Jul 19, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a qualified teacher who has been battling depression for the past 15 years. He has been doing some supply teaching but it is only a day here and there. He is currently claiming Universal Credit for a single person, yet has shared responsibility for his 11 year old son. Consequently he is trying to feed two people on £73.10 per week and cover his bills out of that as well. Our agents have been supporting him and realised that he does not have a lot of furniture. They have managed to get a bed for his son, and also a gas cooker, but the cooker needs to be properly installed, and needed help to pay for this as it is beyond their client to be able to pay for it and they had investigated all the grant funding they were aware of, but the process was going to take far too long. They knew we could act quickly if we were in agreement, which we were happy to do. This means that he will finally have a functioning cooker for when his son comes to stay in the summer holidays.
Jul 19, 2017
Our Client is a lady who failed her ESA Assessment in April and was consequently found fit for work. Her mental health is not good, and when she phoned up the DWP to query this, she believed she was doing the Mandatory Reconsideration for her ESA assessment, but they told her it had to be done in writing (which is not true), unfortunately this didn't happen and so her assessment wasn't reconsidered. She has been claiming Job Seekers the past few week, but is really struggling and attempted suicide four weeks ago. She lives with her son who is in his late teens, and he himself has also failed his ESA assessment, so has no income whatsoever, so she is struggling to keep them both on the tiny amount she has coming in. The last payment she received, it all went on food and electricity and she is fast running out and won't have enough to last them both until when she receives her next payment. We sent over £100 to tide them over.
Jul 14, 2017
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Jul 12, 2017
We were contacted a few hours ago about a family that were evicted from their home yesterday, who have been offered a new place to live, but they need to move today. Our agent managed to convince the landlord to allow them to stay last night so at least they weren't out on the streets. She found a 3.5 tonne Luton Van with a driver to shift the furniture and belongings and rounded up some volunteers to help them pack up and shift everything at the other end. The trouble she had though was that the family, which includes 4 children, are in receipt of Universal Credit and do not have the money to be able to pay for the move. This is where we came in and we paid the removal costs of just under £100, which included insurance as well. We were able to respond to and have this situation resolved from start to finish in under 3 hours, we would have been faster but our agent had to be present at a PIP assessment with someone else she was helping.
Jul 11, 2017
Our agent is helping a family of five, the father an ex soldier with the British Army. He served for 14 years and was medically discharged last year due to an injury. His local council have evicted them over arrears and are now stating that they do not believe he is eligible for housing and other benefits and have currently suspended his application for assistance. The family are being temporarily housed in a local B&B, on a bed and breakfast only basis which is being paid for by another organisation supporting the family. We were asked to offer the family a grant of £100 to allow them to buy some food other than just the breakfast they currently receive. Our agent is helping them appeal their current housing situation.
Jul 11, 2017
Our agents approached us about a single mum of four dependent children. They are assisting her to get her benefits sorted out, and unfortunately as a result of the benefit cap the benefits she was receiving have been seriously hit, resulting in her being in quite serious debt. She is trying to resolve this, but with not enough money to go around she ends up "robbing Peter to pay Paul" to quote a phrase. To apply for a debt relief order she needs to save £90, but as fast as she tries to something crops up and the money saved is needed for something else. We agreed to send a cheque for £90 to support her debt relief order application.
Jul 11, 2017
Our agents approached us about a single parent of three they are helping. She is recovering from a domestic violence situation and last year unfortunately was the one that discovered her brother dead. This has triggered her PTSD and has resulted in her almost giving up and not opening her mail. This action, or lack of has resulted in her discovering she is now under threat of eviction and she has missed two appointments for Work Capability Assessments for ESA. She is receiving help and support with this, being forced into claiming JSA while she waits the outcome of her ESA appeal. Her benefits are already subject to deductions and she is now without any money until the end of the week to buy food to feed her and her three children. We agreed to send her £50 to tide her over until Friday.
Jul 10, 2017
A Grandmother in her early 50s who takes care of her Grandson full time had to give up working following a diagnosis of COPD and heart failure. She was in receipt of ESA, but was scored zero points at her assessment, despite being awarded PIP. Our agents were speaking to her on the phone and were trying to reassure her as she was in tears. She could apply for Job Seekers while she appeals the ESA decision but was very worried that her poor health would go against her. This was made worse by the fact that she had dipped into an unarranged overdraft, so when her PIP payment arrived in her account, she was hit by charges too, so she was still overdrawn. We agreed we would send across £200 so she could clear the overdraft to prevent further charges and would leave her with some money to buy food for her and her Grandson. Our agents phoned her up to tell her our decision and she was in floods of tears on the phone.
Jul 8, 2017
Our client, a disabled lady who is a wheelchair user has been honest with the DWP and Tax Credits about her boyfriend moving in with her and her children. Their reaction was to say that he would now be financilly responsible for looking after her and her family. She was told to contact and apply for Universal Credit as she was no longer entitled to tax credits. Universal Credits said to her as she had three children, she couldn't claim Universal Credit and was told to ring Tax Credits back. They then told her she had to apply for Income Support, the result of that was that the DWP then stopped her ESA claim. They have been left only with the Child Benefit of £43.10 a week to live off for a family of five. Her partner is unable to take care of them financially as he was laid off his job six months ago. They've been told it will take 2-3 weeks to get their benefits payments sorted out and reinstated. Meanwhile they have pennies on their electricity meter. We agreed to send them £100 to keep them and their energy meters topped up for the time being.
Jul 8, 2017
This was a quick one for us to sort out. A lady who has been on benefits long term has been finding it dificult to have enough money to buy any food so has been going without food at all. It was agreed to send over £50 to allow her to buy some food which would tide her over for a few weeks.
Jul 6, 2017
Some days we can go two or three days, four even and there aren't any cases we are made aware of, then suddenly like buses, we get three in one day. Technically the case of the single pregnant mother started earlier in the week, but has taken a day or so to get settled. Our case this time, was brought to us by one of our own biscuits, she had seen this lady posting about her dilemma and how they as a family were struggling to manage.
One of her older children was forced to live back at home, when she suddenly, through no fault of her own, lost her job and also was not given a P45, nor a P60. Without either of these, she was struggling to prove her entitlement to claim job seekers allowance or any kind of benefits. Her Mum thinking she should tell her local authority, just in case it impacted negatively on their housing benefit or council tax benefits, suddenly discovered she had to pay far more as the council were insisting her grown up daughter was contributing to the household income so they were making non-dependent deductions from their housing benefit and council tax relief. They were just about keeping their heads above water, but at the expense of what food they could put on the table. Although the Mum was being incredibly creative about what meals she could create and feed her family of six, it was beginning to take its toll on her, triggering her PTSD. We agreed that as they were certain that in a few weeks time things should begin to regulate for them financially that we would send across £200 to keep them in food for the rest of the month.
Her response to us when we told her of our decision was
"OMG this is going to help so much like you wouldn't believe. I can't say thank you enough xxxxx
Sat with happy tears. I can't put into words what I want to say xxxx"
Jul 6, 2017
We were contacted by a new to us organisation, who had a disabled client they were trying to help. After careful consideration and checking we then put their case to our members to vote on. This gentleman had been released from prison into temporary accommodation, where he had been living for some time. Now finally he had been offered a permanent place of his own, but of course having been in temporary accommodation, he had very few possessions. The agency were supporting and helping him all they could, but were struggling to find him funding that would also cover the cost of a basic washing machine. They had identified a basic one online that came to under £150, so it was put to the vote and agreed that the money should sent across straightaway. The agency were so relieved as they had very little idea of how we operate, and mostly how quickly we can respond if need be. We don't expect lengthy application forms to be completed, we don't even have a form,, but we do only take referrals via official organisations. We do on occasions get requests made directly from individuals, but we cannot accept those as we need to protect the fund at all times from being scammed.
Jul 6, 2017
We were approached about a single young woman who was expecting to deliver her baby daughter in the next couple of weeks. She is on contributions based Employment Support Allowance which means she is unable to access the maternity grant at the moment to enable her to buy some much needed things for her baby girl. Initially she was without a pram and a car travel seat, which she has to have to take the baby home from hospital and we were looking at contributing towards those items. However we were then updated to say that she'd been offered a pram and the loan of a car seat. She still needed a cot, some bedding and also clothing etc for the baby when she is born, so we agreed between us that we would make an offer of £100 to allow her to purchase those items herself, hopefully a pre-loved cot or Moses basket and the other items. Once her baby is born then she will be able, once the child is registered, to apply for child benefit and child tax credits, so hopefully her financial circumstances will then begin to improve.
Jun 30, 2017
Our client is a man who has been living on the streets for the past 13 years. He has finally been given a place of his own but was short of some things. There is a place locally that they can use to purchase refurbished items, and he needed a bed, a fridge and curtains for his new home. We agreed to send £200 so he could be provided with the items that he needs. Our agent was actually meeting him in person to make sure that all the items were got for him and then arranged collection and delivery. Hopefully he will now be settled in.
Jun 29, 2017
We were contacted urgently yesterday about a very vulnerable woman who turned up at courts yesterday morning at 9.30am for a hearing, her paperwork, everything prepared ready for her. Upon arrival, she found out that there had been a last minute, 4pm the day before, change to a different court and she would be physically (even with a time machine) unable to get there. Our agents pleaded with the courts for an adjournment which was granted, but for one day only, so the hearing would be today instead. There had been a mix up with the Barristers representing this lady, as they had telephoned to inform her of the change on an old, no longer functioning mobile number, so she'd never received it. Our agents, all volunteers and financially strapped for cash asked if it was possible to provide some funds to allow this lady and our agent to travel to the court via train. We sent across enough money to cover their train fares, plus a bit extra to pay for them to have a sandwich lunch as they would be out most of the day.
Jun 28, 2017
We were approached about a young woman, who is a full time Masters Student,studying social work. She is also a lone parent, who has chosen to become further qualified in order to improve the long term situation for both herself and her daughter. Her hope is that they then don't have to rely on benefits to survive. She has been struggling financially and as a result got into a fair amount of debt, due to being employed in low income jobs and finding it difficult to live on that. She has with the help of the agents applied for a debt relief order which will relieve her of the debt, but does not have the £90 fee to be able to apply for this to be processed. This is where we come in, we agreed to pay this amount for her, so now hopefully she won't be living constantly in fear of bailiffs calling.
Jun 27, 2017
We were approached about a man who due to missing paperwork and payment errors, after being resident in the UK has been granted a temporary visa to stay and been told he has no recourse to public funds. His matter is being supported by our agents and this man's local MP to get this mess resolved, but as he has no access to public funds, he has absolutely no money whatsoever, so any help was going to be of benefit to him. It would take some time to get all this sorted out so we agreed to send to him £100 to keep him going until then.
Jun 26, 2017
We were urgently contacted regarding a man that our agents had been helping with applying for Job Seekers Allowance. He has been homeless, so relying on being able to sofa surf, and his belongings all fit into a backpack. He was suddenly taken ill with a haemorrhage and airlifted to hospital. He has no money, and now no clothes at all, so we were asked if we could provide some funds to allow some underwear to be bought for him for while he is in hospital, some funds to allow his mother, who has no spare money herself to be able to visit him, and also to get some clothing for him for when he finally leaves hospital. His own clothing will have been destroyed on arrival at hospital. We agreed to send across £100 to cover all of this, plus to allow him enough money to travel home after release from hospital and buy some food for himself.
Jun 24, 2017
Our agents approached us about a young woman, just 20 years old, who has severe mental health problems which prevent her from leaving her home. Due to this, she failed to attend a work capability assessment and subsequently her Employment Support Allowance has now stopped being paid. The knock on from this is that then her housing benefit and council tax relief was also stopped, resulting in her falling into quite serious debt. The agents are helping her with getting her benefits payments reinstated, and hopefully will be able to get the arrears on the housing benefit and council tax resolved. We agreed to send across £100 so that food could be bought for herr as she is currently without any food at all.
Jun 22, 2017
A man in his 50's who has been living in a hostel was finally offered his own accommodation. He has been refused Employment Support Allowance, despite ongoing psychiatric interventions. He is appealing this decision with support from our agents and only receives £73.10 per week, the pre-assessment rate of ESA. His local council have been very supportive towards him and have provided a fridge freezer, bed and seating, but he did not have access to a washing machine. Service washes at laundrettes are very expensive, and were not accessible to him, nor was ready access to his family where he might have been able to get some washing done. We agreed that we would grant the money to provide a basic one for him.
Jun 21, 2017
We were contacted today by an organisation asking for our help with a lady they've been supporting for some time. She came here under refugee status and has now been offered a one bedroomed flat. She has the money for the required deposit to secure the tenancy, but does not have the funds to cover her moving costs, both from where she is and from her items in storage. We agreed to cover these costs for her, so she could become settled without delay.
Jun 21, 2017
One of our agents contacted us urgently to say she was with a homeless girl who had been able to secure a job interview. She'd managed to put together suitable clothing, but had absolutely no money at all. We sent £50 to our agent so that she had some money to cover food and travel costs.
Jun 21, 2017
Our client is a homeless man who is currently staying in very temporary accommodation, and is without his motorised wheelchair that was stolen from him two months ago. He has been using a borrowed manual chair, but is unable to propell himself around in this and relies heavily on other homeless people to push him around. Most are okay, but some are not and take advantage of him, by pushing him in his chair to say the cashpoint, but then demanding he gives them a loan from his disability benefit payment, which he feels obliged to give them. He is also pushed to places, then abandoned when the person pushing him becomes drunk and this is where our agent found him, stranded in his manual chair, baking in this heat. She got him to safety and approached us for a contribution towards a replacement for him, a motorised scooter with a tracking and security device on it to prevent it being stolen again. The impact of him losing his chair has been enormous and he has detoriated so much. We agreed to send across £200 towards this. Our agent secured a grant from a local organisation, and a new motorised scooter will be purchased for him to give him his independence back. A secure place has been found for it to be stored when it is not in use or is being charged.
