What’s it like to live on a pound a day? Two Hackney residents tell us their story

Charity workers Giancarlo Angelucci, left, and Alex Britten, both from Hackney, have completed the c

Charity workers Giancarlo Angelucci, left, and Alex Britten, both from Hackney, have completed the challenge of living on £1 a day for food and drink for five days. - Credit: Archant

Two Hackney residents lived off a pound per day for a week as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of 1.4billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide.

Compassionate charity workers Giancarlo Angelucci, 36, and Alex Britton, 25, sacrificed daily luxuries such as coffee, meat and fruit in exchange for lentils and rice.

Mr Angelucci, of Hertford Road, Dalston works as a support officer at charity Restless development, which is one of several NGO’s supporting the Live Below the Line campaign.

This is the second time he has undertaken the challenge which he describes as “eye-opening”.

“Overall, my diet was a bit repetitive. I lived off a lot of rice and lentils”, he said. “When I did it two years ago, I ate a lot of rice but you can’t eat just carbs. This year I ate more lentils and beans but not many vegetables or fruit. I had a little pasta which was very basic - just a little olive oil and some condiment.

I gave up coffee which is one of my favourite things. I had plain biscuits. There were no nice treats like croissants.

“It was really hard as you realise the pyschological aspect of it. You treat yourself during the day to keep yourself going and when you can’t you realise how big treats are in your daily life.

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“It’s also hard knowing your resources are so limited. It makes you worry a lot especially as you are not able to choose what you eat.

“We are lucky to have the liberty to afford what we want to eat and have a range of foods.”

Colleague Alex Britten, of Provost Street, Shoreditch also took part in the challenge last year. The youth engagement officer said: “Last year I did it myself so I could not go out. This year I cooked with friends.

“Last year I had lots of rice and pasta. This year I did some recipes. I focused on taste more than quality. I had a vegetable curry and a bacon, mushroom and ale casserole.

“Most of it was Asda smart price stuff - for example the ale was 26 pence. I also had a disgusting amount of custard creams.”

“I would not say it’s enjoyable. You realise the issues while doing it.

“It’s difficult to have a healthy diet. You have to fill up on carbs and it does not make you feel good.

“There were low points. I had an argument with the friends who were also doing it. One night everyone was a bit grouchy as the food was taking a while to cook.

“However, you can also see the end point unlike people living below the poverty line.

“The first day after you finish you realise can go and buy anything you like but that’s not possible for people living below the breadline.”

Around five thousand people in the UK are taking part in Live Below the Line campaign this week. For more information and to donate, visit www.livebelowtheline.com/uk.