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A Girl Called Jack

Work: Freelance writer, Guardian food columnist and political commentator, freelance work includes the Daily Mirror, Independent, I, Observer Food Monthly, and Waitrose Kitchen magazine.

Campaigner: Anti-poverty campaigner for Oxfam; ambassador for Child Poverty Action Group, fundraiser for Oxfam through the annual Live Below The Line challenge, and fundraiser for Southend YMCA through the annual Sleep Easy challenge. Spoken at Conservative Party conference and Labour Party conference on poverty, food banks, and the impact of the welfare cuts. Attended the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Enniskillen, in 2013 as part of the Enough Food If campaign. Can often be found on marches and wielding petitions.

Awards: Winner: Diamond Jubilee Community Champion Award, Southend on Sea Borough Council, 2012. Winner: Judges Choice Award, Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards, 2013. Short listed: Maverick Award, The Groucho Club Soho, 2013 Winner: Courage & Inspiration Award, YMCA Youth Matters Awards, 2013.

Book:
A Girl Called Jack, published by Penguin Books, RRP £12.99. Release date: 27th February 2013. Available to order online at Waterstones, and The Hive (will deliver to your local independent book shop!)

Blog: http://www.agirlcalledjack.com

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

Email: jackmonroe@live.co.uk

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34 replies »

  1. From the young girl in high school who sang at Star for a Night….to where and what you are now – I am amazed and proud of your strength both physical and mental. I can say with certainty you inspire others xx

  2. Hi Jack. Love your stuff. Keep up the good work and dont let the buggers ever get you down. Your life will turn out well, of that I have no doubt.

  3. so,
    a) do you work?
    b) do you pay taxes ?
    c) do you pay your own rent / mortgage ?
    Bet the answer is:
    a) Not legally / declared.
    b) No way.
    c) No, housing benefit / child benefit etc

    • a) Yes I work.
      b) Apart from a period of unemployment from November 2011 – September 2012, yes I have always paid taxes.
      c) Yes I pay my rent, and rent private accommodation.

      I hope you didn’t actually bet on that, because you lost on all three counts.

      • Well said, Jack. It is unbelievable that there are people who really believe that anyone would want to be poor, on benefits and not work and that they think that people would actually opt for this in some way as an easy option. I am lucky. For now at least money is OK but who knows how long this will last as life is so unpredictable. I pay taxes and believe that this is necessary to ensure that society is a decent place for my kids to grow up in. I have three kids and as our whole family is vegetarian I just love your blog and have cooked many similar things myself on many occasions. I am lucky enough to be able to afford some luxuries for now but processed food is something that I try really hard to avoid as strongly believe that meat and processed foods are one the reasons that we have so many health problems (particularly cancer) in our society. I may be wrong but I am much happier to actually know what my kids are eating! Oh, and jam! Don’t forget jam. So much free fruit out there at the right time of year! Good luck with it all. I now have a big list of your recipies to try out! :)

  4. If there’s one thing I hate about the internet it’s people who slag off others whilst not being prepared to give their real names. It’s just cowardice.

  5. Loved your inspiring article in the Evening Echo. Picked up a copy in Ambleside College Cafe.Very inspiring and real ‘grassroots’ understanding of life. I predict you are on the verge of a new Journalistic career, as well as giving Talks to Young Mums’groups and the like. Am going to photocopy your article and tell others about your website. Well done Jack!

  6. I read an article about you in The Telegraph today. I believe that you have a good career in journalism (and related fields ) ahead of you. Well done for being perceptive, creative and determined. I don’t know which I am most impressed with – your cooking and budgetary skills or your awareness and writing skills. Anyway, you’ve made my day with your enterprise and I will read your blog whenever I get the time.
    Jack of all trades – tip top.

  7. Two words ‘go girl’. Saw you on tv this morning, very impressed with your outlook and attitude. I will be following your blogs from now on.

  8. I also saw you on the news this morning. You are a real inspiration to other young people out there. Really love your ‘can do’ attitude. Looking forward to trying out your recipes even although i am not on a tight budget – they looked yummy!

  9. Absolutely inspired by your feature on bbc Breakfast. I’m going to try your cooking for a week. You are great.

  10. I have been this broke when I was young growing up with my single parent Mum and not quite so, on recent occasions. I think you highlighting, through various medias, poverty in the UK is fantastic and I applaud you for taking the bit between your teeth and getting it out there!

