THE Arnold family got more than they bargained for after agreeing to live below the poverty line for five days.

They took part in a global fundraising challenge organised by the charity Oxfam where each member of the family had to live off a food budget of £1 a day.

Amy Arnold and her husband Ben, who live in Lye, have both worked overseas and seen poverty at first hand.

With daughters Amber, who is ten, and 11-year-old Jocelyn - they had a total of £20 to last the five days.

Amy, who is currently studying for a PhD at Birmingham University, admitted: "It was much harder than I thought. We spent a great deal of time beforehand planning our meals, but we were really limited to what we could afford.

"In the end we were restricted to rice, pasta and porridge - we couldn't afford fruit. The only vegetables we had were carrots.

"The one thing which stood out was the quality of food available to us, which was really bad. You could fill up, but not with proper nutrients."

Amy, a keen athlete, said: "I do a great deal of running, but I didn't feel as though I had the energy to do it. I did go out running, but just felt exhausted all the time.

"It did make you think about people in the UK, let alone abroad, who couldn't afford to eat and how they could possibly do a full day's work.

"I also found it difficult to concentrate at times, especially when it came to studying.

"What also stood out was the lack of choice - especially when you saw other people filling up their shopping baskets."

At present the family have raised £690 towards the global fundraising challenge but they are also keen to increase both understanding and awareness of people living below the poverty line.

Amy added: "The children were really enthusiastic about taking part and are keen to do it again. But it certainly made you think what life is like for other people and the difficulties they face."

Oxfam's Live Below the Line challenge, now in its fourth year, was officially held in April but people are invited to take part until the end of June.

To find out more visit website