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Guest Blog: The Living Wage in the Third Sector

Following this year's Third Sector event for Living Wage Week, we heard from Mattea Sykes, a worker in the Third Sector, on the importance of the Living Wage to her. 

"I earned more per hour in my first ever job as a Seasonal Sales Assistant at a high street jewellers.... than I did as a Youth Worker- working with some of my communities most vulnerable young people. 

I loved my job as a Youth Worker, but it was hard work both physically & emotionally. There was training on weekends & evenings, a lot of planning, safeguarding concerns & challenging behaviour. I earnt minimum wage. It went up by about 30p per hour when I turned 21. 

I was lucky that I lived in cheap, secure accommodation & was good with money so I was able to get by. But I was never able to scrape together savings or buy anything other than essentials. I really wanted to learn how to drive- thinking it would improve my career prospects as well as my personal life, but I could never afford the lessons letalone a car or insurance! 

I then got a job working as a Peer Researcher for Young Women's Trust, and later Turn2Us where I got paid the living wage. It might have only been an extra £2 an hour but it's had a huge impact on me. I've been able to get together a decent amount of savings for the first time! 

Even simple things like- my cat suddenly needed to go to the vet last month. I was able to pay for the bill immediately without worry, but if I'd still have been on minimum wage it would have spent up my rent or groceries money. I feel like I have a safety net now, which I've never had before. I'm hoping to learn to drive once lockdown is over. 

The Third Sector is fantastic- it's built up of caring, talented, hard working individuals that want to make positive change & support their communities.... and our pay should reflect that."

9th December 2020
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