    New follower here!

    With respect

    Jonquil x

  11. Wow- your T.V. interview moved me to tears – my ‘children’ are your age/generation and you are an inspiration – hope you (and your little boy) have a lovely life; we have tried the lentil burgers and they were wonderful.. Everything that goes around comes around – and you and many others of your generation are going back to ‘real’ cooking – well done. Debbie

  12. Our children provide us with our strength and inspiration. Looks like you you have harnessed yours wisely. Well done and best wishes for your very bright future. Great blog- can’t wait to get started on the recipes.

  13. I just wanted to say I think your blog and recipes in particular are brilliant! Money is always tight for me so I will definitely be trying out some of your recipes! I also happen to work in a supermarket so I am lucky in the way I will get 10% off as well! Thanks again, I think a lot of people in Britain especially could learn from you!

  14. Please email me and I’ll give you my phone number. I live in Southend too and I’d really like to help you out with some weekly foodshopping. We could meet at sainsburys in Southend.

    Sarah x

  15. Your son is going to grow up to be an amazing man with a role model such as yourself, showing him drive, determination and positive thinking ! Amazing what you’ve achieved ! Inspiring !

  16. I understand that you’ve got a job now as a reporter, and a book deal. WELL DONE. The next step (if you’re up for it) is to get elected as a MP. Heaven knows this country needs honorable representatives who’ve actually HAD a job outside of politics – and have tasted the utter despair & degradation of being branded scroungers by the weak minded people who’ve been brainwashed by this governments propaganda machine. Speaking of propaganda, if you want an insight into the ideology of this gov & it’s continual vilification of the weak, unemployed, disabled etc then read the study by Dr Mark Mostert, it’s titled “Useless eaters”, Here’s the web address – http://www.regent.edu/acad/schedu/uselesseaters/today.html
    I’m sure you’ll find it disturbing – I did !!

  17. Jack, you are an amazing woman. I am a volunteer for The Foodbank and I know the hardship that so many people are going though. It makes me so mad when the recipients of food parcels are described as wasters and scroungers because I know that the vast majority of them are just like you, deperate for work or even have a job but so badly paid they cannot manage their rent and bills as well as food.
    Please keep going and if you do stand for Parliament I would vote for you.

  18. Jack, you are truly inspirational. I like to think that I’m pretty good at rustling something up from bits left in the fridge, but you are doing it much better, on a budget much less than mine. Best of luck in the future – I would love to see you as an MP!

  19. I heard about your blog at a WI meeting and don’t often use the Internet but wanted to tell you how wonderful your recipes and how inspiring you must be for many many peoplr

  20. Wonderful wonderful stuff. Well done you for being so proactive and positive throughout all the trials you’ve been through. I’m sure you will keep moving onwards and upwards Jack!

  21. Hi jack I am a worn out taxi driver in Liverpool I want you for prime mine roster the merger cat John good luck

  22. Jack – I’ve only just discovered you after getting myself back into some sort of financial normality (by which I mean lots of debt but at least they are now being paid off in comparison to last year when I couldn’t see a light at the end of it).
    I’m currently sitting on the sofa, in my onesie feeling poorly so going to make the most of it and delve into your treasure trove of recipes and write them into my cook book ready for shopping on a budget this weekend.
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and for making some incredible (albeit why-didn’t-i-think-of-that) recipes! Excited! X

  23. Thankyou for leading by example, all single parents are not the same. I, like you get mad at the constant negativity about single parents – It is exactly the same here in Oz.

  24. I was feeling so low today finding myself in a similar situation and looking after my teenage son. As the not so unusual single Dad I find it hard to make ends meet but Jack your words have inspired me that no matter how much others don’t care I do and will use you as my inspiration

    Much love thoughts and respect

    D x

  25. Hi Jack you are very inspirational and very brave and i really believe you have a real good chance to change the views of so many people in regards to what is important about the situation you found your self in. And surviving on less, there is far to much convenience which costs a fortune only to go into the profit of some fat cat . LOOK WHERE THATS GETING US .. Good luck with every thing. paul Dodsworth. France.

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