Our Work


Episode 3 of 3 – Thursday, 8th August 2019

With the cost of living rising and one third of British workers receiving a pay rise of less than 1% last year, Broke follows nine families during a critical year as their financial future hangs in the balance.

Lorraine is an intensive care nurse for the NHS in Manchester. She hasn’t had a pay rise in eight years and is working on the front line of NHS cuts. With inflation and the rising cost of living, she earns thousands of pounds less after tax than in 2010. Lorraine was on duty on the night of the Manchester bombings and continues to feel the emotional strain to this day. After getting divorced, her home was almost repossessed. Financial pressures continue to affect family life and her relationship.

After the reduction of public bus services, Eryl was forced to leave her family and beloved hometown of Penygroes in Wales, to find work in Liverpool. She earns the National Living Wage but her zero hour contract means that she doesn’t know how much she will take home each week. She often has very little money left after paying her mortgage in Wales and rent in Liverpool. She forages for foliage on roundabouts to make Christmas wreaths to earn a little extra money and avoid getting into debt.

Kevin from North Ayrshire works over 100 hours a week and manages four businesses. The area is one of the poorest places in the UK and the unemployment rate here is twice the national average. He offers budget funeral services, cut-price MOTs, taxi services and also runs a local café. The self-confessed workaholic also delivers takeaways at night to save for his son’s long term future. However, all this work comes at a huge cost. Kevin rarely has time to spend with his son and girlfriend that he works so hard to support.

Bukola is a care worker living in Cambridge after migrating from Nigeria 20 years ago. She also studies social care at college to improve her qualifications and set a good example for her daughter Venus. She often works unsociable hours and doesn’t earn enough to cover the costs of child care. Bukola dreams that her hard work will pay off and that her daughter will have a better life. However, her application for permanent residence in the UK, threatens her ability to earn enough money to care for her daughter.

Episode 2 of 3 – Thursday, 1st August 2019

With the cost of living rising, and over four million working-age adults now working in the gig economy, Broke follows nine families during a critical year as their financial future hangs in the balance.

Steve and his son Billy are casual workers from Hastings. Steve is desperate to find full-time work but he is unlikely to be considered without a permanent address. Despite being homeless for six months, they do not qualify as a top priority for council accommodation. The father and son will do anything they can to escape the cycle of homelessness and unemployment and avoid relying on foodbanks.

Tyrone left home at 16 after his relationship with his mother broke down. He is determined to secure a privately rented room after spending two weeks homeless. As he is under 18, he isn’t eligible for housing benefit. He works on a zero-hours contract at McDonalds, which means he can’t guarantee that he will earn enough money each week to cover his rent.

Angelica is an Ecuadorian migrant working in London. She studies English all day and works night shifts as a cleaner at a luxury car dealership. She was suspended by her employment agency after requesting a pay rise to the London living wage. Due to the high cost of living, she is forced to consider leaving London and being separated from her son. With the help of a union, she is struggling for her right to fair pay and to keep her family together.

Episode 1 of 3 – Thursday, July 25th 2019

Our personal finances are one of the last great taboos, but while employment is at a record high in Britain, more and more working households are privately struggling to make ends meet. In this series, families from across the UK reveal what it really means to be in work, but still only ‘just about managing’.

With the cost of living rising, and one third of British workers having less than £500 in savings, this series follows nine families during a critical year as their financial future hangs in the balance.

Steve and his son Billy are casual workers from Hastings. After they lost their full-time jobs, they also lost their home. They now live in tents on the beach and winter is coming. Steve relies on zero-hours agency work, and Billy works when he can as a tree surgeon, but neither know how many hours they will be asked to work each week. Together they hope to be able to afford a roof over their heads before the weather closes in.

Ross from Port Talbot has worked full-time at the local steel works for 20 years. His pay has failed to keep up with the rising cost of living and he now earns less after tax than when he started. With three children, a mortgage and credit card debt, he picks up extra shifts to help the family’s tight budget. Ross’s passion is amateur wrestling and with a big match coming up he is desperate to make his kids proud. But when you have to work every hour you are given, there is not much practice time in the ring.

Mark lives in London and once worked as successful celebrity photographer. He is now part of the gig economy working as an Uber driver. After a life of freelancing, he doesn’t have savings or a pension and retirement is a distant dream. He knows a short illness or a few points on his licence could mean losing his home. Together with his partner and kids, he faces an uncertain financial future.


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