From cancelling Netflix to new jobs: Cost of living crisis bites families

We spoke to people in the Dereham and Fakenham area about the rising cost of living

We spoke to people in the Dereham and Fakenham area about the rising cost of living - Credit: PA/Rebecca Gooderson

It's fair to say almost everybody is being affected by the cost of living crisis.

From couples and young families, to businesses and the elderly, people in Norfolk and across the UK are already feeling the pinch.

Evidently, the rising price of food, energy and fuel is having a bigger impact on some than others, but what's certain is that thousands are being forced to make significant changes to their daily spending habits.

Elsie Gooderson celebrating her fifth birthday with her family, mum Rebecca, Jordan Hunt, and two-ye

Rebecca Gooderson (right) and her family, who live in Fakenham - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Among them is Rebecca Gooderson, a mum-of-three who lives with her family in Fakenham. 

Her living situation is made more complex by the fact that one of her children, Elsie, suffers from a rare health condition that causes breathing difficulties.

Equipment designed to maximise Elsie's wellbeing costs a lot of money to power, meaning the family's energy spend at home is higher than average.

Against a backdrop of needing to care for her daughter, Mrs Gooderson admitted that rising costs had become a real worry.

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Her dad - who takes Elise to and from hospital appointments - has even decided to swap his car for an electric vehicle to avoid paying through the nose for petrol. 

“We've been looking at our outgoings and it's a concern given the rises in every area of living costs," said Mrs Gooderson. 

Elsie Gooderson, from Fakenham, suffers from Kagami Ogata Syndrome, meaning she must use a ventilator to breathe

Elsie Gooderson, from Fakenham, suffers from Kagami Ogata Syndrome, meaning she must use a ventilator to breathe - Credit: Rebecca Gooderson

“Elsie's needs for ventilation, oxygen and numerous electrical machines all require constant power, and her room has to be heated to a set temperature daily.

“All of this is essential and things that are out of our control, so we have no way of reducing our usage to save."

And Mrs Gooderson was in no doubt that subscriptions to television streaming services such as Netflix would be the first things to go. 

"We're having to look at where we can adjust," she added.

"We'll certainly be cancelling our subscriptions and cutting back on things that were classed as more of a luxury than necessity.

"I think we'll have more structured meal plans to reduce food costs, and generally we'll continue being mindful of what's being spent."

The Dereham Times and Fakenham and Wells Times have launched the Your Money Matters campaign

The Dereham Times and Fakenham and Wells Times have launched the Your Money Matters campaign - Credit: Archant

Big changes are being seen in countless other households across the area.

Rose, who lives in a village near Dereham, has taken on a new job to help cover increasing costs. 

After finding out her energy bills were set to triple, the 32-year-old went back to work as a nighttime carer. 

The mother-of-two was pressed in action after realising a second source of income would be needed to support her young family.

"We have been a one-income family and we were living comfortably but, with everything else, it's going to add up," she said. 

A homeowner turning down the temperature of a gas boiler in the face of the cost-of-living crisis

A homeowner turning down the temperature of a gas boiler in the face of the cost-of-living crisis - Credit: PA

“We cannot pass on childcare to friends or family, so it is not easy for us. I had to find a job at night, rather than during the day, so I could leave the kids with my husband.

“Hopefully, I’m getting ahead of feeling the pinch by taking the job. Our current energy tariff doesn't end until next month, so we hope to have a little bit of extra money so we can take the children out in the summer holidays."

It is not just families being hit hard at the moment, but businesses too. 

The Gallow, a sports centre and bar in Fakenham, has seen the cost of pretty much everything increase - from cooking oil to food. 

Manager Sally McGrath said everyone in the hospitality industry had found themselves in the same boat. 

She added: "The cost for us to bring in food has gone up; the chef said the oil for the fryer has spiked.

Manager Sally McGrath in the newly decorated Lancaster Room, the main function and dining room at Th

Manager Sally McGrath in the newly decorated Lancaster Room, the main function and dining room at The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"She brought a tray of fish and that had gone up by £10, so you’re having to watch everything all the time.

“Our own food prices are going up, but it is the same everywhere and there is not an awful lot we can do about it."

To address what could be the most difficult year in living memory for so many families, the Times launched a new campaign last week entitled 'Your Money Matters'.  

We are determined to do whatever we can to help our readers through the cost of living crisis. 

Our reporters will commit to telling your stories, sharing both your struggles and successes.

But we also want to help find practical solutions to ease the burden, and highlight ways people can support others who are living on the breadline.

If you are willing to share what you're going through, get in touch by emailing thomas.chapman@archant.co.uk or call 07785425104.