A 20-year-old man has resorted to showering at the gym and only eating Pot Noodles as he struggles to survive the cost of living crisis.
Ashley Goudou, from Mancroft in Bristol, works 10-hour shifts seven days a week, for as little as £6.81 an hour, as he tries to make ends meet.
He lives alone in a one-bedroom flat with his four dogs and four rescue cats.
Between shifts, the factory worker has to walk for an hour in the dark to get home as he cannot afford a bike to get to work.
Speaking to the Mirror, Ashley said he survives mainly on Pot noodles as they are the cheapest meal he can afford, and that he showers at the gym because he can’t afford the gas to wash at home.
‘I always worry at the end of the month if I have enough money to feed the dogs – but I’d rather feed them than myself,’ he said.
The 20-year-old explained how he was raised in a care home until moving out at 16, and how despite earning nearly £2,000 a month at his job, he struggles to get by after the cost of bills and food has tripled in the last year.
He now spends more than £1,000 a month on rent, gas, water and WiFi, which leaves him with very little to spend on himself once he’s done paying for his pets’ food and care.
‘I never know at the end of the month if I’ve got enough to look after myself and the dogs. That really worries me,’ he told the Mirror.
‘I have lots of debts and my WiFi and gas has been cut off. I can’t pay for it all.’
Ashley relies on kind donations from the Bristol Animal Rescue Centre to keep his eight beloved pets fed and vaccinated.
Every Wednesday, he visits Ambition Lawrence Weston community centre for free vet check-ups and to pick up dog beds, cat litter and bags of food.
He added: ‘I used to feed them four times a day, now I feed them twice and buy supermarket-own brands. Handing them into a rescue isn’t an option for me, I wouldn’t have the heart. I’d rather not feed myself.’
In lockdown, Ashley took in 12 rescue cats when a friend could no-longer care for them.
Four ended up staying with him- Tinkerbell, Messy, Red and Ruby. They joined his four dogs, five-year-old Frenchies Blue and Willow, seven-year-old bulldog Dolche and two-year-old bulldog Bruno.
The lifelong animal lover aspires to become a vet one day and says his pets are a lifeline for his mental health and wellbeing.
‘I suffer with bad mental health. Earlier in the year, I separated from my partner and I felt suicidal. The dogs kept me going and gave me purpose,’ he said.
‘The Government don’t see the effects the cost of living has on people.
‘I used to eat two healthy meals a day and now I’m just eating Pot Noodles because it’s all I can really afford. I walk to the gym to shower because I can’t afford gas at home to have a bath. It’s ridiculous.’
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