NHS nurse says she skips meals so her children can eat

‘I skip meals so my children can eat’: NHS nurse and mother-of-three who’s left with just £80 a week after bills says she’s ‘at breaking point’ but has to ‘find a way’ for the sake of her family

  • Rebeccah, from Leicester, is a part-time radiology nurse and a mother of three
  • After paying bills, she has just £80 a week for her family, including food 
  • She tells her story on tonight’s BBC Panorama: Surviving the Cost of Living Crisis
  • An NHS nurse has revealed how she is forced to skip meals to feed her children as the cost of living crisis pushes her close to breaking point. 

    Mother-of-three Rebeccah, from Leicester, works three days a week in a hospital radiology department but says she still ‘finds it difficult month-to-month’. 

    After paying the bills, Rebeccah is left with £80 a week for herself and her three school age children, including the cost of childcare and food. 

    ‘I know it’s not going to get any better, so you’re just having to plan things in your head about how you’re going to manage things and what you’re going to do,’ she says on BBC Panorama: Surviving the Cost of Living Crisis.








    Mother-of-three Rebeccah, from Leicester, works three days a week in a hospital radiology department but says she still 'finds it difficult month-to-month'

    Mother-of-three Rebeccah, from Leicester, works three days a week in a hospital radiology department but says she still ‘finds it difficult month-to-month’

    After paying the bills, Rebeccah is left with £80 a week for herself and her three school age children, including the cost of childcare and food, even though the family have cut back costs

    After paying the bills, Rebeccah is left with £80 a week for herself and her three school age children, including the cost of childcare and food, even though the family have cut back costs

    Rebeccah makes do by sacrificing her own meals and accepting food donations. Yet at one point the nurse reveals her family has just £7 for the next 10 days. 

    The Bank of England warned last week that Britons will suffer an ‘historic’ shock to their incomes after inflation soared to a 30-year high of 6.2 per cent last month – expected to rise to eight per cent in the spring. 

    Meanwhile gas and electricity bills of around 22million homes are set to increase by 54 per cent after the new price cap came into force. 

    Households across the country are having to make do with less. For Rebeccah, it’s a case of making savings where she can for the sake of her children.  

    ‘We don’t run any cars or anything,’ she says. ‘We use buses on occasion but our main mode of transport is walking or push-biking wherever we need to go. 

    Rebeccah, pictured at home, makes do by sacrificing her own meals and accepting food donations. Yet at one point the nurse reveals her family has just £7 for the next 10 days

    Rebeccah, pictured at home, makes do by sacrificing her own meals and accepting food donations. Yet at one point the nurse reveals her family has just £7 for the next 10 days

    ‘With a nurses wage, it’s just frustrating that it still doesn’t break even.’

    The mother-of-three says she doesn’t work full-time because the cost of childcare means she would end up with less money.  

    ‘My children are aware that food is a struggle and an issue,’ she says. ‘I do skip meals so they eat, and they are aware of that and it’s not good for them to know that.’

    Rebeccah explains she relies on the kindness of a neighbour who receives leftover food from a friend and shares the hauls with Rebeccah and her family.

    In one delivery there were essentials like fruit and teabags, as well as tuna for the children’s packed lunch. 

    Rebeccah explains she relies on the kindness of a neighbour who receives leftover food from a friend and shares the hauls with Rebeccah and her family (pictured, some of the food)

    Rebeccah explains she relies on the kindness of a neighbour who receives leftover food from a friend and shares the hauls with Rebeccah and her family (pictured, some of the food)

    ‘With the cost of living crisis, I think it’s a lot of people’s reality,’ she says, unpacking the tinned food. 

    ‘If it’s not this, people are in food banks. People are going who don’t work and those who work are going as well. There is no differentiation now.’

    Tonight’s episode of Panorama will follow three families as they try to cope with what is predicted to be the biggest fall in living standards since the 1950s.   

    Rebeccah explains she has no choice but to carry on for the sake of her children. 

    She adds: ‘I’ve been at breaking point but then I can’t be at breaking point because I’ve got three children to look after so that’s how I look at it, I can’t break. Whatever happens, I have to provide. And I will do.’

    Watch the full story on Panorama’s Surviving the Cost of Living Crisis at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer 

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