Shelby's Story Growing up Poor


Shelby's Story

Following young people as they tackle the issues associated with poverty. After living on benefits, 17-year-old Shelby hopes her job placement will turn into a 'real' job.


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Transcript


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In the midst of an economic recession, we're all in it together,

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but some are in it deeper than others.

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With one in five young people struggling to find work,

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and many dependent on benefits, Britain's youth is being hit hard.

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17-year-old Shelby lives on the south side of Glasgow.

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'When I was younger, I wanted to be, like, famous.

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'Like, I wanted to be an actress.

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'But acting lessons and stuff, it costs money.

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'I just expected, like, I would go to school, and then as soon

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'as I left school, somebody would just discover me and I would be this

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'big, famous actress within a week, but it's just not how it works.

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'Like, you don't...

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'you don't know anything about, like, life, like how hard stuff is.'

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Shelby spent 12 months on benefits...

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..but now she's working five days a week,

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and getting used to the new routine.

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'Like, cos I don't have any experience,

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'I've never had a job before.'

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I messed up in school and all that, so, like,

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most people won't take me for a job, so this is my one chance

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to just...get there, so...

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'For a year there, I was like sleeping

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'all day, like, constantly just lying in my bed all the time, just lazy,

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'cos I didn't have any reason to get up out of my bed.'

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Morning!

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Shelby's job is actually a six-month work placement

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arranged by a local charity.

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'£55 a week is not really that great,

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'but it's only like stacking shelves and stuff,

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'but I'm happy to be doing that cos at least I'm working.

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'Going out and I'm doing something.'

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Despite working 30 hours a week, Shelby's financially no better off.

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The £55 she gets from the placement

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is the same as she would have got on Jobseeker's Allowance.

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I hope it'll be worth the work and I'll get a real job at some point.

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Obviously I'm still going to make mistakes,

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but I'm going down the right path.

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Things became hard for Shelby when she got kicked out of home.

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She ended up in a hostel,

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and when she moved here, she had nothing.

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But I would just, like... I had two quilts

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and my teddy, and pillows and that,

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and I would just lie them there, and...sleep there.

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'And then, cos it was quite cold then,

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'cos this would've been, like, November,

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'I was, like, sleeping on the floor and the cold hurts your back.

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'And then, like, I upgraded to this, but this wasn't much better.'

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As soon as you sit on it, it's like...

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way down here!

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For the first couple of days I was like,

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"Oh, I don't care, this is my house."

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Cos I just thought that everything would just be sorted

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and I'd have a nice house in no time, but...I don't.

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'I spend a lot of time up here, just looking at everything.'

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Don't know, it's sad that I'm 17

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and, like, just looking out the window and...

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Do you know what I mean? I don't think there's anybody else my age

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sitting doing this all the time...

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55 is what I get.

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That's all I've got to live on.

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And then bread's a pound and milk's a pound.

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I've got bread, milk, a fish finger thing, erm...

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cereal, chips, crisps, juice, cold meat and cheese.

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That comes to 14.50, so it leave me £40.50.

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'Before I done the budgeting I'd just go into a shop

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'and then I'd be, "Oh, I want this, I want this,"

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'and then I'd spend, like, £20.'

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12.50, I've left myself, for fags.

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I probably could get more food with that and stuff,

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but fags is about the only luxury I get.

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Well, this week I'm getting myself socks.

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Cos once I've got everything

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I've only got, like, a couple of pound left, so...

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Obviously everybody gets skint but, like, I'm like always skint,

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like, even when I get paid I'm skint.

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I run out of money usually a day or two after I get paid.

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To furnish her empty flat, Shelby applied for a Community Care Grant.

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She was initially refused,

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but eventually given just enough to buy a bed, fridge and microwave.

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But for the last ten months, she's had no cooker.

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Cos it's more expensive, this stuff for the microwave.

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Like, these chips, like, it's two for 2.50,

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whereas if I was to get chips that you can make in the oven,

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you get, like, two big giant bags for 2.50

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and it's, like, do you know what I mean?

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So, it'd be saving me money and there'd be more chips,

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and...it'd be better.

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My auntie's got a cooker for me but I just need to get, like, the money

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to get it in a van up.

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I'd be a lot better off if I was to be able to, like,

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just cook proper meals, like, the way real people do.

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I'm always hungry, like, even if I've ate I'm still hungry.

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So I'm just, like, "Right, you're just greedy,

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"you don't need more than that, you don't need more than that," so...

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If you drink too much coffee you get, like, this sick-y feeling

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and you just don't want to eat, so, if I drink that then...it helps.

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For Shelby, things are looking up.

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-The right, Shelby, aye?

-Er, no, left.

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A colleague at work, with a van,

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is helping her collect her aunt's old cooker.

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-Been lying here for months, Shelby?

-Aye.

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-Oh, thanks a lot, man.

-All right, straight through?

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Er, you can go that way.

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-Now, you take care, right?

-Thanks.

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Shelby has just discovered that the cooker has no power cable.

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Ugh, just a bit...

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I don't know, because I want... I wanted to go make my soup but...

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..I need to wait until, I don't know.

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Oh, there's just... there's always something,

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there's always, always something.

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Never mind.

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Shelby would like a safety net of savings for the future,

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so when things go wrong, she can afford to get what she needs.

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Like a cooker wire.

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Credit unions are similar to high-street banks,

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but are better able to support people on low incomes.

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Shelby is going to see about opening an account.

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-What age are you just now?

-17.

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You can join the Credit Union when you're 16,

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but you can't borrow money.

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Legally, you can't borrow money until you're 18 years old.

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Er, you'll need two forms of identification,

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so do you have a passport or a driving licence?

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I don't have any photographic ID.

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-Have you got anything with your photograph, a student card...?

-No.

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If you want to stand here by this door... Yep, just here.

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Then we'll take your photo...

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The Credit Union are used to helping out people in Shelby's position.

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Like saving them the cost of an ID photo.

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It's dead adult-y, going to a Credit Union.

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There's your photographs there, Shelby.

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Definitely want to make an account.

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Even so, it will be a challenge for Shelby

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to find the £6 needed to open the account.

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'I think my life could've been a lot easier...

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'if I would've just behaved myself

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'and, like, I wasnae always cheeky to my dad

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'so then I wouldnae have got kicked out.

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'I'd have probably been at, like, college

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'or going on holidays and stuff

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'cos I would've had the financial support.'

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After not seeing each other for six months,

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Shelby decided to make contact with her dad.

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She wanted to show him how much she's changed.

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'My dad came up and fitted my cooker in.'

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It was good, like, just,

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doing the cooker with him and, like, wiring it up.

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It was good, like...doing something with him.

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Seeing her dad leaves Shelby reflecting back on her childhood.

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You're only, like, a child for so long and then...

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..Like, it's up to you.

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You make what you want to make of your life, really.

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I don't feel, like, bad about where my life is.

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It's not ideal, but I'm still only 17,

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I've got a lot of time to...

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..make what I want to make of my life so...

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Don't know, it's just, like, a kind of temporary position - hopefully!

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Filmed over the summer of 2012, each programme highlights one young person as he or she tackles some of the issues associated with poverty.

Shelby is 17 and lives in a flat on an estate by herself. She was on benefits for 12 months but has recently got a job placement and hopes that it will turn into a 'real' job. She is paid at the moment by a youth charity and, despite working 30 hours a week, she only gets the same that she would receive on Jobseeker's Allowance.


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