Like new mums everywhere during the pandemic, Seona Galbally has been relying on her phone to keep her connected to the outside world.
But when the coronavirus crisis wiped out the 46-year-old’s income, she was faced with a stark choice – pay the phone bill or do the shopping.
That’s when Dundee workers from charity Home-Start stepped in to help.
The organisation helps support young families with all kinds of different needs and in Seona’s case that meant something as simple as offering to help with the phone bill.
She said she was grateful for the help.
“If I didn’t have my phone I would go into complete depression. It is my lifeline and my connection to the world outside. When I’m breastfeeding my two babies it’s the only thing I can reach for.”
Seona, who lives near Claypotts Castle in the east end of the city, is a single parent to twin boys Ziggy and Zen, who are almost two.
Her family are originally from Invergowrie, but she was born and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She returned to Scotland when her parents retired in the country.
She found herself struggling with work after her nursery reduced capacity and no longer had a place available for both twins.
No phone, no support
It wasn’t long before the bills started to mount up and she had to look hard at making any savings she could.
Seona was relieved to get the essential help from Home-Start.
“During lockdown, I’ve been able to call my wonderful neighbours if I needed any essentials like milk and bread. If I couldn’t pay my phone bill I would no longer have access to this support,” she added.
“Only recently I had to call my neighbour at night to help me when my house alarm kept going off. My young twins were both have a tantrum in the bath and couldn’t leave them for safety reasons.
“My phone is the only way I can connect to the support I need during these strange times.”
Parents ‘cut off’ from the world
Peter Grigg, CEO, Home-Start UK said the pandemic had been hardest on families already facing challenges, such as low incomes.
“At a time when the pandemic has severed physical connections between households for many, online interactions have been increasingly vital for ensuring that parents with young children don’t feel isolated and cut off from the world outside their living room.”
Retailers John Lewis and Waitrose are supporting Home-Start and foodbank charity FareShare through the Give A Little Love Campaign.
The company set up a £1m fund and is match funding donations from its customers.