It costs more to be poor

Mustard Tree’s Round-Up

It costs more to be poor

It costs more to be poor

This week we’ve been thinking a lot about the Poverty Premium, where families on low incomes could end up paying over £1,000 more a year for everyday goods and services – simply due to their financial circumstances.

How does that work? Taking steps to keep costs down may seem straightforward, but won’t be as achievable for people who do not have the disposable income to budget and plan. For instance, 50% of people who took part in a Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) survey said they ‘pay their energy bills through a prepayment meter”, which can be around £142 a year more expensive than paying monthly by direct debit.

There are many factors contributing to the poverty premium, but the below quote by Terry Pratchett from his book ‘Men at Arms’ sums up the issue perfectly:

“A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet” – Terry Pratchett

For more about the poverty premium and to view the full report by GMPA, click here.

A Look inside our Community Shops

If it costs more to be poor, then this article by our Community and Events Coordinator Laura explains why furniture, white goods, food and clothing donations for our Community Shops can provide a lifeline for so many across Greater Manchester.

Making essential items available at low-cost – or gifted through our furniture vouchers – prevents people from turning to payday loans and ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes, which so often lead to spiraling debt and consequential stress.

Making a House a Home

If you think you can support our Community Shops through in-kind donations, please visit our website or email

Greater Manchester High Sheriff Visit

Last week we welcomed Mrs Diane Hawkins, High Sheriff of Greater Manchester – for a tour of our Ancoats hub and to discuss our ‘coming out of Covid’ plans.


The High Sheriff said: “I’m so impressed by all that is happening at Mustard Tree. What a fantastic job and such brilliant staff and volunteers. Manchester is very lucky to have them showing the way to meet the challenges of so many people in our community. A privilege to meet them all”.

Repeal of the Vagrancy Act

There was a win for dignity this week as the government has made the decision to repeal the 200 year-old Vagrancy Act, an “offensive and outdated” law which has sparked controversy and debate for years. The Big Issue has covered the story, which you can read here.

PJ Livesey

A big thank you to all our corporate and community supporters who are heeding the call by setting up clothing and food donation drives in offices around Greater Manchester – including PJ Livesey who have utilised their surplus office-space brilliantly.

PJ Livesey

Want to get involved? Link up with us by visiting our website, email or call 0161 228 7331.

Final Word

We want to say a huge well done to Shazia and Bayan, who both graduated from the Freedom Project this week! Both trainees volunteered in our Community Shop, whilst taking part in our Customer Service classes to boost their confidence over the last few months.

Bayan with her mother, Pascal and Heather

Shazia and Bayan are now pursuing careers in healthcare and nursing – we wish them the best of luck for the future!

Upcoming events:

Punk in Drublic Poetry in aid of Mustard Tree (last few tickets remaining)

Mustard Tree Charity Abseil at the Trafford Centre

Can you help us combat poverty and prevent homelessness?

If you enjoy reading our newsletter and want to support our work, the best way you can do this is by joining the Real 10k and setting up a regular gift to help keep our services running. We have an aim to recruit 10,000 donors – each giving £5 a month – to help secure our charity for years to come – and create lasting change across Manchester and Salford.

Please join us in this mission by clicking the button below.

Join the Real 10k

To our partners who are already supporting us with a monthly donation, please share this newsletter with friends, family members and colleagues – and thank you so much for all your ongoing support. Your kind donations are vital for us to continue our work and much appreciated by us all.

© 2018 - Mustard Tree | Registered Charity No. 1135192 | Registered Company No. 04386613