Jun 19, 2017
Our agents contacted us today about a man in his forties they've been helping who has recently been released from prison. He wants to avoid getting into trouble again and going back to jail so he has been doing all he can to engage with the service our agents are providing, as well as the Job Centre. He has been offered permanent accommodation but needed to find £100 to cover a necessary fee to be able to do this. We agreed that we would send across £150 to allow him some money to buy some essentials that he'll need when moving into a new place.
Jun 19, 2017
We were made aware of a food bank which was struggling to have food available to give as donations following the closure of a supermarket near to them that had a collection point for their customers to leave any donations they wanted to make. The closure of the store meant that there was now not an obvious point for people to leave their donations, and the next available store, which is one of the main ones, doesn't appear to be allowing for a collection point in their store. One of our team went and did a physcial shop and dropped off just over £150 worth of food to them, canned, packets and non-perishables.
If you have a food bank near to you, it might be worth finding out where the drop off points for food are and get the word out there among your community. So even if you are unable to help out yourself, the person you tell about it, might be able to. Or maybe you could become involved with your local food bank and see what can be done with the stores local to you, to either donate food, or allow a collection box for donations in their stores. Often stores aren't always sure of what to do and it takes someone coming in and asking them about it to get the ball rolling.
Jun 16, 2017
We were contacted about a man who suffers with chronic anxiety who has been kicked off Employment Support Allowance, forced into applying for Job Seekers instead, and is now moved again, this time on to Universal Credit. However he is subject to sanctions by the DWP which can be for reasons as simple as being held up and arriving late to sign on for example. He is now on his fourth benefit sanction, is desperate for food, but has used up all his entitlement to food bank vouchers. He also cannot get another welfare emergency payment from his council for another 12 months. He has another month to run on his latest benefit sanction, so we agreed to send across £100 to tide him over until his benefits can restart again.
Jun 15, 2017
Our clients today are a couple, he is disabled and requires constant care from his wife, they also have a 6 year old child to consider. He doesn't leave the house at all as he is bed bound, she only leaves the home when it is essential for her to do so. They have been maliciously reported to the DWP on two previous occasions, both times having their benefits payments stopped, and each time they faced a battle to get them reinstated. Now once again, the DWP have stopped their payments, without notice, as the payments failed to arrive in their bank account yesterday as expected. When the lady made a call to find out what was going on she had to attend her local job centre and sign paperwork confirming that she wasn't working from home. For the third time they had been maliciously reported, and the DWP wouldn't reinstate their payments until their investigations had been completed.
We instructed the lady to get the support of her MP to get this resolved as quickly as possible. Knowing this couple had been maliciously reported twice before, we are shocked and astonished that the DWP have accepted a third malicious report, despite the fact that they already know this couple's situation. We agreed to send across £100, which will hopefully allow them to purchase enough food to keep them going until their payments can be put back into place.
Jun 12, 2017
A gentleman in his 50s who'd worked for many years in the furniture removals business. He strained himself and was unable to work, but also unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay so put in a claim for income support instead, for which he received £80 a week, of which £13 he paid cover his rent and council tax. Unfortunately his condition worsened and he ended up in hospital with a punctured lung. On release from hospital he resigned from his job as he knew he would be unable to continue to work in that environment. The downside has been that his claim for income support has been now been suspended until he can provide payment slips from his old employer, who is now refusing to supply any of those. He has an agency helping him now to put in a claim for Employment Support Allowance instead as well as a claim for Personal Independence Payments. They will also help him get his claim for housing benefit and council tax help sorted out. He has been without any income since the middle of May, so we agreed to send across £100 to help him manage until his benefits can be reinstated.
Jun 10, 2017
Our clients were a young woman and her partner. She had recently been released from the mental health section of her local hospital. They have been having problems with managing on their very tight budget, wouldn't be receiving any further benefits payments for several days and have hardly any food in the house. The woman is gluten intolerant and needs to eat food that is suitable for her to consume. Her partner suffers with severe depression and doesn't always consider her needs when he fixes himself something to eat and will eat the gluten free food that is set aside for her. We agreed to send across £50 to allow a small food shop to tide them over until they get their next benefits payment.
Jun 8, 2017
A man who'd had some hassle with the DWP, them believing there had been an overpayment on their part of his Employment Support Allowance, stopped all his ESA payments while they investigated. He was cleared of all the claims and found that an overpayment hadn't been made, yet they have still not put his payments back in place again. Recently he had to renew his claim for Personal Indpendence Payments and the DWP have made a mess of that, resulting in the only payments he had coming in also being stopped, leaving him with nothing. We agreed to send across to him £100 so at least he had some money to buy food, gas and electric until he could hopefully get his benefits reinstated.
Jun 6, 2017
Today, our person in need was a lady in her early 50s who had been messed around by the DWP, which had resulted in not only her Employment Support Allowance payments being stopped, but also her Personal Independence Payments too. This had left her with no money for two weeks now, and she was in a position where she literally had no money, nor any food in the house she could muddle by on. Contact with the DWP had not been helpful at all, with them pushing her from pillar to post. We found somewhere she could go to for help with getting her benefits reinstated, and also somewhere she could go to for mental health support too. We agreed to send across £100 as she needed money for her utilities, as well as food, and it could be another two weeks before she begins to receive any kind of payments through from the DWP. She commented that she'd never voted before, but she definitely will be this Thursday.
Jun 2, 2017
Our agent came to us with a case she was dealing with. Her client, a lady had been evicted from her home last September and her belongings had been placed in storage while she was living in temporary accommodation. New accommodation was found for her in March this year which she moved into but she has been muddling along without saying that her belongings such as her washing machine, bed and her fridge freezer, along with her bedding, paperwork etc have all been stored in the storage facility. Unfortunately as she was in arrears with the rental of the storage unit, the company had refused her entry to get her things and had given her until June 5th to pay the outstanding bill or the contents of her unit would be auctioned off to settle her outstanding bill. Our agent made an application to the lady's local council and they have paid the lion's share of the outstanding bill. We offered to pay £100 of it, as we were aware if she lost the items our agent might come to us for replacement white goods, so this seemed the most cost effective solution. Our agent has sought free use of a van to collect the contents and take them to the lady's house, so we could be confident that she could be reuinited with her belongings.
May 27, 2017
Our client was a single mum with three children that had fled a domestic violence situation in order to keep her and her children safe. She had been moved into temporary accommodation which was not ideal, so an agency had helped her secure the possibility of better and more suitable accommodation, but she would need to find £500 deposit. The landlord was willing to work with her and allow that amount to be paid over the next six months. She could budget for some of that, but not all of it. We agreed to pay £200 directly to the landlord to get her started, leaving her to find £50 a month over the next six months, which she agreed she would be able to do.
May 26, 2017
Our client is a single man who has been street homeless for quite some time. He was living in a tent during the winter, but having developed a chronic cough was ordered to stay with friends temporarily while he recovered. Once the weather improved he moved back towards "home" and stayed with other friends for a nominal sum of money, but now every penny he had has been used up so he is faced with having to navigate the Universal Credit system which seems to cause more headaches than it offers solutions. While he waits for his first payment which could be another few weeks we agreed to send across £75 to allow him to top up his meters and buy some food.
May 25, 2017
We were contacted about a man who had been struggling after having lost his job. After becoming seriously depressed, his doctor signed him off work and he reluctantly applied for Employment Support Allowance, which he is being paid at the very basic pre-assessment rate. He lives in a very remote area without public transport, and is in fact lodging temporarily with friends. His only means of transport developed a very serious problem way beyond his own skills and needs some work done. It was concerning that he was already retreating because of the depression, so a decision was made to contribute half of the cost of the repair so that he might hopefully be mobile again soon.
May 24, 2017
A lady in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment has recently been sent home after a full hip replacement, without any help and support, so a former neighbour of hers has been making the journey each day to make sure she is okay and helping her out. It was noticed that her cat was unable to bear weight on one of its legs, so it was taken to the vets for treatment, where following an xray it was discovered that the cat, like its owner has chronic osteoarthitis, which will be managed with pain relief. The lady still has to have another full hip replacement, as well as both knees replaced, and the vets bill was weighing heavily on her mind. An application was made to the PDSA who made a significant contribution, and we agreed we would settle the balance, to allow this lady to be relieved of the debt and able to focus on getting well enough for the next stage in her medical treatment.
May 22, 2017
The man in question, sustained a serious injury to his face some years ago which had left him with difficulties in trying to speak, and because of the trauma of how it happened, it has left him with severe mental health issues. He was recently reassessed for Employment Support Allowance and was found by the assessor fit for work. He approached the agency that came to us for help on his behalf and they are trying to support him in making a claim for Job Seekers Allowance. The agency have applied for a mandatory reconsideration on his behalf, but that has been returned by the DWP as a negative, so now he is faced to take the matter to a tribunal to try to get the decision overturned that way. He has a wife and two children, and although he has made the appointment to sign on for Job Seekers but it will be at least 10 days before any money is received, so we agreed to send across the sum of £150 to help them out until their benefits can be paid.
May 18, 2017
The female we were approached for help has been street homeless for quite some time. She has issues around alcohol and has been struggling to stay dry. She'd been living in temporary accommodation, but there are rules that your arrears are not allowed to exceed a set limit, so this meant she was at threat of being put back out on to the streets and would lose her support. Our agents had stepped in and found that lack of support had caused this lady to get into the arrears that she had. Closer support has been arranged and it was agreed she would pay her charges weekly as she should have been doing. Hopefully removing this pressure from her will help her to stay dry as the financial pressures and feeling out of control was driving her back to drink again, creating a spiral of self destruction. We as a fund agreed we would send across enough money to clear almost half of the arrears and she would be supported to repay what was left with some budgeting assistance. Hopefully with better support in place she will be able to get her life back on track.
May 12, 2017
We were urgently approached about a lady who was under threat of losing her home. She was employed in a very low income job, but following her brother's suicide she had been unable to work. Her doctor has signed her off work for the time being, and she had put a claim in for sickness benefit, but was waiting for that to be actioned. In the meantime her landlord was pushing to repossess her home. We agreed to send across £250 directly to the landlord which was an agreed amount that would prevent things being taken further. Hopefully her claim for housing benefit will be in place soon and with the arrears caught up it will allow her a chance to try to recover from what has happened.
May 12, 2017
Our case was a man who had been street homeless for several months, with very little clothing and no way to claim any benefits as he didn't have an address to give to the DWP. An agency had offered to provide him with the support necessary to assist him with his benefits claim. They contacted us though, as he has very limited clothing and is in desperate need of some funds to purchase replacements. We agreed to send across to the agency £70 as digital vouchers to be used in a High Street Discount store, as he doesn't have a bank account either to receive the money.
May 11, 2017
We were contacted about a single mum with two young children who had unfortunately got into debt when she was switched over to being paid by Universal Credit. This young mum is deaf and suffers with anxiety, and the constant chasing from her creditors is only compounding the situation, making things far worse.
With the help and support of the agency, she is getting on top of her day to day bills, but she needs to apply for a debt relief order to sort this out. However raising the £90 to apply was beyond her means, so we agreed to send across a cheque for the £90 to be sent along with the application for the DRO. Hopefully she will be able to rebuild her life once the DRO is in place.
May 2, 2017
One of our agents spotted a lady asking for advice regarding her ESA claim as she was waiting to hear when it would be processed and she might begin receiving payment. Her council had given her a voucher for a foodbank, but she was simply too unwell with a chest infection, to be able to attend the foodbank and collect some much needed food.
After we were certain that she was genuine and was following the correct procedures to best help herself with her ESA claim, we were happy to send across £50 so she could purchase some food and put some money on her gas and electric meters. She was extremely grateful and incredibly surprised that a group of unknown people had reached out to her and helped, in her hour of need.
Apr 28, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a lady in her 50s, with various physical health conditions, including alopecia, depression, anxiety, diabetes and arthritis, and self harms as well. She had lost her ESA claim. She'd been instructed by the DWP to attend an assessment, but her agoraphobia had prevented her being able to leave her home and attend the assessment. The DWP registered her as a "no show" and immediately stopped her award without referring back to her. Our agents are helping her with this, but being agoraphobic means she is unable to sign on for Job Seekers either, and her nerves have meant she has picked her skin raw, which has become infected, so they are trying to appeal the ESA decision on her behalf.
They wanted to know if we could help her, but spread any help we offered over a period of time, to allow her enough to buy food and put some money on her energy meters. We have agreed £150 of help, sent across at £30 a week for five weeks only. This is not something we normally do, but this was a case where the agency have specifically asked for this type of support.
Apr 25, 2017
We were made aware of a Mum who has been staying in the accommodation made available to parents when they have a child in the hospital. This Mum, her daughter had had an accident and to date she has been through seven operations on her leg, and they are hoping she will be able to leave hospital this Friday, after her operation taking place today. As the daughter has been getting very depressed with all this going on, her Mum has been staying overnight at the hospital but has to pay £15 per night to do this. She has had so much time off work they are no longer able to pay her, and she has sold everything she can to raise money to pay for this accommodation. We agreed to pay the accommodation up to the Thursday night and send across some extra funds so that they are able to buy some food for when they return home.
