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'We were living to the last penny' - single mum-of-three starts business to get off benefits

PUBLISHED: 06:44 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:58 12 September 2019

Jenna Deacon at her nail salon, Nails at No. 8,  ready for business, opening September 16. Photo: Emily Thomson

Jenna Deacon at her nail salon, Nails at No. 8, ready for business, opening September 16. Photo: Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson

Being a single parent is not always easy, and for some this means having to quit work to become a stay-at-home mum or dad.

Jenna Deacon at her nail salon, Nails at No. 8,  in Watton, ready for business, opening September 16. Photo: Emily ThomsonJenna Deacon at her nail salon, Nails at No. 8, in Watton, ready for business, opening September 16. Photo: Emily Thomson

But for a Watton mother, who had worked since the age of 14, when she became a single parent to three children under the age of five, this became her reality, forced to become a full-time mum and claim benefits.

Now Jenna Deacon, 30, is starting her very own nail business at her home, called 'Nails at No. 8', with hopes of getting back to work to support her family.

Ms Deacon said: "It's that stereotype of single parent, three kids, doesn't go to work. It's horrible. You get stuck in the mindset of 'I'm just a mum and I have no other purpose in life'.

"I was depending on somebody else to provide for me and that had a massive impact on my self worth. I am very appreciative of the benefit system, it's amazing but you are living to the last penny."

Jenna Deacon's garage before she decided she would turn it into her very own nail salon. Photo: Jenna DeaconJenna Deacon's garage before she decided she would turn it into her very own nail salon. Photo: Jenna Deacon

Barely being able to survive on the money they had, the mum to a four-year-old and three-year-old twins, who are now in reception and nursery, knew it would not be easy to find an employer.

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"I thought there is no point in me going to work because I would be worse off or earning the same amount to what I would be claiming in benefits. You get stuck in the system. That's the frustrating thing," said Ms Deacon.

But already having qualified in nail training in 2016, Ms Deacon approached her job centre seeking support as she decided she wanted to be her own boss.

Nail art by Jenna Deacon at Nails at No. 8. Photo: Jenna DeaconNail art by Jenna Deacon at Nails at No. 8. Photo: Jenna Deacon

After clearing out her garage and doing four car boot sales, raising £800, it has only taken eight weeks to build a nail salon in her home.

On Monday, September 16, Ms Deacon will officially open her new business, 'Nails at No.8', offering hard gel nails and extensions, with intricate and unique designs.

Working part-time, for at least 16 hours a week, this also means Ms Deacon is entitled to 30 hours free childcare and says that she will be in a much better position.

Ms Deacon added: "Having this is as much for me as it is my kids. I feel like I am going to be providing and in control.

"It's easy to feel like you're stuck but if there is something you feel you can do to work around you and your situation there are ways to do it."

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