The thing with this here social work is you see an awful lot of people’s awful lots in life. The stuff you read about and don’t think about and mostly never see. Child abuse, obviously. Domestic violence, like how we talked about. Poverty. Real poverty. Bare floorboards poverty. Eating food or making rent but never both poverty. Oxfam reckons 1 in 5 people in the UK are living below the poverty line, living hard and unhappy lives made harder and unhappier by cuts to services that mean the help they used to get isn’t around any more.

Poverty’s rubbish. It’s depressing and humiliating. It’s bad for your health and for kids’ development. It brings violence. It kills you sooner. Poverty means kids skipping breakfast, skipping lunch at weekends when schools aren’t around to feed them. The country’s full of these miseries and the government’s piling miseries upon them, making out cuts to services are the only way of fixing the problem services didn’t get us into.

As a social worker I’m supposed to be part of the solution. Sometimes I am. If someone comes to the office claiming destitution and I can’t prove them wrong and they’ve got kids they might get a few quid. If someone comes to the office claiming destitution and I can’t prove them wrong but they’ve not got kids they won’t get anything unless they can drum up another crisis or two, like a spot of severe mental illness. More often now the solution’s being outsourced to charities. We send people to the Salvation Army for a bit of free food and to a furniture recycler that gives out decent stuff for a few quid. And we apply to Buttle UK, a cracking charity I hadn’t heard of ten weeks ago and now rely on.

They give small grants to people who need them, providing things so basic we should be embarrassed they have to. They give people beds, bedding, cookers, washing machines and fridge freezers, and cash to buy vital bits and pieces we barely even think about having. If they didn’t, people wouldn’t have them. They get to be the Chazza of the Month. You can help them continue their low-key awesomeness by donating a few quid. And, yes, you could argue it’s shocking to have to turn to charity to get this kind of help for vulnerable families, but then you’re a pinko Commie. Its no better than they deserve given their colossal tax evasion, massive fraud and lead role in the global financial crisis.

Photo credit: Buttle UK