Apr 20, 2017
We were made aware of a young woman who due to unfortunate circumstances with her parents, suddenly found herself homeless. Fortunately some friends have taken her in temporarily to keep her off the streets, but they are unable to feed her as they are on a very tight budget, and she has no money at all to buy any food herself. We agreed that we would send across a small sum of money to tide her over while the local authority considers what will happen with her as she is still considered a minor. Our representative was going to meet up with her and take her food shopping and help her get that to her temporary home.
Apr 20, 2017
We were made aware of a young Mum with two children, one of whom has been formally diagnosed with autism, but who also has special requirements regarding food. She'd been prepared for the holiday, but unfortunately a large amount of money left her account to pay a bill, earlier than she had budgeted for. They'd tried to get the payment stopped but it was too late, it had already left her account. This left her without money for food for herself and her two children, and the oldest child would be unable to eat the food she could get hold of from the local foodbank. We agreed to send across £60 to tide her over until her next payment of Employment Support Allowance, reached her bank account.
Apr 20, 2017
Our agent told us of a lady who had extreme mental health issues, she has had the Crisis Team put in touch with her but so far very little has happened to help her. She was hearing voices telling her her very old and ailing fridge freezer was going to cause a fire while she slept. This was only making her distress even worse, and she had already attemtped to take her own life twice already in an effort to stop the voices. A friend had confirmed that the fridge freezer was very old, about to pack in and was making very strange noises. So we agreed to purchase a new, very reasonably priced, under counter fridge freezer, which we had delivered directly to her. Hopefully this will no reassure her somewhat, and ease some of her worries.
Apr 13, 2017
We were approached about a desperate situation, a family with six children (possilby a blended family) that had been evicted from their home and made homeless. They'd been temporarily housed in a tiny flat up on the 14th floor of a high rise block of flats, and had been supported in that move of home by the council. Now though they've been offered more suitable and long term housing, in a first floor flat big enough for their needs. This is brilliant but they had no way to move their larger items of furniture, in fact, they've been relying on foodbanks for food for the eight of them as they are applying fr Universal Credit and there is a huge waiting period until any money is received. We sent across £250, £100 of which to help with the moving costs, the rest for food for them all.
We received an email on behalf of them, they said : Thank you so much that is amazing! 6 children and 2 very grateful parents say a massive thank you to all at the biscuit fund I hope their luck is finally changing.
Then this update: The family are now moving as we speak I haven't seen the mother smile since I first met the family until today it's so nice to know there are people who care when all appears so hopeless.
We sincerely at The Biscuit Fund hope that their luck will be changing for the better.
Apr 9, 2017
We were approached about a young couple, she had lived her life in care, he had been brought up by his grandparents, they'd discovered she was pregnant and expecting their baby in the summer. He is working but on a zero hour contract, which is quite literally that sometimes. They are struggling to get anywhere with benefits and it was agreed they would be steered in the direction of working tax credits, although that is a minefield where zero hours contracts are concerned. She is not far enough along with the pregnancy yet to claim maternity benefits, but hopefully will be in a few weeks time.
A friend to the couple has been asking for donated baby clothes from whoever she thinks might have some to offer, and she has been able to source some nappies and also a crib, which she is buying for them second hand. They are literally choosing between paying their bills and eating, relying on foodbanks when they can. We agreed to send across £250 which they are going to use to do a big food shop and buy a pram for the baby when it arrives. Also as this is their first child they will be able to apply for a maternity grant to help with some purchases, and child tax credits and child benefit once the baby is born.
Apr 4, 2017
We were told about a family, who having got into rent arrears were being taken to court for eviction from their home. The debt had happened because the lady in question, a single mum, had been sanctioned a number of times through no fault of her own. This sanction meant that her housing benefit and council tax relief had stopped being paid, hence the debt. A fundraiser was put together by another party and raised over £900 to pay off the arrears, we stepped in and sent over £100. The total sum raised will be paid to clear the arrears, and it had been agreed if this happened within the time frame, then the eviction notice would not be enforced and they would be allowed to stay.
Apr 4, 2017
We were approached about a lady who had been getting into financial trouble as the property she was housed in with a private landlord was too expensive for her to manage. Alternative accommodation was found for her, which would be within her financial means but she did not have any available money to pay for someone to move her furniture and belongings. We agreed to send across £100 to help her with that.
Apr 3, 2017
We were approached about a mother who has been struggling for some time on Job Seekers Allowance, to deal with all her household bills, and each time she falls behind, then fees get added, or a court summons is sought, which just keeps making the financial hole she's found herself in, deeper and deeper, with seemingly no way out. Plus money is then deducted from her JSA, which leaves even less money to live off than she was struggling on before. So you see it really was a bottomless pit, and she was close to a nervous breakdown. She has the support of a friend, who is doing what they can, plus the agency that approached us for help.
They requested help with payment to apply for a Debt Relief Order, which we agreed to so that this lady can find her way out of this situation and begin to rebuild a life for her and her son. We also sent an extra amount so that they could buy some much needed food (they'd been surviving on food from the food banks, as they'd no money left for food), and a small treat for them both.
Mar 28, 2017
We had a man referred to us that had been provided with his own accommodation. His council had very generously helped him with certain items of furniture, but he had no way to keep his clothes and bedding clean, and with serious eyesight issues, taking them to a laundrette was not an option. A very reasonably priced washing machine was found for him, purchased on his behalf and will be delivered to him this Friday. He is extremely grateful for the help.
Mar 27, 2017
We were contacted urgently about a lady who needed help. She'd been offered accommodation of her own, which meant she could move out of the hostel she'd been staying at. The only barrier to her being able to move in was the requirement to pay £104 advance payment of her rent. This was all that was in the way of her being in her own place, so we agreed to send across the money to the agents helping her, so the payment could be made on her behalf.
Mar 20, 2017
Today we sent across £62.22 to help a formerly homeless man access accommodation. He had been offered a permanent place to stay, but needed two service charges paying, totalling £50.22 , before he could move in. Then he needed to collect his belongings which had been stored for him by a hostel, so needed £12 to pay the taxi fare, to collect those and take them to his new home. All in all a very good outcome.
Mar 10, 2017
A homeless charity were supporting a young girl who had no spare clothing, nor spare shoes. They desperately needed size 6 clothes and size 4 shoes. We got in touch with them to see if we could help, who responded by saying they'd had some clothes and shoes donated to give to her. They had secured accommodation for her, donated plenty of food and assisted with applying for benefits. They asked if we could possibly send a small amount of money instead to tider her over until her first benefit payment could be made. So we sent £50 today for them to pass on to her.
Mar 10, 2017
We were approached about a lady who was street homeless, with breast cancer, which had unfortunately spread to her lymphnodes. The hospital were unable to treat her while she was homeless, so her local council have been pressured into providing her with adequate housing. It is only a small place, which has to be self contained and kept spotlessly clean as once she begins treatment her immune system will be obliterated and she'll be at risk to catching infections.
All she had with her was a supermarket bag for life, containing her few belongings. Her travel costs had already been covered by a sponsor, but we sent across £150, so that she could buy a bed and mattress, a small chest of drawers and some cooking pots.
Mar 7, 2017
We were approached about a lady who had worked for the past 30 years, and had, as we mostly do, come to rely on her usual money coming in each month. She'd suffered with depression for a while, but it was becoming more and more difficult to ignore and carry on, so she ended up unable to continue with her job. This left her signing on for Employment Support Allowance, and at the moment she is only on the pre-assessment rate of £73.10 per week. She and her 18 year old son, currently on a full time course and unable to claim any benefits in his own name are trying to exist on this meagre sum.
Sadly her debts were building up, and although she was trying to keep everyone happy by paying here and there where she could, it had all become too much. This is where we stepped in and we have sent across a cheque for £90 to the agency that are supporting her, so that she can apply for a debt relief order, together with £80 directly to them, so that they can have £40 each to go towards food and energy payments.
Feb 28, 2017
We were contacted urgently about a man who was struggling to get housed in the town he was in. His street daughter (not his biological daughter) was in this town and he was hopeful that would allow him be housed in that area so they could stay in touch. Unfortunately he wasn't supported with this as well as hoped with this and it ended up badly with him miles from his friends, and with nowhere to be. He is suffering with alcoholic dementia and his body is 80% covered with psoriasis, with 40% of that, open wounds. He had no money to get back to his friends who were waiting for him, ready to take care of him. We sent across a sum of money to provide some money for food and supplies, and to pay for his train ticket to return 'home', even though that meant still living out on the streets.
Feb 27, 2017
We were contacted urgently about a man from Poland who has terminal cancer. He has been living and working in the UK for the past 15 years, however because he left the UK between 2006 and 2008 and returned to Poland to care for his dying mother, he is now being refused the opportunity to claim Employment Support Allowance. His rent is in arrears, but our agent is dealing with the landlord over that, who is cooperating fully, so it is hopeful that he won't be evicted. He has no remaining family in Poland and wants to live out the rest of his days here in the UK. We agreed to send across £150 as he has no food, gas or electricity. Our agent is now able to converse with the DWP directly about his case so is hopeful the decision to refuse him can be overturned.
Feb 23, 2017
Today we sent across £100 to help a newly single mother, with two children, each of whom have health issues. The mum does all she can to support and take care of her children, but all her benefits payments she was receiving were in joint names. Her husband leaving her and the children though means that there have been issues with the payments being made, and has messed up her housing benefit payments too. She is now receiving support to get her benefits reinstated. The money we sent will go towards putting some credit on her gas and electric meters and purchase some food for her and the children. When her husband left, the Police became involved and the Crown Prosecution Service are now looking to take the matter further, so hopefully our help today will remove a little of the stress for her.
Feb 23, 2017
Today our agent told us of a lady who has been homeless in the past and has lived in homeless shelters. She was finally offered a permanent place to live, but in order to be able to move in she had to clear some outstanding arrears. She did this using her Employment Support Allowance payments, but by doing so this left her without any money for food, cleaning materials, or money to put on her gas and electric meters. She has Chron's Disease, so has to have a careful diet to stay on top of it. We agreed to send £100, so that she could put £15 on each of her gas and electric meters, and the remaining £70 to buy food to stock up with, as well as some cleaning materials.
Feb 23, 2017
We were contacted today about two men, one in a wheelchair. They are both street homeless, with absolutely no where to go. They are being supported to try to achieve permanent accommodation, but that is going to take time unfortunately. We sent across £140, which went towards buying them each a small tent, ground mat and sleeping bag. Hopefully with these they will at least stay dry and warm until something more permanent can be found for them.
Feb 23, 2017
We were contacted about a lady who had returned her completed Employment Support Allowance (ESA) forms to the DWP as requested. She didn't though send them recorded delivery, which she later regretted when the DWP claimed not to have received them. She discovered this when her ESA payments stopped without warning. This went on for a while as last month she had to borrow enough money to be able to pay her bills and buy food. She had sensibly sought a nil income form from her local authority to cover her rent and council tax payments. Eventually the DWP 'found' the forms and agreed that her payments would be reinstated, however they then cancelled them again just a few days later and she is still in the midst of trying to understand why this has happened or for the DWP to be able to explain why, as they don't appear to know why either.
As she is completely without money and needs to buy food, top up her gas and electric meters and buy some medical items we agreed to send across £100, which will hopefully tide her over until the DWP can reinstate her payments again.
Feb 22, 2017
A couple when they were made homeless placed their children with the woman's mother for safekeeping to keep them off the streets. They hadn't seen their children since last year, so we agreed to send across £30 to cover the return train fare for both Mum and Dad, and also a small amount to purchase some gifts for the children.
Feb 21, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a single mum, 28 years old, with two children, 10 and 4. The youngest has recently been diagnosed with Autism and they have moved into a property that allowed him to have his own bedroom. This mum has no family support as her own mother was/is a drug user and she has had no contact with her for 17 years. She has had to give up her job which she enjoyed to care for her youngest and was desperately in need of some items for the childrens rooms. She needed quilts and bedding for their beds and curtains for their rooms. The youngest suffers with incontenience due to his disability so she needed a new mattress for him, as well as some form of mattress protection. She had taken out a social fund loan to help her and the repayments for this would soon begin, so she was already be disadvantaged financially. We sent across £200 to cover all of this, so she could purchase what she needed.
Feb 21, 2017
This lady we helped had been taken advantage of by her violent and controlling ex husband when he encouraged her to claim for some benefits she was not entitled to. The DWP caught up with her and she was interviewed under caution where she admitted what had happened but that she had no idea she was not entitled. She trusted her husband to have made the correct claim. He promptly disappeared as soon as the money dried up. She has spent the past 8 years repaying this money each week from her benefits. Our agents have arranged with the DWP to lower the weekly repayments as she was only being left with £18.50 per week once the DWP repayments are made and she has covered her bills. This lady suffers with Chron's disease which means that she needs to follow a special diet which she struggles to afford. She also needs to wash her bedding and clothes frequently, as when she becomes stressed she soils these. Her washing machine, that she relied on, had broken beyond repair and she was unable to afford to use the launderette. Our agents had tried many places to secure a grant to purchase a new machine. We agreed to send her £250 so that a new machine could be purchased, delivered and installed for her.
Feb 21, 2017
We were approached regarding a young mum, a single parent, who was struggling with ill health herself and taking care of her two teenaged daughters, both of them suffering with aspergers, behavioural problems and suicide attempts. Both girls are in receipt of DLA, but one of whom was refused DLA on renewal of the award. This is currently being appealed. Losing that DLA award has had a knock on effect on her tax credits payments, with those being stopped and she has not had any money through since last November. Tax Credits have decided that there has been an overpayment as the Mum was late notifying them of the DLA stopping, so her Tax Credits payments have been halted until April 2017. We agreed to send across £100 as we found out that her rent and council tax payments were still being covered.
