‘There’s more foodbanks in the UK than there are Mcdonald’s. That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ll ever hear.’
LadBaby, aka Mark Hoyle, is furious at the lack of support for families in the UK.
The 36-year-old dad-of-two, from Nottingham, lives in Hemel Hempstead with his wife Roxanne and their children.
They run the massively successful Ladbaby YouTube channel, which was founded in 2016 when Mark and Roxanne had their first son, Phoenix.
At the time, things weren’t easy for the couple. They routinely had to put back food as they struggled to keep their weekly shop under £20 and reached out to family members as a financial lifeline at their lowest points.
While the couple are no longer struggling financially, they’re all to aware of the skyrocketing costs , essentials everywhere are going up in price due to the cost of living crisis. The cost of baby formula – which Mark and Roxanne used for their two sons – has skyrocketed to £15. And there’s barely any help for parents who can’t afford it.
Ladbaby backed Metro’s Formula for Change campaign in a bid to change that – and Mark called for other dads to step up and do the same.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘When we started our family we were struggling to make ends meet. Every penny counted.
‘Having a child is so expensive and it’s only getting worse. I see the prices of nappies and formula and just think, “this just isn’t fair”.
‘Seeing how expensive formula milk is now, I don’t know how we would have coped. We’d have been faced with impossible choices just to get by.
‘My call to arms is to everyone to sign the Formula for Change petition. It affects everyone. There’s also so many families with mixed set-ups, maybe with one mum or one dad, with two dads, two mums, for example, where formula milk can be hugely helpful.’
Aside from their YouTube adventures and antics, LadBaby are best known for taking over the Christmas charts with several No 1 hits.
Songs such as We Built This City on Sausage Rolls and Sausage Rolls For Everyone – featuring the likes of Elton John and Ed Sheeran – have raised thousands of pounds for the Trussell Trust – a charity which they’re now ambassadors for.
This year, Ladbaby aren’t planning a Christmas single. Instead, they’re passing the baton ‘to the great British public’.
But as Mark and wife Roxanne say, helping people isn’t just for Christmas.
Mark told Metro.co.uk: ‘’When we started doing our songs, there were a lot of people who didn’t really understand the work of foodbanks.
‘They’d maybe see the donation points in supermarkets with the Trussell Trust logo, but might not have known how widely used they are.
‘There’s more foodbanks in the UK than there are McDonald’s. That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ll ever hear. Everyone can tell you where their nearest McDonald’s is, but the fact there’s more foodbanks is just ridiculous.
‘It’s strange in a way, we’re ideally trying to close down the thing we’re ambassadors for. They shouldn’t have to exist.’
Mark and Roxanne have visited foodbanks where they’ve met families first-hand who are struggling.
Often, they’d come in with heads bowed and a sense of ‘shame’ for using the service.
Mark and Roxanne want people to know they aren’t alone and encourage them to reach out for help. The couple also want the ‘powers that be’ to take notice of the true scale of Britain’s cost of living crisis.
Mark added: ‘There used to be a stereotype that people using foodbanks were all homeless. But there are people from all walks of lives using them, such as families who are working very hard but still can’t make ends meet.
‘Lots of foodbanks and babybanks have actually extended their hours to make sure they can be open for people coming back from work. We’ve had messages from nurses to say how they work full-time but still don’t get paid enough to afford food. It’s heartbreaking.
‘The thing about poverty is it affects everybody. It doesn’t matter your background.
‘I think we also have an issue where some men feel too proud to go into a foodbank or a babybank. They might feel like they’re failing by reaching out for help, but that’s not true at all.
‘If there are any dads out there struggling, please don’t feel ashamed. There’s help there to be used and we should be talking more about this.’
FORMULA FOR CHANGE: HOW YOU CAN HELP
Join Metro.co.uk and Feed in calling on the government to urgently review their infant formula legislation and give retailers the green light to accept loyalty points, all food bank vouchers and store gift cards as payment for infant formula.
Our aim is to take our petition to No.10 to show the Prime Minister this is an issue that can no longer be ignored.
The more signatures we get, the louder our voice, so please click here to sign our Formula for Change petition.
Things need to change NOW.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing Kirsten.Robertson@metro.co.uk
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