32 Durham County Councillors and care services staff have taken up a challenge to live on just £57.90 a week.  

This is the sum that people under 25 on Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support receive. It is also the amount youngsters who have left local authority care get given to live on.

£57.90 is all these people have to feed themselves, pay their bills, pay transport fares, buy toiletries, clothes and household products, and meet other expenses.

The councillors and care workers have agreed to live on this amount for either one week or a fortnight. They accepted a challenge laid down the Children in Care Council, who are a group of young people who are either in or have left local authority care.

Councillor Peter Brookes said, “It was a real eye-opener. I wasn’t ill, but felt down, angry and frustrated that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to.” 

“I want to emphasise this is a national issue and our council is doing an awful lot for care leavers.”

By the second day, Councillor Brookes had only £9 left and by day four he just had £1.25. He thinks he only managed to get through the challenge because of a homemade stew he fed himself with each day.

Councillor Brookes said, “How in a civilised society can you live on this money?”

Councillor Andrea Patterson said, “The choices you are faced with impact on your standard of living, your accommodation, your health and well-being, and your own self-belief.” 

Durham Councillors Take up Challenge to Live on 57.90 a Week
Unemployed youngsters and care leavers have just £57.90 to live on

The challenge was organised by Investing in Children, a children’s rights group. After the challenge ends on Sunday, Investing in Children plans to organise a meeting so those who took part can share and reflect on their experiences.

It is hoped that Durham County Council will take a motion to the government about the issues facing care leavers.

Investing in Children says, “We work together with Durham County Council to raise the issues of children and young people and make changes so that it’s better for anyone living in the care of the county.” 

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  1. This is great to raise awareness, but in reality you need to try to survive indefinitely on £57.90, the build up of debts from not having enough money and lack of choice for shelter, food and other life basics is not something that happens over a week. But well done for raising awareness some young people get a very bad deal from society.

    • We agree Heather, it does raise awareness. But in order for those Councillors to really live it they may do better if starting with nothing and enduring it for a few months. Not just a week or two. Great comment!

  2. Yeah right at first it will be ok as they will live off things and food already in there homes as i did … it’s over time when all you back up is used and your money doesn’t cover everything you need not even the basics and i was on my own, it doesn’t work simple.


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