Feb 19, 2017
We were contacted urgently about a lady who is staying in a hostel and was complaining about a sudden and unexpected pain in her leg, accommpanied by it feeling very hot to the touch. The hostel had a look at it and said it was a bruise and nothing to worry about, but she rang 111 who told her to go to hospital. The trouble though was that she had no money to get to the hospital so said she'd leave it until the morning. We sent across £10 to get her to and from the hospital.
Feb 13, 2017
We were contacted about a man who had recently been evicted from where he was living, through no fault of his own. His landlady, unknown to him, had become quite seriously unwell and started to behave quite oddly, which resulted in her evicting him from his home.
Initially his local authority were unprepared to help him as they kept stating they did not believe he was living at this address. Thankfully our agent was able to provide evidence to support he had been living there, so the local authority changed their tune and decided to step in and help house him. As it is short notice and currently they don't have any suitable properties near to his friends and his family doctor. they have found him temporary accommodation, but over an hour away on the bus. Currently he has to attend his doctors three times a week, and changing doctors at the moment would not be good for his mental health, so The Biscuit Fund sent money across to buy him an inexpensive toaster, kettle, small tabletop halogen oven, quilt, pillows and some bedlinen. We also funded his first bus pass, so he would be covered for the first month and able to continue with his existing doctor. An assessment is being arranged for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and depending on the result of that, he might then be entitled to a free travel pass.
Our agent commented that just lately there have been a number of adults she'd been working with that had been tested as positive for ASD, where previously they might have been undiagnosed and presenting as "difficult" or "hard to reach" by the various agencies that has been working with them.
Feb 9, 2017
We were approached about a young man, who had previously been street homeless but was now in accommodation, safe and dry. However, his crippling depression and anxiety moved in with him and things have got on top of him. His finances had got out of control and after paying his bills, his remaining money was sucked up by his bank overdraft, leaving him and his dog without food, or any money for the gas and electricity meters. We agreed to send across a sum of £80 to allow him to top up his meters and buy some much needed food. Also, he was supposed to have been previously supported in terms of financial budgeting, but this will now be taken over by a new agency that will fully support him going forward.
Feb 8, 2017
We were contacted by an organisation that needed a small amount of help with a young man whose only companion is his cat that has lived with him for several years. Unfortunately his cat had come home with fleas, which were now making themselves at home in the house. He needed some money to be able to purchase a decent flea treatment for the cat, and something to use in the house to get rid of the fleas before it became a serious infestation. He is on Job Seekers Allowance at the moment, as his previous criminal record has meant that although he's turned his life around, finding employment is proving difficult. He could afford to make sure the cat was fed on his Job Seekers money, but there was not enough to get the flea treatment. The treatment was purchased on his behalf and delivered to him, along with a contribution of some food.
Feb 8, 2017
We were contacted today by an agency that are working with a man suffering with anxiety and depression. He had got himself into some quite serious debt and had effectively switched off to it all, shoving his head in the sand. He hadn't claimed any benefits at all for the past two years, relying instead on family who had been putting him up and feeding him. These debts have begun to catch up with him and the relentless letters chasing the debts are only serving to increase his anxiety and feed his depression. The agency are now in the process of helping him to apply for employment support allowance, and seek much needed medical help. They are also helping him deal with his debts, urging him to apply for a debt relief order, as he has no assets or savings. Unfortunately, though with no money to his name he is unable to raise the £90 needed to pay for the fees for the order. We agreed that by sending the money across to cover this, it would allow him to have some relief from stress and begin to rebuild his life again.
Feb 6, 2017
We were made aware of a family, Mum, Dad, and four of their children, struggling to keep their heads above water and not lose their home. They'd been given two weeks notice of eviction, and had to raise £650, which were the arrears on the rent, in order to prevent this from happening. The mother is disabled and has been unable to claim employment support allowance previously as the husband has been working which wouldn't allow this. Earlier last year the husband had surgery he had been waiting some time for on his back and was forced to go on to sickness benefits. He retrained afterwards as a lorry driver and was all set to go back to work, but was thwarted in his attempts when he was knocked off his motorbike. This meant he was back on sickness benefits again. With the introduction of Universal Credit, it means that many people go weeks before any money actually arrives in their bank accounts, from which they need to pay their rent, so this only served to mean there were huge gaps in their payments. Their attempts to claim for any financial help are made worse by the fact that their older sons are working jobs on minimum wage, so as non dependant adults, any housing benefit is seriously reduced. This meant that the boys money was literally keeping the family afloat, paying for the rent, council tax, bills and food. A fundraiser was put together to help the family, and £450 of the amount needed was raised that way, by donations offered by friends, family and complete strangers, that simply wanted to help. The Biscuit Fund stepped in and offered £200 towards the final sum, as there is a 15 year old girl in the household currently studying for her GCSEs. This literally saved the whole family being made homeless as well as their two elderly dogs and their cats.
Feb 5, 2017
We were approached via an agency about a man in his 30s who had been self employed but had had to give up work last year when his work began to dry up. He somehow managed to exist by taking out loans to provide some money to live off, but they were now writing to him constantly, seeking repayments which he was unable to meet. He was already suffering with anxiety and depression, and the constant worry of debt was only serving to escalate that. He had been advised to arrange a debt relief order which the agency were helping him with but he was unable to push that forward without the £90 it costs to put a debt relief order in place, as the Universal Credit payments he receives do not allow enough money to do that. We agreed we would send a cheque to cover this amount so that this man could then begin to focus on getting his life back on track and be well enough again to be able to return to work.
Feb 5, 2017
We came across a young man who had been struggling to keep himself out of trouble until he started to volunteer with a charity in his local area, helping people that are street homeless. By helping out with the charity he was unwittingly helping himself, and many of the various agencies involved have been commenting on how this is such a positive result for him. He is taking some time out from the charity for a while and needed a small amount of financial support, so we sent across £40 to tide him over. The charity are hoping to see him back with them soon, offering his invaluable help.
Feb 1, 2017
A young pregnant mother, 21 years old, had been in receipt of employment support allowance, until November last year, when she failed to attend a meeting with her work coach at the job centre, which is a requirement of being placed in the work related activity group of ESA. The young woman has aspergers and anger issues and is usually accompanied to her meetings by her Grandmother, but she was unfortunately unwell herself and couldn't attend. Missing the appointment meant that the ESA payments were stopped immediately. There is an agency now helping the family to get the payments reinstated but it will take some time for any payments to arrive again.
This young woman's father had died when she was 11 years old, and she continued to live with her mother but that relationship had completely broken down by the time she was 16 so her Grandparents took her in and looked after her, which is where she still is today. The loss of the ESA payments has put a huge strain on the whole family, so we agreed to send across £150 to be split between the Grandparents and the young woman.
Jan 28, 2017
So today we helped a lady living on her own. She had been in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and as she receives Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and no one claims carers allowance for her, then she was entitled to be paid a Severe Disability Premium (SDP). Her PIP is still in payment, however at her last face to face assessment, the assessor rushed her through the assessment and wouldn't allow her to elaborate on any of her questions, telling her to hurry up and just answer yes or no! So despite she has PIP in payment, because she was considered by a different assessor to be in need of additional help, this assessor for her ESA felt differently and contradicted the previous assessor and found her fit for work. The consequences of this decision was that her money went down considerably as she lost the ESA and the SDP, and had to sign on for Job Seekers, despite the fact that she is too poorly to work. When we came across her, she told us she was having to stay in bed because it was the only way she could keep warm as she couldn't afford to top up her meters, or buy any food. We sent across a small sum of money to help tide her over until her advance payment of JSA could be made. We gave her some contact details of places she could go to on Monday in her local area to get some help in appealing this dreadful and quite stupid decision.
She later told us this:
Because of what you did with your kindness today, I have realised there are people out there that care and can help, I thought I was alone. I'm going to check out the links you sent me and get some help. I realise now it is okay to ask for help. I need help with a lot of things but I'm now going to ask for it in future. I thought if I ignored the problem long enough it would go away, but it didn't. Your help to me today truly has made a massive difference.
Jan 26, 2017
We were told of a couple, who'd recently had to move home after they had been subject to being stalked. Since moving, the wife had been fortunate enough to find work but the work was very intermittent. Her husband is disabled and unable to work, and because his wife is working he is unable to claim any out of work benefits to help them. Following the move of home they'd fallen into arrears with their rent. An agency are helping the husband apply for Personal Independence Payment, and would also see if it might be possible for them to apply for a discretionary housing payment (these though are very hard to be awarded, and looked at on a case by case basis by the local authority.) We agreed as a group to arrange for £100 to be sent to the couple to help relieve some of the worry regarding the arrears.
It is not just people that aren't working that are struggling financially, it is also those in employment, but where their hours of work are not regular enough for them to make any plans, rely on them or even meet their basic living requirements.
Jan 25, 2017
We became aware of a family, parents and their four children that were being supported by a local to them welfare rights group. The father had been in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, receiving the basic assessment rate of £73.10 per week. He had been trying to get his wife added to this claim but they were having issues with her national insurance number, so that had not been possible and in fact this meagre amount had been stopped so they were without any money at all. They are being supported to get this resolved and to get Child Tax Credits put into place as soon as possible so that they might have enough money to survive on. We agreed in the interim until the DWP could restart the payments to send across £100 to help them.
Jan 20, 2017
We were made aware of a man who volunteers in his local area with an organisation that helps the less fortunate. He'd discovered his fridge had blown and all his food had gone off. It was a second hand fridge anyhow that had been given to him by a friend, and had lasted well. He'd been offered a replacement fridge, which the organisation he volunteers for was going to arrange to get PAT tested for him, but he had no money to buy any food until his benefits payments were due to be paid next Tuesday. We agreed to send across a sum of £30 so that he could replace the food he'd lost and refill his fridge.
Jan 19, 2017
Our agent told us today of a man she had come across as part of her work supporting the homeless in her hometown. This man had driven up from another part of the country to try to find family. He had ended up giving away his car, his laptop and all his clothes apart from those he stood up in, and had been living street homeless for the past two weeks. He realised that he needed serious help with his mental health and asked for help. So our agent secured him mental health intervention in his hometown, she just needed to get him home again. This is where we come in, we agreed to pay the £20.60 for his train fare home and a small extra sum of money to purchase some food. A volunteer agreed to travel with him to make sure he got back safely and was met by the crisis team at the other end.
Jan 19, 2017
We were alerted to someone who was finally being allowed to move out of rehab and had a flat ready and waiting for them to move into, but the barrier to this becoming a possibility was the requirement that a week's rent of £87 be paid up front. We quickly agreed that to do this was the best way to support this person, and arranged for the sum of £87 to be sent directly to the landlord to make sure it was all dealt with speedily and without delay. They were able to move into their new accommodation that very day.
Jan 16, 2017
We received an email this morning, and we wanted to share its content with you all.
XXXX has asked me to pass on her thanks for the money you have paid into her account. She also said that it is lovely to be able to have a bath!
Thank you again
You see, it is the little things that can change someone's world, from that of desperation and despair, to one of "I might find the strength to fight on another day."
From the bottom of our hearts - thank you.
Jan 14, 2017
We featured in an article in The Guardian on the 2nd of January this year, see this link to the webpage about it Whenever our name is mentioned in the press this has a wonderful affect as it makes people aware of us who might not have known about us before. We find we get a nice flurry of donations to help fill the coffers with much needed and valuable funds. Now and again we get a brief message that is sent along with a request to pay using a system other than Paypal. Here are some of them, for obvious reasons we have removed any identifying details.
I would like to donate to the Biscuit fund.
I do not want to use paypal. Could you send me details of the bank account number and/ or your address to send a cheque.
I read about the biscuit fund in a Guardian article . Like many people I know something of how easy it is to spiral downwards int poverty - and your blog entries show how meeting a need at a critical time can make such a difference. Great to read about the work you are doing. Heart breaking to read how so many people, families , children are at risk and suffering. What happened to the 'welfare state'?
Hi, can you please provide bank details so that I can donate (I don't like Paypal). For info, I came across TBF on a comment on a Guardian article just now. You're clearly doing fantastic work and I would like to contribute. I just don't like Paypal! Thank you.
£50 donation You helped me when I had nothing: I bought thermals and a warm winter coat. Thank you so much. Best wishes and love.
A friend told me about todays guardian article. yourwork is simple and amazing. As I sit and do my tax return, you brought me back to the hard reality of life for some people - and hastened me to my paypal account to send you £100 +GA (gift aid) Good luck with all you do in 2017
Seeing the link to The Biscuit fund in the Guardian has lifted my spirits knowing there are good people out there, and I have sent a link to anyone I know who might be interested.
So thank you from us all, because without your essential donations we would be unable to help people out the way we do. Every single penny of the money that is raised goes to help others. We donate all our time and operate online, so have no offices or overheads. We are just a group of likeminded individuals who came together to try to show some kindness to people at a time when it feels like the whole world is against you.
Offering a crumb of hope!
Jan 14, 2017
This month we are one of the nominations as favourite charity of the month with My Voucher Codes. You can help us if you so wish in two ways.
One by voting for us to be the chosen charity of the month, to receive a donation which as you already know we will put to excellent use. Spending not a penny of what is brought in as donations on anything other than helping others.
You can click this link and it will take you to their website, where over on the right hand side, (scroll down a bit) you will see the opportunity to vote for us. Please do!
