STIGMA

"I came on two occasions. The third time I didn’t come because of the stigma attached to it. It felt. . . I felt down, you know?"

We share the testimony of people experiencing poverty because the myths and inaccuracies that we often hear create stigmatising attitudes towards them. These social attitudes fuel feelings of shame that discourage people from accessing support. Without that support, people in financial crisis are far less likely to successfully challenge unlawful decisions, highlight publicly the injustices and inadequacies of the current social support system, and will face longer term impacts on their finances, health, and wellbeing.

 

These stories show how attitudes and comments from both government agents and members of the public have a direct impact on discouraging people from accessing charitable help.

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"I don’t think that people are understanding the issue very well. I was told by the Job Centre that the only thing we can do for you is to go to a Foodbank. Before you can come you need a coupon.

And last time when I came, I went to the Job Centre, the man who found me the coupon told me ‘Oh, you can’t go everyday’ and I said ‘I’ve not been there every day!’

 

There was a time I didn’t come for the following week because I was stigmatised; stigma attached to the foodbank, you know? I really wanted to come: I was still facing the problem, a problem of what to eat. . .

I knew he was wrong. He’s not supposed to tell me I shouldn’t go to the foodbank every week. You know, what am I going to eat then?

 

I came on two occasions. The third time I didn’t come because of the stigma attached to it. It felt. . . I felt down, you know? One guy at a bus stop waiting, from a distance saw me. He comes, he sees your bag, he knows that you are from the foodbank. . . This man, he was talking about my mobile phone and that he hasn’t got a mobile phone and all that, and look at the mobile phone I was using. . . It was given to me as a gift!

I would like other people to know that the foodbank is important. Your circumstances can change, and when your circumstances change it’s a method of a transitional period, a way of helping you to cushion the effect of you not having anything to live on. So I don’t think people should have a stigma or stigmatise people who go to the foodbank."

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.