Aveley woman "star" of Benefits Britain TV programme

AN AVELEY woman was in the national spotlight this week after being the "star" of TV programme Benefits Britain.

The Channel 5 cameras followed mother-of-three Sara Crafter (46) through her ups and downs as she "struggled" with life on the dole.

Sara’s main battle seemed to be trying to get her new boyfriend signed on for benefits. A battle she ultimately wins.

Her new boyfriend Robert Zelasco had come from Poland but was homeless until he met Sara.

The couple said they plan to marry as soon as Sara gets divorced.

Sara spent much of the time telling the Channel 5 crew how hard her life was on the dole.

Sara said a long-term condition (Vertigo) leaves her unable to work and so she hasn’t had a job for 20 years.

Sara told Channel 5 that the combine income from benefits at their Aveley homes was over £20,000 a year.

Sara lived there with her adult children Scott, 24, Bryan, 22, and Sarah, 19.

The three bedroomed council house looked sparsely furnished but had a large american fridge freezer and a large wooden shed in the garden as well as a swimming pool.

Speaking on the programme, Sara said: ‘We’re called bums, lazy bums, but what people don’t realise is when there’s someone like me who would like to work but I can’t work because I’ve got vertigo and stuff.’

She added: ‘I have had three jobs, I worked at Tesco but then went on a dinner break and came back and they sacked me for no reason.’

The programme also featured her son Bryan who, had been sanctioned for six months, meaning he couldn’t claim benefits.

Sara’s three children are jobless and her younger son Bryan, who also featured on the programme, had been sanctioned for six months, which meant he couldn’t claim benefits.

Bryan dreamed of stardom acting on soaps and has already auditioned for X Factor.

Sara was asked if she enjoyed being on benefits.

She said; "This is a nightmare, I hate it. This is hell. And they think it’s good on benefits?

‘How are we supposed to live? I know they do all of this Red Nose Day and stuff and send it all over to Africa and wherever but what about our country. Our country is in need as well.’

At the beginning of the programme, Sara visited Thurrock Council offices to discuss getting Robert on the dole but returned despondent.

She told cameras: ‘I went down to the social yesterday and they’re saying about not giving us money as a couple because he’s got to have a job.

‘It’s alright them saying "go and get a job", but there’s no jobs around. We’re entitled to have money as a couple but they’re not even helping us.’

Robert said: ‘For us Poles, there are no good jobs in the UK.

‘If you speak English very well and finish your studies you can get a lot of good jobs, but without it you can’t do anything.

‘So I don’t know what I’m going to do. I really I have to do something. If they’re not going to give me benefits, I have to find a job.’

But there is better news (for them) at the end of the programme. Sara meets Robert after he is signed on to the dole

Sara exclaims: ‘Yes! He’s officially on benefits at my house. I don’t have to hide him any more.’

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