Secondly, you can use this website to make your purchases and by doing so you increase the donation that is made to us. Each time you use the site, we benefit while we are the nominated charity.
This is the Link - please go and vote for us! Thank you!
Jan 12, 2017
A lady we were aware of had told the DWP that she would be moving her boyfriend in to live with her on a permanent basis. She was at the time in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and low rate Disability Living Allowance. Being in receipt of ESA meant she was able to claim housing benefit and council tax relief. DWP responded to her honesty by immediately stopping her ESA payments, which then triggered her housing benefit and council tax relief being stopped also. Her partner had only part time work, 20 hours per week, which was too few to be able to claim working tax credits, currently 30 hours per week, so that wasn't an option. Also because the work he was doing was as a self employed person, he was struggling to get any proof of his income to give to their local authority to satisify their demands for proof of earnings. All this happened just before Christmas, and he was left with no work at all over the Christmas period, so no income beyond the low rate DLA she received. Her rent was in arrears, and she was close to losing her home. It was just a struggle too far. So we agreed to send across £300 to cover the rent arrears and an extra £50 so they could get some food. Their Christmas meals over the whole of the Christmas period consisted of only baked beans and potatoes, all they could afford. Hopefully this money will help them get straight with their rent. We discovered they now have some proof of income, so hopefully the relevant authorities can be satisfied and they can begin to get on with their lives together.
Jan 10, 2017
We were made aware of a woman who although she'd applied for welfare benefits, she was told that although she would receive payments, those would not begin for six weeks. This leaves her without food, fuel or housing benefit. Our contact said they would assist her with applying for housing benefit and council tax relief on a nil income basis with her local authority. Also, she will be encouraged to apply for a benefits advance and assistance in the form of vouchers for her local food bank to get her through this period. We agreed to send across the sum of £100 so she could top up her energy meters and buy some food.
Jan 10, 2017
Our agent told us of a man with physical disabilities as well as mental health issues. He had been sent a letter requesting he attend a meeting at his local job centre, however the letter was sent to the local contact point but he never received it as he is living homeless and it went to the local night shelter. The result of the missed appointment was that the DWP sanctioned his money for 4 weeks, which means for the next four weeks he receives nothing at all. Our agent said she would help him appeal the sanction and get his money reinstated. We agreed a sum of money be sent over to him to enable him to purchase some food and last him until his benefits can be reinstated.
Jan 10, 2017
We were contacted about a 60 year old man who had been kicked off Employment Support Allowance (ESA) despite being not well enough to work. He had with help submitted a request for a Mandatory Reconsideration (where the DWP Decision Makers look at the assessment data again) but that too had been refused. All his benefits payments had been stopped and could not be reinstated until an appeal has been lodged. In normal circumstances you would claim Job Seekers allowance while you wait to hear the outcome of the appeal and if it has been accepted to go to tribunal. We agreed to send across £100 to keep him going until his appeal can be lodged and accepted.
Jan 9, 2017
Our agents told us of a lady, that although she owned her own home and wasn't therefore claiming Housing Benefit (there is a claim for council tax relief though), she was unable to afford to pay for any heating in her home at all. Her hot water was heated using the gas boiler, so without gas, there was no heat nor hot water for washing even. The lady is in the process of applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration of her Employment Support Allowance, which she was kicked off after her last assessment and forced to claim Job Seekers Allowance while this is being looked at*. We agreed to send across £50 to top up her gas and electricity meters so she could at least have some heat again.
*Currently when a person is assessed for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) a large number of people are refused, even if they had been claiming ESA before. You cannot claim ESA without a fit (sick) note from your doctor, so your own doctor deems you sick/disabled/mentally unwell enough to not be working, yet individuals are still refused ESA. Their only alternative is to apply for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), while they apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) where a Decision Maker at the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) looks at the claim again. If the first decision is overturned, then the claimant can be put back on to ESA, and any monies due to them is paid, less the amount they have been paid in JSA. There are currently no guidelines as to how long a MR can take, and it can be weeks. Many times the case is overturned at the MR stage, if that fails, then the claimant has the right to take the matter to Tribunal, where a great many of the cases are overturned, and the claimaint is then paid what is owed to them, again, minus the amount they've been paid in Job Seekers Allowance. Many of these claimants would not be safe to be employed in a work situation, for their own sakes and others around them, yet the DWP states they are when they are refused ESA.
There is a great deal on TV in the UK where those on disability or out of work benefits are demonised. Yes, you will see individuals that 'milk' the system, but those individuals are few and far between. Many people stuck at home, looking at four walls on disability benefits would love to be able to go out to work again and miss that work environment. To have individuals like that on TV though, wouldn't 'up the ratings' for the TV producers, so they go with the sensationalised cases instead, and quite possibly edit the programmes to make things look even worse than they really are. Many illnesses are invisible, just because a person doesn't look sick, doesn't mean they aren't. Many people put a brave face on depression, not wanting to drag others down to that pit of despair they find themselves in, because knowing how bad it feels for them, they wouldn't wish that on their worst enemy.
So please, be kind, you are not walking in that person's shoes and don't necessarily know how they feel.
Jan 7, 2017
At a soup kitchen today a lady showed up asking for food. She explained she had travelled down to see family from a distance away but it had all gone horribly wrong. She was unable to get back home again and had no money to pay for the fare. She'd been forced to live on the streets, homeless, even though she had a home to go to. She needed £33 to buy a ticket to get back home again, so we agreed to cover the cost of her train fare home. Our agent purchased the ticket for her as she didn't have any cards or anything to use. We were pleased to have resolved this issue within an hour of it coming to our attention.
Jan 5, 2017
Our agent told us of a lady who because of a thyroid imbalance, mental health issues and asthma was having to be frequently admitted to hospital for treatment. The thyroid imbalance caused her to be morbidly obsese, which meant she struggled with washing, and also didn't have any spare clothes at all, only those she struggled to stand up in. This meant her clothes were in need of washing and have lots holes in them. This is alienating her from other people that are currently staying temporarily in the same hostel as her. We agreed to send across a sum of money to allow her to purchase some spare clothes. Our agent will help her bid on accommodation with her local authority. Also they will be making sure that all is done that can be done to support her and her health conditions.
Dec 31, 2016
Our agent told us of a young man, 19 years old, who had been running with the wrong crowd. He had begun to see what was going on and wanted out, but so far that has meant he has been twice attacked, resulting in his hands being slashed and stabbed. That matter is being dealt with by the appropriate authorities, but his living situation needed addressing. A place has been found for him to move to and be safe and secure, but it was necessary to put him up in accommodation to keep him safe and off the streets. We sent across £100, £50 of that to go towards his overnight accommodation for the past few nights, and £50 for him to be able to get some essentials.
Dec 30, 2016
We came across a lady whose benefits payments were expected into her bank account today and had ordered some food to be delivered to her. Unfortunately due to the bank holidays, her payments will not be received until Tuesday, which left her unable to pay for the food for the weekend and beyond, and unable to purchase any food from elsewhere until at least next Tuesday when the banks open again. We agreed to send across £30 to tide her over until her next payment arrives. She was extremely grateful for the help.
Dec 29, 2016
Our agents told us of a man who had been attending a Christmas Crisis centre for meals and stayed for both nights that the accommodation was provided. He has been sleeping rough, in his sleeping bag with no shelter at all. A friend had offered him the chance to share his tent, but it was filled with this friend's belongings, and our agent could forsee this could cause problems. We agreed a sum of £70 to be put towards purchasing him a double skinned two man tent, which one was found for £50 in the sales, and the remaining £20 being put towards purchasing some essential items for him. Hopefully having the tent will mean he can stay dry, even if staying warm is more difficult, especially given how cold it has been just lately. In the long term, hopefully he will be able to secure permanent indoor accommodation.
Our agent got back in touch to let us know this
"He was so happy and the tent is epic
When he told me his story, and I said "there maybe a solution to this....leave it with me" He didn't think I was telling the truth xx
He's so utterly happy and when I gave him the tent went all silly on me x He just couldn't cope as didn't believe x
He's off shopping today for supplies with the remainder £20 and for a man that didn't smile before he is now xx
Thank you so much "
Thank you to everyone that has donated this year to The Biscuit Fund, without your help, none of this would be possible.
Dec 27, 2016
Our agent told us of a homeless man who had lost his award of employment support allowance and with it his housing benefit, so was evicted from his home. He came to attention when he stayed with a homeless project over the Christmas period. Turns out he has extremely ulcerated legs from standing and walking constantly. In fact the two nights he stayed at the Christmas homeless shelter was the first time in 3 months he had slept laying down. He's spent the last 18 months sleeping rough in a church porch. He had fought with the assistance of a local to him advocacy group to get his ESA reinstated, but his local authority were unprepared to help him with housing to get him off the streets, and the advocacy group closed down. Our agent, with the help of the Christmas Homeless Project managed to find somewhere for him to live, that will be prepared to accept housing benefit for the rent. We were glad to help out with the £200 necessary to cover the deposit. Hopefully he will now be able to be somewhere safe and warm, where he can begin to recover.
Dec 24, 2016
A very Merry Christmas from us all at the Biscuit Fund. Without your help this year by donating we would not have been able to help as many people as we have. As you already know every penny donated goes to help people that are desperately in need. We often hear that the help was received when all hope was lost.
So we would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of The Biscuit Fund supporters, from all of us here at the Biscuit Fund and on behalf of everyone the Fund has helped this year. We hope that you have a lovely day yourselves.
Dec 24, 2016
Our agent that provides some Christmas Cheer for the homeless each year in the area she lives, this year decided that not only would they put on the Christmas Dinner which is always very welcome, but she would with help put together some small hampers of goodies. This would mean each person would receive a small hamper of nice goodies to take away with them. Nothing big, some smellies, nice care packages really with some sweets and chocolate. She already had the funds to provide 45 of the boxes, so we sent across £225 to cover the remaining 45 boxes, so she'd have 90 hampers in all.
Dec 24, 2016
We were told about a family, Mum, Dad and a 4 year old. Dad had lost his job and needed to sign on for Job Seekers, which he did. However the Job Centre told them that he'd not begin to receive any benefit payments until the 10th January! They'd been relying on foodbanks and were facing Christmas Day with a few items of tinned food in the cupboards and some odd bits in the freezer. Not only food, but they had heating to pay for too. If you are on pay as you go electric and gas meters the cost of these can be quite excessive. This lady said her all electrically heated home costs £20 every three days.
We agreed to send across £150 to help them have a better Christmas and some food for the cupboards until their first JSA payment comes through.
Dec 23, 2016
Our agents told us about a family, the father out of work, as was the two teenaged children, and the wife is disabled with breathing difficulties. Our agents helped them to sign on for Job Seekers as they have been unable to get any agency work for the past few weeks. One of the sons was working a zero hour contract in a high street store, but after falling unwell and offering a fit (sick) note, he was sacked leaving him without employment. When the father tried to sign on for Job Seekers he was told this would not be possible as his wife is disabled and not fit for work. Our agents are trying to get this resolved and for him to be able to sign on to JSA. In the meantime, they need some food so we agreed to send across £150 to tide them over until the New Year.
Dec 22, 2016
Our agent made us aware of a man, homeless with only the clothes he was stood up in. He suffers with PTSD, depression and anxiety. Currently he is able to stay with a friend. He failed an ESA work capability assessment and while requesting a mandatory reconsideration he attempted to apply for Job Seekers but he was unable to fulfill the job search obligations due to his mental health issues. He has reapplied for ESA with a new diagnosed condition, but this is failing because he is unable to supply the DWP with a fit (sick) note as his doctor is too far away from where he is currently able to stay. His anxiety won't allow him to travel via public transport and he does not have the money to be able to afford a taxi to get there. He had with the help of our agent applied for financial assistance from his local welfare support, but with the Christmas closures it is unlikely it would happen in time and also might not happen anyhow, due to previously being supported this way. We agreed to send across £100 to allow him to get to his doctors and get the fit note and to have some money to buy some food and clothing.
Dec 22, 2016
We were contacted about a single Mum with two teenaged disabled children. Her eldest son had failed to be awarded PIP when he transitioned from Disability Living Allowance, when he failed to attend a medical, which they claim they were not informed about. The knock on of this though is that the failure to have PIP in place has meant that the carers allowance his mum was receiving has been stopped. In an effort to help, the eldest son has tried to find some employment, but so far he has only been able to get some occasional work on zero hours contracts. Their local authority believes he is earning more than he is, so they are applying a very high non-dependant charge. If all this wasn't enough, her landlord has applied to have them evicted, and the lady's ex husband is now refusing to pay the child maintenance payments. So this family have been left in a huge mess. This lady had been hoping to somehow give her two children as normal a Christmas as possible, but now didn't even have enough money to buy food, in fact all she had was £14 to feed three people and put money on the gas and the electricity. We agreed a sum of £250, and sent that across. She told us she was crying as she was so amazed at the help she'd received.
Dec 22, 2016
We were contacted about a man in his forties who had suffered two strokes earlier this year, leaving him with speech and memory problems. As he had only been working on a casual basis he wasn't entitled to any sick pay. He'd applied for ESA but his forms had been lost and his claim closed in error, meaning he'd received no benefits payments since July this year. Also he was on the point of eviction as his housing benefit hadn't been paid. Our agents have managed to get his housing benefit put in place and also have made inroads into getting his ESA payments paid again, but this is unlikely to be paid until the New Year, leaving this man with no money for food over the Christmas period or for utilities. We agreed to send across £100, and hopefully some of his faith has been restored.
