Mum reveals 'slide' into poverty after leaving husband

05/09/12

child kicking football

A charity says more children in the UK are living in poverty.

Save The Children has started what it says is its first fundraising appeal in the UK.

It says any family with an income of less than £17,000 a year is classed as living in poverty.

Newsbeat's spoken to Becky Jarvis, a 28-year-old single mum from Brighton, about how she copes living on £900 a month with two children.

She says the cost of child-care means working full-time would leave her worse off.

"When I had my kids I was married, working full-time, I was comfortable," she said.

"Now I've left my husband, I am renting a house and I work 16 hours a week part-time.

'It's a struggle'

"I get housing benefit and child benefit as well but it can still be tough to make ends meet.

Becky and Oscar Jarvis
Image caption Becky and her son Oscar live in Brighton in a rented house.

"Children always need clothes, shoes, school trips. Things for me have to come last."

Becky says it's been the generosity of friends and family which has allowed her to have things like a nice TV.

"When I moved I got people giving me beds, people giving me sofas," she said.

"If I hadn't had that I would be in a much worse position than I am now.

"I still have a car and I could get rid of it to save money but I would be a prisoner of public transport.

"Having the car means we are mobile, which in these times is very important. I didn't buy it, it was given to me by my gran."

Save the Children says more and more children are going without hot food and new shoes.

"Kids need new clothes all the time and again my family help me out with this," she added.

Both my kids lost quite a bit of weight last year. Now I find having a meat free diet means I cook more so it's a lot healthier
Becky Jarvis, 28
Classed as living in poverty

"I get lots of hand-me-downs or shop in second hand shops.

"We are all vegetarian because meat is too expensive, I can cook a lot more now."

Becky is starting university soon because she says she needs a qualification to earn enough to look after her family.

"I've decided I need more training so we can get a better standard of life in the long run," she said.

"I'm going to move back in with my parents while I'm doing that which will be quite hard but it will help financially."