COST OF LIVING CRISIS: Christmas takes its toll on people of Rugby as cost of living hits hard

“There are days when I’ve genuinely not known how I am going to afford to eat or stay warm.”

Winter Williams.
Winter Williams.

Christmas is going to look a lot different for thousands of people living in Rugby as the cost of living crisis hits homes across the borough.

For some parents living in poverty, December 25 is just another day in a long battle to feed and keep their children warm.

Rugby mum Winter Williams said: “There are days when I’ve genuinely not known how I am going to afford to eat or stay warm.

Rhianna Conway.

"Gas prices are so unreasonable. Sometimes I’m deciding between being hungry or being cold since the temperature has dropped. People shouldn’t have to live like this so that greedy organisations can continue to profit by millions”

Local businesses have also been badly hit.

Rhianna Conway, who owns The Old Plough in Braunston, recently took over the running of the pub.

She said: “We are suffering immensely.

Nigel Jones.

"Currently we can’t afford oil to heat our flat above the pub. We have had to buy three electric heaters to heat both the downstairs and upstairs.

"I have worked in my office as I work from home and it’s been so cold I can see my breath. For my birthday, I asked for an Oodie (hooded blanket) to keep warm during the day which has saved my life for the most part. I have mostly been working downstairs in the pub as we have an open fire but the cost of wood rivals that of oil or electric and we have honestly spent hundreds. It’s not viable.”

She said her business is suffering because people can’t afford to eat out.

“This has a knock-on effect on being able to afford both the electric and oil needed to heat the establishment as we are barely ticking over. Little to no help is being offered to businesses in times like this and the old saying of use it or lose it applies here. Small family-run businesses are suffering and there is little that can be done. We have a variety of food offers on to help those that need it including things like 50% off your meal Mondays and Tuesdays, we even offer an initiative called The Soup Corner where patrons can get a free homemade soup with every hot drink Monday-Wednesday, but the interest just isn’t there. Something needs to be done and soon.”

Chris Organ.

Chris Organ, who lives in Rugby, has seen his energy bills rise steeply.

"My wife and I have no children and both work full time,” said Chris.

"We have seen the fuel for the cars go up and extra £30 a week. Energy bills are up to over £200 a month and weekly shopping is up by £30. We have stopped eating out and have had to make a few sacrifices just to live the way we were 12 months ago. We have decided this year we won't 'do Christmas' and save the money we would’ve spent instead. I feel for the single parents and people on low incomes as it must be a scary time.”

Nigel Jones, who lives in Rugby and runs Facebook community page Spotted: Rugby Town but amusing, said: “Like most people, I’m feeling the pinch. Every time I go shopping the prices are jumping up, and not just by a few pence but by 50p or £1.

Journalism student Katrine Vavere.

"I’ve so far resisted putting the heating on, but with the recent cold snap, I’ll have to. I’m lucky that in recent years my family have started a secret Santa, which means buying less presents. I feel for the families who aren’t as fortunate as myself.”

Journalism student Katrine Vavere has been on work experience with the Rugby Advertiser.

She took to the streets of Rugby to find out how people are coping as prices spiral.

Regardless of finances, Christmas can be a stressful time as there is so much to prepare for.

But this year, the cost-of-living crisis means that many people will have to decide how they will afford this festive season.

Michelle, 50, said: “We have bought a lot of Christmas presents earlier rather than leaving them until a mad rush later because I think we tend to spend more.

David.

“We are not putting the heating on anywhere near the amount that we used to. In fact, it is probably once a day that the heating goes on at night and we are at home most of the time.”

Heidi, 49, said that she is lucky enough that both she and her husband have a good income, but the rise in the cost of living still affects them both.

She said: “The income bracket we’re in means we don’t get any financial support from anywhere, so we have made the choice with all extended family not to get presents this year because they are all in the same boat. So, this Christmas will not involve as many treats as we have had before.”

Angela, 56, said that for her, money isn’t going to go as far as it did previously. This Christmas, she will be buying fewer presents and prioritising what is most essential.

She said: “It will be a case of weighing up what is most important. I enjoy going out, but the price of drinks in pubs is very high now, so that reduces the options for me to go out and socialise.

“So, I would consider going to the supermarket, buying a few drinks, and then going to a friend’s house to socialise that way instead.”

Helen, 74, said: “It affects me quite a bit. Usually every Christmas, I give money to my family as a gift, but this year I will not be able to give them any financial support like I used to.

“My weekly shopping has also become hard work, as it is costing more and I’m buying less.”

Jane, 45, said: “I have reduced the budget per person in terms of what I am spending on Christmas presents. I have probably reduced it by about a third, so it is changing how I am shopping, including food shopping, which is a bit more of a savvy way.

“Also obviously thinking about utility bills, so I’m factoring in the cost of energy into the overall cost of Christmas.”

Sheela, 63, has lived in Rugby for 11 years and is being evicted from her flat and is currently looking for a place to live. She is not looking forward to this Christmas as she has had a tough year after having lost family members throughout the last year.

She said: “I’m going through depression, and on top of that there’s the high cost of living. Food, water, and electricity costs are going up and I need to find a new place to live, but the cheapest I can find for rentals is £825 per month, and my pay to get through these bills is just not enough.”

David, 81, says that generally, he has not yet felt hit by the rise in costs.

Christmas is spent with his family every year, and it will remain the same this year.

He said that the only difference this

year would be that this festive season would have to be a “little more modest” than before and that it will be a “slightly scaled back Christmas”.

Angela.
Heidi.
Heidi.