Dec 22, 2016
Our agent had been in touch with a lady and her family that had been suddenly evicted from their home because they had complained about the condition of their property. Absestos had been found in the property and was open to the inside of the property. They had had a bad time anyhow with their landlord, who had been harrassing them as well. They used all their benefits money and the small amount of savings they had to move and pay for a replacement cooker. We agreed to send across £100 to help them get through until their next payment benefit is due. Our agent also has advised them to seek some advice regarding the eviction as it does sound as if it is an illegal eviction.
Dec 20, 2016
Our agent whilst at her local authority housing office, assisting another client, came across a lady she knew of, very distressed. She discovered that she was under threat of eviction, as she had been sanctioned three times from her ESA payments. This had resulted in her housing benefit not being paid, leading to her being in arrears on her rent. Our agent has confirmed that if it becomes necessary that this lady needs to go to court to fight an eviction order, she will be with her every step of the way to make certain it is not enforced. She was also going to speak to the DWP, as this is a very vulnerable woman, that has issues which has led to the sanctions, but the DWP are not taking these into consideration. Our agent will also be attending the council offices with this lady to help to get her rent issues resolved. Even sanctioned, this lady should have been made aware that she had the right to apply for housing benefit on a nil income basis, not left unsupported and without financial aid. Our agent advised us that she was making a formal complaint as she was unhappy about the lack of advice they were offering. We agreed to send across £200 to help.
Dec 20, 2016
Our agent made us aware of a single mum with a teenaged daughter. This lady has been refused ESA three times, been all the way to tribunal and still been refused. However whenever she attempts to sign on for Job Seekers she is refused as they say she is too ill to fulfill their obligations. So caught between a rock and a hard place she only has child benefit and child tax credits for them both to live off, as she has also been refused PIP too. With little or no money to pay for food, gas or electric, she and her daughter have been living off food vouchers given by a local to them organisation. We agreed that we should send across £200 to help her out at such a difficult time.
Dec 16, 2016
Our agent told of us a man who had sent his Fit Note to the DWP to fulfill his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) obligation, but it was not received. The first he knew of this was when his payment did not arrive in his bank account as he expected it to. As they hadn't received the fit note, his ESA payments had stopped leaving him without money for gas, electric or food. He phoned the DWP who has requested that he sends a replacement fit note, and having done that his payments should begin again next week. In the meantime we sent across £50 so he could top up his gas and electric meters and buy some food.
Dec 12, 2016
We were made aware of a night kitchen, serving much needed warm food, to 50-80 people per night, many of them regulars that are living on the streets. We like to be able to do something like this from time to time as it allows us to help lots of people, all at once. Plus the night kitchen were very grateful for the £100 we sent across to them. This will allow them to stock up their 'larder' for future night time meals.
Dec 12, 2016
Our agent told us of a lady who had missed a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) because she was very ill with glandular fever and was hightly contagious, so unable to attend. The assessor and DWP found her fit for work though, so she was kicked off ESA. She has a young son, so is in receipt of child tax credits and child benefit, but that is all. Her council tax and housing benefit was being looked into, to get that reinstated, as the ESA stopping will have informed her local authority, so her housing benefit will have stopped, along with the counci tax relief. This all happening has caused the lady to have panic attacks as her anxiety levels have been stressed beyond belief. We agreed we would send across £150 to help her and hopefully ease some of her fears that her son might be taken from her if she is seen as being unable to feed him adequately.
After she had received the money, this was her reply "I'm lost for words I've gone from suicidal to hopeful in seconds - I can't thank you enough xx I just can't believe it, please pass on my massive thanks it means more than just the money, I was ready to give up xx"
Dec 9, 2016
Our agent, who had personal knowledge of this lady, spotted a mention that she'd had to go to a foodbank for help to feed her and her family. On enquiry we found that although her husband works, his income is just over the limit that means they can not claim any additional financial help. She'd had to give up her part time job as her arthritis was preventing her from working, and her adult son had recently lost his job due to his mental health condition. The lady was signposted to apply for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments for her son, as his mental health prevents him from working. We agreed to send across £100 as a boost to help them. She was extremely moved by the help and said that she was so happy, crying tears of joy, as she would be able to top up her meters and have the heating on.
Dec 8, 2016
Our contact had visited a man in his home following the discovery that while he'd been out his 'friend' had sold his washing machine, fridge, freezer and sofa. The washing machine and the fridge were not even his, but belonged to his landlord. He was extremely distressed, and to make matters worse all his perishable food had gone off too. He was accompanied to his local foodbank in an effort to replace his lost food, plus our contact managed to source some reconditioned items to replace the stolen ones. As soon as they have been PAT tested, they will be delivered to the man in his home. The cost of all the items came to £70 which we agreed to cover.
Dec 7, 2016
A young man in his 30s crossed our radar today. His back and pelvis is smashed, he is incontinent and a wheelchair user. The bag he uses to help with the incontinence is leaking, which is causing him distress. Our agent is sourcing a replacement bag for him to use, however he was absolutely desperate for some warm clothing. We sent across £110, and with the help of the agent, a warm coat, thermals, teeshirts, jumper, pants and socks were purchased, along with some toiletries to help him stay clean. Packs of wipes are useful for when he is unable to access washing facilities. Our agent, who stated how shocked she was at his condition, being a wheelchair user and living rough too, she would access help for him to try to get him to a place of warmth and safety.
It has been so cold, so these warm clothes will help him stay a bit warmer tonight. Also hopefully, some accommodation can be found, as living on the streets is unsuitable for anyone, especially someone totally dependent on a wheelchair.
Dec 6, 2016
We received the brilliant news that a homeless man we knew about had finally been offered accommodation that would take him away from being homeless, living on the streets. Unfortunately, due to initial set ups of moving into the flat, his bank account was unexpectedly debited by a cost he wasn't expecting to happen. As it was by direct debit and the company concerned maintained that he knew about it, they were not prepared to refund the money. This action left this man without any money for gas or electricity, so he was unable to have any heating on or cook any food. We agreed to send over a sum of £50 to allow him to add some credit to his energy meters and warm up his new home.
Nov 29, 2016
We were alerted to a family where we have in the past helped the father when things were desperate. We found out that a member of the family had unexpectedly found dead which has understandably had a devastating effect on the family and no one seems to be functioning well at all right now. Money is incredbily tight, and they are desperately in need so it was agreed we would send across £100 so that some food can be bought for them. We are also liasising with agencies that hopefully will be able to put some support in place for the family.
Nov 29, 2016
We became aware of a man in his late 50s who had been forced to leave his previous job as a carer as his health was so poor, with a long list of physical ailments. He applied for ESA but was unsuccessful and forced into claiming Job Seekers instead. He is keen to try to find some employment as he feels this will help improve his mental health, but trying to get back into employmentt means interviews and suitable clothing. We made them aware of the flexible fund which is set up for purposes such as this. As we began to find out more about this man we realised that life had dealt him many unfortunate blows. It was decided that the fund should send him £50 as an exercise in hope. When you are struggling so much, just to survive, finding any spare money to even buy a shirt becomes nigh on impossible, so hopefully this will allow him to see that there are people that do care.
Nov 22, 2016
We were made aware of a 58 year old woman who had to flee her family home following a domestic abuse/violence situation. This meant for her, living in a woman's refuge for 6 months while she tried to get her life together again. She was eventually offered a one bedroom apartment, which she has frugally furnished with help from her family. She is in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance of £73.10 per week, but having to repay a Crisis Loan from when she fled the former family home, at a rate of £8.00 per week, leaving her with £65.10 to pay her bills and buy food with.
The issue she has is that she does not have a fridge or freezer, so any perishable foods she buys goes off quickly, and means her having to replace that in small quantities. On the money she is supposed to survive on this is very expensive. We agreed to send across the sum of £150 to purchase a budget fridge freezer, so that she could safely store her food. She will now be able to purchase items that are heavily reduced because they are close to their sell by date, and then freeze them if appropriate to do so.
Nov 21, 2016
A young mum with a six year old daughter has been left without any money for gas, electric or food because her Job Seekers Allowance has been sanctioned for 3 years! She still has a way to go yet on this sanction and the agents we are dealing with on this case are looking into helping her to get the sanction overturned. She has no family around her and has borrowed as much as she has been able to to survive from her friends and neighbours which has now made day to day living difficult as she is unable to pay them back. She has sold most of hers and her daughter's belonging to try to make ends meet.
When our agents met with this lady she was inconsolable. Her concern is with her daughter, who has only one pair of shoes to her name, a coat that is way too small, no fresh food to feed her. Although she has been able to get some food via a voucher for her local foodbank, much of the food she is given is not suitable for a young and growing child.
A decision by her local authority as to whether they are able to help her has to go to a decision maker, which is fine but it all takes time and while this decision is being reached, people are literally starving and freezing in the cold. We agreed because of how urgent this case was to send across £200, this was to provide money for gas and electric, and much needed food .
Two of our members were particularly affected by this story and one sent vouchers for £30 to buy a Christmas present for the little girl, and another member sent vouchers for £100 to buy some clothing for her.
Nov 16, 2016
We were contacted with an urgent case. A single mum with a child had been overpaid on tax credits and HMRC were collecting the overpayment from her child tax credits, which left her with no more than £20 per week for her and her daughter to live off. She had secured herself a new job, but found out that Tax Credits won't award working tax credit until she has supplied wage slips, but her new employer won't be doing that until some time in December. It was agreed that we send her £150 to be able to top up her gas and electric meters, buy some food and have some money for bus fares to get back and forth to work. Hopefully that money and the voucher for food sent to her from another organisation will keep her ticking over until her first salary is paid.
Nov 14, 2016
A single mum with four children had her tax credits cut as Tax Credits told her that one of her children had been inputted twice on to their system, which meant that her payments had been incorrect. While Tax Credits investigate this administrative error they stopped her payments. As she had also moved to a new doctors she'd been unable to supply the DWP with a fit (sick) note, so they have suspended her Employment Support Allowance payments until a fit note can be obtained. The appointments system at her doctors means having to wait a week before she is able to see a doctor to get whats needed. We agreed to send across £150 to buy food for her and her children.
Nov 6, 2016
We were made aware of an elderly couple, 96 and 88 years old, who had been burgled in their home, by someone forcing the rear window while they were in the warden controlled property. The elderly gentlemen had carried his army papers in his wallet since he had served in the Royal Engineers. Unfortunately his wallet containing these papers was stolen, along with some cherished jewellery and a purse. We organised for a small bouquet of flowers to be sent to them, as it must have been such an awful shock.
We later found out that a local locksmith had arranged to go to their home and offered to change their locks for them and refused to take payment. He wanted them to feel safe again in their home. There are some kind people about.
Nov 5, 2016
We recently had some feedback from a client following a recent grant that was sent across to help her and her young family. We do get lots of feedback but mostly it is a 'thank you so much' or 'this has made so much difference', maybe a 'this has made me cry that people want to help', or only yesterday someone said 'no one has helped me this way before'. Many people are embarrassed that they have needed the help and as you know no one is allowed to directly approach us for help, which allows us to be fairly certain that whom we help are in genuine need.
Every so often though you get one person who writes back just how they feel and this came through to us yesterday and we would like to share her words with you.
'just an update on the grant made recently to the woman near XXXX.
I just wanted to let you and the people who donated the money know that the last couple of weeks has been great for my family after receiving the donation. My children have eaten proper, nutritious meals for the first time in weeks as I have been able to do a proper shop. My son has started an new school this week and the money has enabled me to buy the uniform that he needed.
I have been able to make all of my medical appointments as we have also been able to put fuel in the car.
I can not express our gratitude enough. Your kindness and selflessness has really made a difference in our lives.
Other things are being sorted out too.'
From all of us here at The Biscuit Fund, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you. Your donations help us so much to help those in such desperate situations. So thank you once again for your help, and please share this post to get the word out there if you can. :-)
Nov 4, 2016
A man we had helped before with practical support had found himself homeless after his relationship with his family broke down. Our agent was liaising with his local authority to try to get some temporary accommodation sorted out for him, but for now he was staying with his Mum, sleeping on her sofa, but was unable to offer anything for food, which she couldn't afford herself to provide. We sent across £100 to pay for food and much needed toiletries.
Nov 4, 2016
We came across a young mum, with two small children, one 18 months old and one 17 weeks old. For some completely unknown reason, the Tax Credits Office were convinced these two very young children had moved out of the house and so therefore she was no longer entitled to her tax credits claim. She found out on the Friday morning as she was preparing for her weekly food to be delivered as usual from her local store. This meant no food and no money to go on the gas and electricity meters.
After some practical support in terms of getting the Tax Credits office to understand that they had got it wrong and potentially left two very young children in a very vulnerable situation they agreed to send across a sum of money until things could be properly resolved. We agreed, that we would still send across the money they had planned to send before Tax Credits pulled their finger out and got things partially sorted. So £100 was sent across which she was incredibly grateful for.
Oct 30, 2016
A young mother, married with two children attended her work capability assessment, after losing her full time employment due to her disabilities, no longer being able, in their opinion, to do her job. So her employer considers her unfit to work, yet the ESA (Employment Support Allowance) assessor felt differently and found her fit for work. This lady's husband had quit his job in order to care for her and so consequently their tax credits payments had ceased. The whole family were relying on the pre-assessment rate of ESA and child benefits payments to survive on. Now they were reduced to the child benefit only. A nil income form from their Council will help with the rent and council tax (which will have stopped due to the ESA being stopped). A local support group have stepped in to help guide them through the maze of requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration on this decision. She put in a request to apply for Job Seekers Allowance and turned up at the due time to sign on, only to be told that her appointment had been missed as it was a different time to that which she was told.
