INTERACTIONS

"It made me feel 100% bad. I was thinking of not going back there. Because of that attitude. Embarrassing."

People experiencing poverty have to interact with a wide range of agencies in order to access benefits or charitable and community support. This can easily become a time-consuming, exhausting and stress-inducing experience.

Different agencies and services often have completely different systems for qualification and registration, and often one agency will pass an individual to another, only to be passed somewhere else, and somewhere else again.

Interactions with people accessing support are therefore crucial moments - communication and attitude play a huge role in making people feel valued and worthy of support. This testimony below demonstrates how a bad experience of interaction can lead to someone being discouraged from seeking vital provision and upsetting and distressing feelings when receiving that help.

"So they said, ‘Where’s my asylum claim card?’ I showed it to them, they came back again and they’re saying to me they still want to see my Home Office papers. You see what I mean? They saw the card but they still want to see the Home Office paper. That is not the procedure!

Since they’ve been supporting me before, the person was happy. So why isn’t he now?

I should have said that that person is a racist for doing such a thing. . . 

It made me feel 100% bad. I was thinking of not going back there. Because of that attitude. Embarrassing.

I’ve not been [to the immigration office] every day, just once in a month. I’ve been thinking about it, do I need to go there anymore? If not because of my circumstances [I wouldn’t].

It is not the organisation. . . one person wants to spoil the organisation. If you didn’t think very well, you may be thinking [all immigration officers are] all the same.

You can see the difference – someone who sees you without any evidence and helps. and then there’s someone that knows you, that I’ve been there before and now [he] says you should bring your papers. Fighting with them, they will say you are rude, so that’s why I just ignored them. The paper they want to see I will surely give it to

them . . . but they don’t need that cos they were attending to me for a very long time – why now?

I see, but I pretend like I didn’t see, I know my people, so that’s it."

Our testimonials are direct transcriptions of interviews with foodbank users. If you would like to know more about our process in gathering testimonials email canyouhearme@manchestercentral.foodbank.org.uk.