This week, we’d like to help a single mum with breast cancer who is living in extreme poverty. Agnes has four children and was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 months ago. She has had surgery, radiotherapy and is having chemo at the moment. She comes home from her treatment to sleep on a mattress on the floor with her two eldest children.
She is not eligible for many benefits due to her visa conditions and her ex-partner is not providing any support for her or the children, so she is now receiving a 'destitution allowance' from the local authority. She had previously been working and managing to support herself, but had to stop when her health worsened.
It's become too much for Agnes to care for the children on her own and so her older children often take on a caring role for both her and their younger siblings. She was nominated by her social worker who said: “The children had been living in very poor conditions prior to coming to the attention of Social Care and caring for their mother has started to affect their education.”
Social Care has been able to provide counselling for the children and some practical support, but it's not enough. We’d like to do everything we can to support Agnes and her children – firstly, by making sure their living conditions are warm and comfortable so she can focus on getting well.