Homeless family thankful for help to eat at Christmas

Eastfield Guest House, Eastfield Road where Keith and Stephanie Locke are living in one room with their daughter Sarah (12) and their disabled daughter Emma (7). Emma has to be carried around the room as there is no wheelchair access. EMN-170111-164426009
Eastfield Guest House, Eastfield Road where Keith and Stephanie Locke are living in one room with their daughter Sarah (12) and their disabled daughter Emma (7). Emma has to be carried around the room as there is no wheelchair access. EMN-170111-164426009
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A homeless family said they would have had no food on Christmas Day if a kind person hadn’t paid for them to eat in a hotel.

The couple were unable to buy presents for their children Sarah (12) and Emma (7) this year, and Stephanie said: “They have coped really well. That’s made it slightly better for us because you feel like complete let downs.”

After being given notice to leave by their previous landlord, the family were put up by Peterborough City Council in a room in Eastfield Guest House which was too small for disabled Emma to fit her wheelchair in.

They are now in a flat in St Michael’s Gate as they wait for their own home.

The couple sold second-hand clothing but had to close their business because of the guest house’s facilities, which is why they claimed UC. They said they received an advanced payment of £650 but their first full payment has not arrived.

Stephanie added: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. We are a family with bills to pay. If we hadn’t gone to the hotel we wouldn’t have eaten at Christmas.

“We’ll have to go back to the foodbank. We’ve always been a hardworking family providing for our own and this feels like scrounging.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said UC was helping people move into work faster.