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Teaching assistant at John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford, Katy Walklet, and her children face homelessness at Christmas

A SCHOOL teaching assistant and her children are facing destitution this Christmas.

Katy Walklet, a Hungerford mother-of-two, is about to lose her home amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Katy Walklet with her youngest child, Milo
Katy Walklet with her youngest child, Milo

Ms Walklet, who works at John O’Gaunt School, said: “I currently privately rent a property that I have been the tenant of for over six years, struggling to even pay the incredibly reasonable rent my landlord has kept for me since my separation in 2020.

“Despite working and claiming universal credit, I’ve maxed out two credit cards just through the cost of living.

“My landlord has now asked me to move, and I don't have a hope of affording a private rent in this area.

“My wages and universal credit combined won’t cover basic rent and bills, never mind food and clothing and so on.

“And if I get a second job, then my universal credit drops.”

Ms Walklet said she applied in May to be placed on West Berkshire Council’s housing list but that application is still pending.

She added: “I know of houses in Inkpen, Hungerford and Wickham which have been empty for around a year, but apparently these homes need work.

“So why not let me have a roof over mine and my children's heads and I, my family and friends will do the work needed?

“I'll pay the rent, the house will be improved and my children will have a home for Christmas.”

Ms Walklet, whose children are aged seven and 14 years, went on: “My mental health is at an all time low; I’m permanently anxious and depressed, which is being treated with medication.

“My daughter is also suffering with anxiety through not knowing if we will have a home over Christmas or whether we will be forced to move away from our entire support network, schools and jobs.”

She said that she had considered taking a second job – but that would mean a cut in her universal credit payments.

Ms Walklet said Newbury MP Laura Farris has contacted West Berkshire Council on her behalf but had not yet had a reply.

She said she, too, has not had a response to emails sent to a West Berkshire Council housing officer explaining her predicament as the clock counts down to her eviction.

The Newbury Weekly News has also contacted West Berkshire Council but has not yet had a response.

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