Poverty &Us - parents, carers and young people tell us how poverty impacts them

Parents, carers and young people from a temporary accommodation hostel in London took part in a session in October 2017. Here are their comments from their workshop and presentation to healthcare professionals.

Update - September 2022 - The College has launched a child health inequalities toolkit to help paediatricians support vulnerable families and advocate for better health policies, including a letter from children and young people, Everyone deserves the world.

Would you rather… wash your clothes one week or feed your family well?

This is our choice every week. We don’t always have the money to do both.

Would you rather… go to your living room or your bedroom to relax?

We have one room. I wish I had my own bedroom or just my own space. You want to have your friends round but you can’t. You don’t want them to see that you share a bed with your mum. It’s embarrassing.

Would you rather… stay in your room with the mould or go outside and hang on the street?

This is our choice every day with our children and teenagers. Stay in on your own in a place that might make you ill or go out to be with people or places you might not know that might not be safe.

Living in temporary accommodation has an impact in lots of ways on our health through...

We have no space to live, we have one hob to cook on which makes cooking healthy food difficult, we have mould in the air we breathe.

Our house should be a place to feel safe. It is safe but it makes you feel...claustrophobic. You feel worried that you won’t find a home or a place you are happy. It makes you feel...anxiety.

There is a stigma of living in temporary accommodation for parents and on the children.

You feel professionals judge you.

"Make it ok for people to tell you what is happening for them if they are struggling or need help."

There is an impact on mental health?

How we feel we are doing as parents. How we feel we are doing at school and the baggage they have to carry with them when they should be learning.

There is an impact on school learning and expectations and talents of our children?

[Children] can’t concentrate if they are hungry or can’t be honest with friends about where they live. No one expects a child from a hostel to go to university or helps them if they are really good at music or dance.

We need to have the right to speak up and rights for our children.

We want healthcare professionals to...

Know we are trying. We are committed to the welfare of our children and it being different.

Come and meet us. Come out of your offices and talk to us.

Make it ok for people to tell you what is happening for them if they are struggling or need help.

Don’t make judgements on us just because we live in temporary accommodation.

Listen to us and believe us and do something to help us.

Thank you to the residents who shared their views and hopes with RCPCH &Us.