One child in three is living below the poverty line in parts of Kingston. As part of a new series of features David Lindsell spoke to parents about poverty and how the council intends to tackle it.
A single mum is one of a growing number of people forced to rely on food donations to put a meal on the table for her child.
Shannon Reynolds, 26, quit her job as a chef in Kingston to look after her 17-month-old daughter.
But she is only left with a small amount of money each week to pay for clothes, food, nappies and other bills for her and Amelie Rose at their home in New Malden.
Bouts of depression, triggered after she was attacked a few years ago in Camden, have not helped.
She said: “Financially it is really difficult as a single parent.
“Day-to-day life is really expensive.
“I have gone without meals. I buy things in a charity shop or Primark. If I have a spare £20 it goes on Amelie or educational toys.
“It scares me. I just don’t feel I’ll ever get the opportunity to get myself out of this situation. I want to give her the opportunity I didn’t necessarily have.”
But despite her tough situation, she said she did not see herself as living in poverty.
She said: “I suppose I am, but I have never really put myself in that bracket.”
Kingston Food Bank has given her food on a few occasions after she and others were identified as eligible for the emergency supplies donated by shoppers, churchgoers and others.
Miss Reynolds said: “It felt like it was Christmas. It really does make a huge difference. It is such a relief as well as the help. They were lovely.”
She said no-one should feel embarrassed about needing to rely on donations to live.
She said: “No. Grateful – not embarrassed. I would have been before I was in this situation.
“I would have felt sorry for them. People aren’t aware and they are embarrassed because they feel they are scroungers or whatever.”
Read how a father on his sick bed wept as he described how his wife and two daughters fell into financial problems.