Poverty leaving many struggling without home appliances



National poverty charity Turn2us is warning that many of those seeking its help are living without basic home appliances such as a cooker, fridge, freezer or washing machine.

New research into those seeking its help found that a quarter do not have a freezer, while 21% do not have a washing machine. The research also found that 15% of respondents didn’t have a cooker and 16% didn’t have a fridge. The charity says that living without basic household appliances can have a serious impact on a person’s health and broader wellbeing, and makes it harder for them to manage on a limited budget.

The research sought to better understand the impact of living without basic household items and identified five main areas of concern:

1. Budgeting is much harder without household appliances such as a fridge or freezer, with those surveyed saying that they:

  • “Can't take advantage of buying larger quantities of food at a lower cost because freezer keeps defrosting”
  • “Can’t buy much freezer foods so have to buy day by day”
  • “Can’t buy food in bulk as often can get ruined”

2. Psychological and mental impact was also a key theme, with people saying:

  • “It makes me feel that I am having to struggle”
  • “It creates misery”
  • “It makes me really depressed”
  • “Adds to stress and worry”

3. Physical health concerns, with many saying that they were more likely to become ill as a result of not being able to refrigerate their food or cook it properly, saying that they were:

  • “Unable to have healthy meals”
  • “Unable to keep things cool”
  • “With only one ring I can't make good healthy meals"

4. Cleanliness and the stigma of wearing unclean clothes was also an issue raised frequently, as not being able to wash clothes as often as they would like to or having to hand wash them was also having a very negative impact on people, with respondents saying:

  • “Clothes often look and smell unclean”
  • “Dirty clothes make depression and anxiety worse”
  • “I have smelly clothing”
  • “My clothes never smell fresh and I don’t feel well”
  • “I wear clothes that are not clean, I can't change my bedding as often as I would like. It is very unpleasant and embarrassing”

5. Parenting and childcare, raising children without basic household appliances is leaving people to feel they were letting their children down and worried about the effect on them, saying:

  • “I can't cook meals for my children”
  • “I feel I'm not doing my job as a mother, as I'm unable to provide a daily nutritious meal for my two children”
  • “I am unable to feed and clean mine and my children's clothes without a washing machine and cooker”
  • “I work full time and have to hand wash all our clothes, when I should be spending time with my toddler”
  • “It makes it very difficult as our daughter is on the autistic spectrum and is very difficult when it comes to cleanliness and food”

Explaining why the charity is drawing attention to the numbers of people living without a household appliance, Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us, said:

“We have long been aware that many people are living without what most of us consider to be essential items. But worryingly our research reveals the underlying scale and devastating impact of life without basic household appliances. 

“Most of us can imagine how a broken fridge or washing machine would be inconvenient or a financial hiccup. But the reality for many households living without essential appliances is an intolerable struggle that’s leaving people further out of pocket and in some instances physically and mentally unwell. For those who are struggling financially, it’s never just about the money - our research shows in stark detail the knock-on effects of not having enough to make ends meet.

“People living without basic home appliances need to know that help is available through charitable organisations. Over £300 million in charitable grants is available in the UK – many of the different funds available will provide much needed cash to buy home appliances. It’s obvious to us that more needs to be done to raise awareness of their existence.”

Turn2us is urging anyone who is struggling to purchase household appliances to seek its help at The charity can help people understand and access the support that they are eligible for and entitled to, particularly eligibility for money that can help with the purchase of household appliances.