We as a group decided that something needed to happen and quickly, so we agreed to send them £150 to purchase food for the family.
Oct 27, 2016
A single man who had been hit badly by benefits cuts following the departure of his adult son from the household was in desperate need to some support. We became aware of this man's situation, and from the information we were able to get, he was in a dire situation and in desperate need to apply for a debt relief order in order to clear some of the debts he has, especially the high debts to do with his housing which will allow him to avoid eviction and homelessness. As he is only receiving job seekers allowance of £73.10 per week, it was impossible for him to meet his bills and buy some food, and then on top of that find the £90 necessary to apply to the Insolvency Service to have a debt relief order be processed. We considered that as this would mean this man could keep a roof over his head it was an easy decision to make.
Oct 26, 2016
A man we had been aware of before and had been offered practical help with getting off the streets had finally been offered a place of his own to live, as well as being awarded custody of his daughter. Our contact had organised the white goods and practical items of furniture, but this man has really bad COPD and the freezing cold flat was making his health worse. A couple of huge carpets had been found that would be suitable, plus there was someone standing by who could arrange to have them fitted if we could provide the funds to purchase them. We agreed to cover the cost of both carpets, so £130 was sent across to allow this to happen.
Oct 24, 2016
When a claimant fails to be awarded PIP, you'd think that might be a straightforward thing to happen, but not at all. You see an award of PIP entitles and leads the way to other benefits help, which when PIP is not awarded, they simply fall away. The lady in question, a double amputee, with a serious illness on top of that, had applied to transition from DLA, Disability Living Allowance, which she had been in receipt of for some years, to PIP, Personal Independence Payment, which the Government brought in to replace DLA. (There is no choice in the matter, once you are 'invited' to apply for PIP, you cannot choose not to do that and remain in receipt of DLA. Once your invitation date has passed, your DLA payments stop). Increasingly we are seeing more and more seriously ill and disabled people, dependent on specially adapted vehicles, as was the case with this lady, having their cars taken away from them. This for her means that as well as the money she'd come to rely on to survive, her means of getting out of the house will be gone, so she will become housebound. She is appealing that decision thankfully, but as it takes so long to be resolved, it is highly likely that her specially adapted car will have to go back before she can get this resolved. This week she and her family are being fed by her friends that have stepped up to help her, and next week it would be the foodbanks for help. We agreed to send her £100 so she could buy some much needed food and other items, for which she was extremly grateful.
Oct 18, 2016
We came across a lady who had been off work since earlier this year, having been taken to hospital suddenly in a desperate situation and needing life saving surgery. Unfortunately her sick pay (SSP) ran out in early October, and so she requested to claim Employment Support Allowance, but that wasn't as straightforward as she thought it might be. Initially refused, they then agreed she could claim ESA but that it would not be paid until she had received her last payment from her employer, and as she was paid in arrears, this meant that she would be left for a period of time with no money coming in whatsoever. What made matters worse was that her daughter was now 18 years of age and about to begin studying at University. This of course means that the child tax credits and child benefits payments that were being received stopped in August, as her daughter was no longer eligible to claim. This changeover often catches parents out, but for this to happen as well as everything else for this lady meant that she and her daughter were really in a desperate situation, with no money for even food. We agreed a sum of £100 so they could buy some food until her ESA payments started being paid.
Oct 17, 2016
A man, with a troubled past and desperately trying to turn his life around for the better had been offered a much needed place to live. Currently he is in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance only which does not stretch far at all. The deposit for his flat was almost £400 and he needed to somehow find that himself which was proving almost impossible. He was already showing self-reliance by signing up to take a business course, so we felt confident with a bit of assistance this might be achievable, so felt offering him £150 would go some way to help.
Oct 15, 2016
A lady came to our attention, a single mum who had recently had her abusive partner removed from their home and was facing the threat of imminent eviction. She is a student, studying full time to try to improve their long term situation as well as being a mum. She'd been having trouble with obtaining housing benefit because her council kept saying she wasn't entitled. This is where our contact came in who spoke to this lady's local authority and reminded them of the housing benefit rules. They then confirmed that she was entitled after all, and arrangement was made to process the housing benefit claim, which would though only be backdated so far. This resulted in a shortfall in the rent, which they expected this lady to find, which was proving almost impossible for her as she is existing on child tax credits payments only, (the child benefit was still being claimed by her abusive partner, which they are in the process of having switched back).
We agreed that we would meet the shortfall in rent so she didn't have to worry about that, and give her some extra money to be able to buy food and clothing for herself and her two children. In all we agreed a total amount of £250. Our agent is going to continue supporting this young woman until her issues can be fully resolved.
Oct 13, 2016
Our contact had been contacted to say that someone she was working with had sustained a knife attack, leaving him with a slashed face. She arranged to meet him in a public place and when she got there, he had just been attacked again, which she assisted the Police with.
He has been living on the streets, accompanied by his very well behaved dog. Our contact has been working with this man's local authority to get him off the streets and into housing, even if temporary housing to begin with, an appointment has been booked for this weekend. She had found somewhere for him in the next town to go to for a few nights, to get off the streets and be able to feel safe for the first time in ages. We agreed we would cover the cost for four nights in bed and breakfast accommodation, at a location that would allow him to take his dog along with him.
In the end it was possible to pay for him to stay in safe accommodation for four nights and also to have some spare money to buy some shoes as well.
Oct 5, 2016
We were made aware of a man that following a fall had broken his only pair of varifocal glasses that he relied on. Already facing issues to do with bedroom tax, he was unable to find the money necessary to be able to replace them. It was agreed that the sum of £90 be sent to him, as well as guidance as to where might be best for him to purchase the replacement glasses for a better price, or a better deal. The decision as to which option to go for was left for him to decide. Needless to say, he was very grateful for the help.
Oct 5, 2016
A couple finding themselves without their expected Employment Support Allowance payment rang the DWP to find out why this hadn't been paid in, only to discover that their ESA payments had been stopped on the 22nd September, a form for them to fill in had been sent to them on the 26th September, along with a reminder to fill in the form on exactly the same day! To stop the ESA payments without allowing adequate time for the claimant to fill in the extensive form (usually a month is allowed to complete and return this) let alone before they'd even received a form to fill in is not normal DWP policy. They admitted to the claimant that this should not have happened, but the decision to reinstate the payments and allow time for a new form to be sent, completed and returned would be up to a decision maker to decide on, not the person that answered the phone at the DWP. Unfortunately, this meant the claimant would be without any money to be able to buy food. Both the claimant and her partner are diabetic and have to take their medication with food, otherwise it would cause them problems. To not take the medication would be worse as it could case them further complications
Thankfully the claimant had had the sense to contact her Housing Association for a nil income form, to cover her housing benefit and council tax relief payments, as the ESA payments stopping, would have triggered these payments to stop also.
We decided this was a critical case and needed an urgent decision, so we agreed to send them £150 to allow them to purchase some food and have some money available until the DWP could sort this mess out and reinstate their payments. She and her partner were both moved to tears to the generosity of strangers, willing to step in and lend a hand at such a scary time.
This case for us was very alarming as many people do not have a buffer of money to fall back on as most are living from one benefit payment to the next.
Sep 29, 2016
We were made aware of an urgent case of a man who had been living in a homeless shelter, lost his phone and as a result lost contact with his family, as their numbers vanished with his phone. His family struggled to get in contact with him, and when they finally did, it was to tell him his sister had died and the funeral would be the very next day. He had no way to get there, nor did he have any suitable clothing to wear. So one of our contacts managed to get some an inexpensive shirt, tie and some trousers. They also organised the money for the bus ticket for him to get to the funeral, which he has attended today. A small, low cost challege for us, but it meant more than words could say to him, as he could at least say goodbye to his sister.
Sep 21, 2016
A young mum of a 2 year old, who had recently lost a child,due to it being still born, had found herself a job which she felt would be just the thing to get her out of the house and lift her spirits, as well as aid her ill health. She had the job in place but they needed a CRB check undertaken before she could start. This would be down to her to pay for. She'd tried elsewhere, but could only find only help with money for food or utilities, which is a pain as this would seriously help her get her life together. It was an easy decision for us to take as it would be so positive for her, so it was agreed that the £54 be sent across for her to get the test sorted out so she could begin work as soon as possible.
Sep 12, 2016
A lady suffering with COPD and mental health issues had been refused Employment Support Allowance, even at the tribunal stage and so found herself having to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance or being totally without any money at all. She was in a catch 22 situaton in that she didn't have any money to be able to afford to pay to get a bus to the job centre and it was too far for her to walk, especially with COPD. We agreed to send over a small amount to allow her to get to the Job Centre to sign on, otherwise her whole claim was going to be closed.
Sep 8, 2016
We helped a dad, 32 years old that lived alone, but had his two very young children over to visit and stay three nights a week, with a cooker as his had broken and he had no money to be able to replace it. A benefits team were helping him with arrears on his water bills, but he was careful to keep his meters topped up for his gas and electricity. We were astonished at just how tiny a sum of money he was managing to do this with each month, just over £250 per month Universal Credit. He was extremely grateful for the help.
Sep 7, 2016
We sent £100 to a woman who was at risk of losing her home that she shared with her son. A benefits team were helping her to sort things out with the court and getting her local authority to look at her housing benefit claim which had been incorrect for some time. It was agreed that a contribution towards what was outstanding with the debt on the housing would allow the benefit team breathing space to help the woman out and keep both her and her son being evicted and made homeless.
Sep 6, 2016
An unwell Mum, who had recently lost her son while on active service found herself unable to find the funds necessary to purchase certain essential items for her 14 year old daughter's school uniform. We sent across £50 towards the items she needed to buy, so that the daughter didn't have to miss any of her schooling at such an important time in her school life.
Sep 4, 2016
An easy one for us, we sent £50 to a charity that regularly feeds the homeless in their area with a hot meal, to help to keep up their spirits, keep them fed and show that someone does care. They used the money to buy 200 sausages, some vegetables, potatoes and gravy. Such a small sum of money making a huge difference to so many lives. All thanks to your donations that goes to help organisations like this that are working literally out on the streets of the UK.
Sep 3, 2016
We were made aware of a young woman, separated from her partner with the children spread between them at different addresses. She'd told tax credits she had had to stop working due to ill health, and was also struggling to get housing benefit in place, as well as her Employment Support Allowance payments, as they were waiting on her P45.
The changeover from being employed to relying on benefits can result in days or weeks of waiting for payments to begin, but how is a person supposed to manage to survive in the meantime? On top of dealing with a possible eviction, the child living with her was due to start back at school and needed some new uniform items, on top of needing money for food and utilities. Fortunately we were able to help and an amount of £200 was agreed between the Biscuit Fund members and sent off to her. She was extremely grateful for the help and to know that her son would be able to go into school dressed in the correct uniform. She would eek out the rest and see if possible to use some of it towards the arrears on her rent.
Aug 18, 2016
A lady we were aware of had been struggling to manage in the rented property she was in, her ill health meant that her existing home was no longer suitable, and she desperately needed to move to a bungalow. A suitable property came up and all was fine, apart from the fact that she had to move with only a weeks notice. She was so stressed out about the situation, "how could she possibly be expected by housing to be able to move without giving the full notice on her existing home?" She is someone who has been through so much, losing two close family members only a few months ago, yet she always steps up and tries to lift others spirits when they are down. We were honoured to be able to offer some help towards the situation.
The paperwork is now signed, and she moves any day. The hard work for her now begins as she has to pack up her life and move to her new place, where hopefully she will be happier and better able to cope.
Aug 18, 2016
We were contacted by someone who had seen on social media a group that helped the homeless, were fund raising to put together winter bags to give to the homeless. Many people on the streets don't have regular access to things that we might take for granted. A small tent to give them shelter is a start. Knowing that by contributing to their fund raising efforts, we are able to help many people all at once. So we sent across £140 to sponsor tents and winter packs, so they are ready for when the weather changes.
Aug 12, 2016
An urgent case came to our attention. A man who, for half of his life had been a below the knee amputee, with heath complications connected to this. Despite letting the DWP know he wouldn't be able to attend a work capability assessment, they stopped his Employment Support Allowance claim, which left him with no money, and the knock on of this was his housing benefit and council tax relief claims also stopped.
With two children under 10 to feed and no money, he was trying to see if he could return his motability vehicle so he could have at least the money that went to pay that, for food instead. Doing this though would mean he couldn't get around so well, and would struggle to get the children to school.
His gas and electric were on prepayment meters, so there were no debts associated with them, however there was nothing on the gas card, so they were without hot water. As all this had happened with such short notice he was unable to prepare for it financially, so the bank were returning direct debit payments and debiting his account with bank charges instead. Although as it is such a hand to mouth existance, it is almost impossible to have any sort of a financial buffer to deal with these kind of emergencies. So we sent over £200 to buy food, put money on to the gas card and fuel in the car. He was so grateful, and insisted that when he was able to, he hoped to pay the money back to the fund so that it can be used to help someone else.
Aug 10, 2016
A man in his 40s had been encouraged by his local job centre and social worker to move from claiming Job Seekers allowance, to claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The problem though was that this meant he fell through the gaps of the benefits payments and his money suddenly without warning stopped. Living alone, with mental health issues, and unable to adequately access help, he turned to his mother for help. Seeing her distress call, we stepped in, gave some advice as to how to proceed and arranged for a food shop to be delivered to his home so at least he had some food in the house. Hopefully, his ESA payments will begin soon and he will be receiving some money again.
