Mum-of-three living ‘hand to mouth’ after Covid strips entire 2020 income
- Credit: DONNA REID
A self-employed photographer and mum-of-three from Ipswich said the wedding industry is being “left to rot” as she struggles to provide for her family following the impact of coronavirus.
Donna Reid turned her passion for photography into a full-time career just two years ago, after more than four years working part-time and building up her clientele.
The single mum has three children aged 13, 11 and nine, and is finding it difficult to get by on less than 20% of her yearly salary.
“Pretty much overnight my whole income for 2020 was gone,” explained Ms Reid, who moved to Ipswich 15 years ago.
“I’ve gone from making £30,000 in a year to a maximum of £5,000, which is very stressful and almost impossible to provide for my family.”
Ms Reid, who specialises in wedding photography but also takes pictures of newborn babies, has only been officially working full-time for her photography business – named Konjo – for the last two years, impacting the amount she could claim from the government.
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She said the Universal Credit allowance is “barely enough to live on as a family” and she has only received £1,500 from the government in the last six months.
“It’s been a really tough time, we are living hand to mouth at the moment.”
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Ms Reid felt she had no other choice but to take out a loan – something which she is unsure she will be able to pay back anytime soon.
“I’ve still got a business to maintain,” she said. “I can’t close down my website or my galleries otherwise all my hard work will be undone.
“It’s really scary because this isn’t going to go away very soon.”
During the lockdown and once restrictions had eased, Ms Reid photographed families on their doorsteps and even launched a second business in the form of an online marketing website – but sadly this isn’t enough to pay the bills.
If the country goes into a huge recession she fears there is no way her business will take off.
“I don’t want my photography business to go under, it would be heartbreaking,” she added.
She feels the wedding industry has been “forgotten about” and not just photographers, but hairdressers, make-up artists and wedding planners have all been affected.
She said: “A whole bunch of us have been left to rot, even though the wedding industry contributes millions to the economy.
“It’s really sad and the rules are so inconsistent. Kids are allowed to sing in their class at school but a wedding of 30 people inside a church cannot – it makes no sense to me.”
Ms Reid has her first full-day wedding to photograph this week, with 30 guests, speeches and a first dance.
She is excited for the day – but also worries guests won’t stick to guidelines, putting her in an awkward position.
“It’s a stressful time, but I have to make do.”