“I was starving for about a week. I didn’t have any food and had really bad anxiety, but it came to the point where I had to ask for help from the food bank.”
Growing up in an overcrowded house and a troubled family environment, Josh from Torfaen, South Wales, didn’t have the best start in life, and he was taken into foster care at the age of 16. After several housing changes and a relationship breakdown, Josh ended up living in a youth hostel. “Things just went downhill, but I wanted to try to sort myself out,” he admits.
Struggling to afford food, Josh eventually found the courage to ask for help he needed and was referred to his local food bank, where he was instantly welcomed: “I was a bit nervous and I was only 16 but when I got to the food bank the people were really nice. They sat down with me, we had a chat and they made me feel welcome.” He continues: “The volunteers at the food bank also try to sort you out with other stuff. Even if they can’t help you directly, they point you in the right direction and try to help you that little bit more.”
Josh is grateful that the food bank was there to help in his time of crisis: “It made me feel really good when I could get food and speak to people at the food bank. They’re really nice people, you don’t get many places like this.” He continues: “It’s not a nice way to be when you have no food. And it’s not just food, you’ve got to buy clothes now and then, washing powder and cleaning products. By the time you’ve bought all that and paid your bills you don’t have much left for food; you can’t live like that.”
Although it’s been difficult for Josh without family support, he is applying for work and hoping to turn his life around: “When you’re working you feel better in yourself, you feel better when you wake up, when you go to work, and after work. You meet new people and make new friends. It’s just so much better.”
Josh hopes things will continue to improve, but after all he’s been through so far he still remains apprehensive about his future: “I want a stable home and a working life but I don’t know what the future has in store. I want it to be good but only time will tell, I don’t know what’s around the next corner yet.”