Bill, in his early 60s, worked on a building site until a blister from new work boots led to an ulcerated leg and he was laid off. Soon afterwards he and his wife separated and he became homeless.
Bill was referred to Wandsworth Foodbank in severe hardship by Wandsworth Council. He says:
‘Working on a building site, you’re on your feet all day long. I was struggling to get about and the foreman said you basically can’t do the job. So that was it, I got laid off.
Nearly all building staff now are agency, it’s just hire and fire you as they want you, and get someone else in. You haven’t got a leg to stand on – literally in my case. No holiday pay, no sick pay, nothing.
So I tried to sign on, but they said no, because of your time [working abroad] you haven’t paid contribution for the right year, so I didn’t get absolutely no money until this February.
When the lady at the council said the foodbank, not being funny, but that’s a very humbling experience.
I feel a bit awkward coming here but everyone’s been very nice, very friendly, very kind. All the volunteers giving up their free time to help other people – it’s nice to see there’s nice people about.’