A Word or Ten, from The Breadline Mum

I never know how to start these things. “Hello”, “Hey”, “Welcome”, “Howdy”. They all make you sound a bit of an eejit don’t they?

So, without the weird pleasantries, my name is Lucie Hill-Hempstead. I’m a mother to two fantastic, cheeky children, Ella and Jack. We live in a decent enough one bedroom flat in North London, near to where I was born and bred. We live with the children’s father who works his arse off to cover the ridiculous cost of living in London. Yep, that’s right; four people, one bedroom. Welcome to the age of the London Housing Crisis!

So, here’s a bit of background. I was a young mother, pregnant at 17, living in East Sussex and I had my daughter at 18. I moved back home to my dad’s during my pregnancy when I realised that I didn’t like the father very much after all and the “nesting” kicked in. I think it’s quite natural to feel vulnerable during pregnancy and want to be near home and family, so home I went. Less than a year later, I found myself homeless with my child. Being turned away by local authorities for housing and having to sleep rough is one of the many examples of situations I have unfortunately found myself in over the years that have lead me to be so passionate about the causes I campaign for and keep me inspired to keep campaigning, to keep fighting and keep writing, until the day we see a fairer society that works for everyone.

During 2015 and early 2016 I am proud to say that I worked passionately and tirelessly in co-establishing The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness. In my time working for the campaign, I organised a well-attended campaign launch event at Unite HQ in London, with speakers such as David Lammy MP, followed by what became a weekly street outreach programme which I organised and ran, in which Labour and trade union volunteers would join us in preparing warm food and drinks to distribute, along with many other vital supplies that we had collected through donations to rough sleepers on the streets of North West London. Over five days, I also organised and planned the biggest street outreach event London had ever seen on New Year’s Eve. During the ten-hour session, we served over three hundred rough sleepers and saw the New Year in among friends and strangers. It was honestly the most special and unique New Year’s Eve I’ve ever experienced and I was pleased that it featured on the front page of The Morning Star on New Year’s Day 2016. This type of activism is completely unique to the Labour Party and something that I’m very proud to have established. My vision was to bring Labour Party activism back to its grass roots; by the people, for the people.

As well as my work on the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness, I previously ran an anti-austerity campaign for parents named Mums Against the Cuts back in 2011. At its peak, it was a big, national campaign organisation with support and affiliates all over the country, including branches of UK Uncut. During this time, I also wrote for the Greater London Pensioners Association magazine. Since I joined the Labour Party in 2011, I have been involved in several campaigns at all levels, have organised various events, such as demonstrations against Atos in 2014, I have had some articles published on various online outlets, such as politics.co.uk, spoken out against the benefit cap on television, set up my own homelessness organisation, campaigned in many elections with my CLP and represented my CLP at the Labour Party Conference this year. Earlier this year I was interviewed and accepted onto the panel to run for local council, which I hope to do in the next local elections. I thoroughly enjoy learning about and being involved in politics locally and nationally and being so inspired by other women like Angela Rayner and Teresa Pearce, who were also young single mothers from working class backgrounds, I am determined to pursue a career in the field myself and to inspire more young women and mothers to do the same. For now though, it’s just me, my laptop and my rants 😉

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