want you to judge our mammy, she is already was broken

10. Our mammys cry into cans of beer and sing songs about “how my man left me” and smoke into the one bar electric fire and you sit there and don’t want anything else bad to happen to her

11. My mammy ended up in a mental institution more than once and I recall the shame of going to school in her slippers because I had no shoes

12. Children bear the stigma of extreme poverty and blame themselves for their parents failings and blame their own bodies for sexual abuse

13. No social worker ever came to see my mum about my welfare and thankfully. we have @children1st so if you’re a parent reading this and feeling overwhelmed with poverty and hunger – call them and get support – I wish someone had for wee Janey in 1974

14. This is still happening today – stop judging people – help the kids and accept mental illness/ addiction and broken families can be supported because the Tories aren’t going to do it so families in crisis please turn to people and ask for help because your kids won’t.


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