Aug 8, 2016
We were made aware of a young Mum with five young children. Her partner had recently moved in with her and they had correctly notified Tax Credits of the change of circumstances. However, this meant that the child tax credits payments were suspended while their claim was being looked into. This money she relied on to feed the children, and with it being school holidays, at least at school the children would have received one full meal per day. We agreed to send over £200 for them to do a decent food shop with, in the hopes that with clever shopping this would tide them over until the tax credits claim could be reinstated.
Jul 28, 2016
We were contacted about a mother in receipt of employment support allowance, who with the support of an agency had been provided with a paper bond for a place to live, but the bond was only good for six months. Now that the six months were up, her landlord was pushing for the deposit to be paid, otherwise he stated he would have no choice but to begin eviction proceedings. We confirmed via the agency that if The Biscuit Fund offered to pay £250 towards the deposit, that the landlord would be prepared to accept the remainder of the payments over a longer period of time to allow the mother to be able to pay this.
Jul 25, 2016
A soon to be (in 5 days) Mum, expecting her first child was highlighted as being in extreme stress and in need. She had received her maternity grant and used it to buy things for the baby, but was without a washing machine or sufficient food. She had when we spoke to her enough food if she stretched it to last her two days.
It was agreed that £250 be sent to her, to go towards the purchase of a washing machine and to buy some food so she could stay properly nourished to provide for the baby and take care of herself. She was also given some benefit advice and assistance to resolve a small debt issue.
May 18, 2016
Our agent who does a lot of work with homeless people had been assisting another couple with trying to secure them accommodation. The couple had an urgent need however as one of them was very unwell with epilepsy. Because of their health their JSA had been stopped and an ESA claim had been started, but it meant they were left with very little to survive on in the interim. They were in absolutely desperate need of some new clothes and socks, so we sent £100 over to ensure they were at least warm and clean until the situation could be resolved. We wish we had enough funds to get people into secure housing, and it's always very sad for us when we are forced to make life more bearable on the streets rather than being able to get them into their own accommodation, but luckily our amazing agent continues to fight for those who have nowhere to live.
May 14, 2016
In May a family of three had to vacate their property were made homeless. The parents were on a joint esa claim as both are unwell. The claim was in the mans name with his wife as the additional applicant. They have an adult son with learning and physical disabilities who has own esa and pip claims.
Soon afterwards the man had breakdown and is now in rehab with no contact allowed with outside world until November. The Rehab people stopped the joint claim and turned it into a single claim so they could buy the mans toiletries etc for him.
Esa refused to split the claim until the man had gone to rehab even though he was in specialist night shelter before going to rehab. The woman was left with no claim and, as there is no emergency accommodation in local area, has been put into a bed and breakfast miles from her area. Their Son was staying with friends and then went to bnb but became unwell, due to not looking after his physical care needs, so is now in hospital having surgery.
The woman has been told she now has to start with a brand new claim and needs weekly sick notes from her gp, who she is now nowhere near, without the sick notes her claim will close and housing benefit will stop.
We were able to send her £200 to help her until her claim is sorted out, plus advice and the taxi fair to get to her GPs for sicknotes.
May 13, 2016
A young lady had suffered a series of mix ups with her benefits due to having to visit her very poorly mother with very little notice, just as her Universal Credit claim was being processed. Due to an error somewhere or other her housing benefit had been stopped meaning she had rent arrears. She was advised to claim JSA and then told she would have to work 35 hours per week in a canteen in order to receive any payments. Unfortunately the lady had to give up a voluntary role that may have led to full time work in order to do the assigned canteen role, so in effect had to walk away from a possible paying job. It was all somewhat of a pickle and this is only an outline of all of the things that had gone wrong!
She received assistance from an external agency to appeal her rent arrears and we sent her £150 to lessen her stress levels while all of the mix-ups were resolved.
May 13, 2016
On the 13th we helped a girl who resides in a hostel. She has an inoperable tumour and fits everyday from it. The hostel moved her benefits from incapacity and income support to PIP only and it caused a massive drop to her income. She pays service duty at the hostel which amounts to £35 a week.
This left her wuth £40 per week to live on. Our expert benefit advisers worked out a plan to help sort her benefits out, and we sent her £50 to tide her over.
May 9, 2016
A lady and her daughter were in dire financial trouble after the tragic death of their husband/father. Sadly they were in a situation where the daughter was probably going to have to move schools as the lady couldn't afford to stay in the area without the financial support of her spouse, but was so overwhelmed by financial hardship and sadness that she hadn't been able to make any concrete plans. We were able to send her £500 to cover a few weeks' expenses, just to give her a bit of breathing space so that she could decide what to do in the longterm. A very sad case indeed, but one we were more than happy to help with.
May 8, 2016
One of our agents does a lot of work with the homeless, and had managed to secure accommodation for a couple who we had previously helped out with £100. Although we do generally have a rule of one-time only help, we were more than happy to help this poor couple out with enough money for a weeks' food. The relief of being off the streets was palpable and we were so pleased that they finally had a warm bed of their own.
May 6, 2016
Occasionally one of our agents will have a friend or aquaintance who falls upon hard times. When this happens the agent in question is usually a bit nervous about referring them, as they often feel too biased towards the case. They needn't worry though. Need is need, and sometimes when it's someone we know we can offer an insight that may have otherwise been missed. The lady who was referred to us was well known by the agent who made the referral and had run into a spate of bad luck. Although she was fully self-employed and her husband was also employed, they'd had a boiler breakdown as well as a car breakdown. They'd managed without any hot water for a fortnight already, but with the car breaking down the lady in question now had no way to get to work. We were able to send them £200 to sort the car ASAP and also get some essentials as they were running very low on food. Soon after she was able to get the boiler repaired too!
May 2, 2016
This young man had managed to secure employment but it was a zero hours contract. Added to that because he had started work in the middle of the month he was going to be without any money for six weeks. He didn't have any money to catch a bus to work and was walking the several miles there and back each day. Estranged from his partner he couldn't have his young daughter to visit as he was unable to feed her when she visited as he didn't have any food to feed himself or give her. We agreed a sum of £150 to help him and to hopefully keep his head above water until he could be paid.
May 2, 2016
We were made aware of a young mum, 34 weeks pregnant and still working part time to bring some money into the household. Her partner stays at home to look after their disabled son. They were behind with their bills despite her doing all she could. She was aware that their second child was due very soon and she had nothing prepared for their arrival and was worried out of her mind about their bills and how they would cope. They were offered help with an application for Disability Living Allowance for the child, and referred for help with budgeting. We sent over a sum of £150 for her to get some food and some items in place ready for the new baby.
May 2, 2016
A very unwell mother had been sleeping on a mattress placed directly on the floor, but it had become so battered that it was no longer usable. Once we found out, we sent over the sum of £200 to pay for a new bed. She was extremely grateful and said she had never before had her own bed.
May 2, 2016
A gentleman with mental health issues had become estranged from his partner and their young son and had ended up in temporary accommodation. As he was considered vulnerable, he was found permanent accommodation but without any income and no means to raise the £100 they needed as rent in advance he was stumped. Fortunately we were made aware of his situation and were able to send over the money so that he could be assured of somewhere safe to live.
May 2, 2016
A young woman, her partner and their very young son had been homeless and in temporary accommodation for some time. Finally they had been offered permanent suitable accommodation but they didn't have any money to move their belongings to their new address, so an amound was agreed and passed on for them to be able to get some help with a van so they could move to their new home. Her Personal Independence Payment application had been refused, so she was guided towards help so she could reapply.
May 2, 2016
A young mum of three, barely able to look after herself was found fit for work and therefore unable to claim Employment Support Allowance. This of course meant she had no money until a fresh application could be put in to the DWP and due to rule changes, a new application where a previous one had existed meant this mum to be successful had to have got significantly worse, or have a new illness with which she could claim. She was being supported with her fresh claim, but obviously desperately needed money for food for her and her three children. So we sent over some money to help her through this until her new benefits payments could be made.
May 2, 2016
A young vulnerable woman with mental health issues had been offered much needed accommodation but it was unfurnished. She didn't have a bed to sleep in or anything to cook any food in. A sum of £300 was agreed and sent over to her to allow her to, with help, purchase the items she needed so desperately.
May 2, 2016
A single father with a young daughter had been in temporary accommodation. They had been allocated accommodation but only on the provision that they cover the first two weeks rent, which amounted to £245.74, which he didn't have and it looked like he would be unable to take up this permanent accommodation. We were able to cover this for him to ensure both he and his daughter had somewhere safe to live. They had been waiting for ages for somewhere permanent to come up and getting this close they were distraught that they might not have been able to take it up. Glad the fund could help.
May 2, 2016
Another foodbank in desperate need of help. We are seeing more of more of them desperate for supplies in order to help those most in need. A £100 food shop was done and sent out to the foodbank in question. Needless to say they were very grateful.
May 2, 2016
We were alerted to a young mum who had posted that after her bills had been paid she had only £15 to last her a whole month for food for her and her six month old baby, and there were health restrictions with diet. We sent over a sum of money to tide her over so that she could get some extra help in place to help her with budgeting and sorting out her rent and council tax. She was very relieved for the assistance.
May 2, 2016
It seems that the foodbanks are really struggling with bare shelves and unable to offer food parcels to those that so desperately need them. Another foodbank struggling in this way crossed our radar. We organised a shop which we had delivered to them so that they could refill some of their shelves and be able to help others so desperately in need. We try where we can to shop from the basics range so that we can help as many people as possible. Every single pound that is sent to the fund for help goes to projects just like this one.
May 2, 2016
A gentleman who was quite unwell was being moved on from the hostel accommodation he has been in as he had hit the maximum stay he was permitted. Some supported accommodation was available for him as he was so unwell and considered a priority case. It became obvious though that he had no food, no toiletries as there had been a gap in his benefits. We sent him £50 to cover him between his benefits payments so he could get food and essentials.
May 2, 2016
A man who had been long term unemployed, but lived alone was unable to sleep as his bed kept falling apart, several times a week. We sent a sum of money to cover the purchase of a replacement bed and also links to help him with his job searching efforts. He was very grateful. So important to get a good nights sleep.
May 2, 2016
A homeless couple out on the streets were trying to beg to get some money for food to eat, but were being moved on. Turns out the man needed surgery but the hospital weren't prepared to do that while they were homeless and out on the streets as he needed recovery time somewhere safe and warm. He was refusing to have the treatment without a roof over their head as he was too afraid to go into hospital and leave his wife vulnerable and alone at night on the streets. We arranged to get some money to them for food and someone in the area local to them spoke with them to their doctor who wrote a letter in to the local council to try to progress their case on the housing list. As it was a very cold weekend, temporary bed and breakfast accommodation was sorted for them so they could at least get warm and rest.
May 2, 2016
We were alerted to a foodbank that was struggling to be able to offer food for the many people that were knocking at their door for help. We did a foodshop and sent over basics to the tune of £160. We were contacted by the organisation concerned to thank us and to say that this allowed them to help 50 families with food parcels for collection.
May 2, 2016
We were made aware of a young child that had arrived without warning to be cared for by other members of his family. They were totally unprepared and had nothing for him, no clothes, nothing at all. We arranged a sum of £300 to buy clothes and other things he desperately needed.
May 2, 2016
We have been very busy and have a lot of cases to catch up on and don't always get time to blog what we've been up to. So lots of catching up posts tonight while we have some time.
We had been alerted to a gentleman that was literally without food, gas or electricity. There was an issue with his benefits claim which had had a knock on effect on his housing benefit and council tax assistance and was in certain danger of being evicted.
We were able to guide him to help with his benefits and sorted out a delivery of shopping to be sent to him so we knew he had food, as well as some money to put on his meters for gas and electricity. He updated us shortly after to say that following the advice his benefit claim had been sorted and put in place.
Mar 27, 2016
In Feruary we were contacted by one of our referring agencies about a man with three children who had moved to a 3 bedroomed house to accomodate them all. The man's three children went to live with him last January 15 but he did not receive the benefits for them until November, he works as a taxi driver and has had to go part time in order to care for the children.
The man was in desperate need of a fridge freezer because his one broke during the move to the new house, and he did not have the money to replace it.
When he went to view the house there was a carpet on the stairs and although it was old fashioned it was clean and would have done until he could have replaced it, but the housing association removed this in order to stop any germs spreading, it is there policy. They left the carpet grippers on the stairs.
The man's 11 year old son was running down the stairs and fell and caught his arm he then ended up in hospital where he had to have an emergency operation on his arm.
We bought the man a new fridge freezer which was delivered to him the next day and are currently trying to arrange a budget carpet to be layed on the stairs to avoid any other accidents.
Jan 18, 2016
A couple came to our attention. He had been working on building sites and as it was approaching Christmas, the work began to dry up and he found himself without the likelihood of any further work until the following February. He had signed on for job seekers, but they wouldn't be receiving any benefits for another two weeks. Recently married, his wife was expecting their baby and it was essential she ate regularly, so we made a small donation to make sure they could buy nourishing food until their benefits kicked in.
Jan 18, 2016
We found out about a group that were trying to put on a Christmas Lunch for the homeless in the Salisbury area. They wanted to book a hall, put in place some temporary beds and offer a warm bed, some Christmas company and a decent meal. Obviously not a permanent fix, but a gesture of kindness at a time when loneliness can really set in.
The idea was kicked into touch by someone who works extensively with the homeless in their local area and they discovered that someone they regularly helped was ill with pneumonia and out on the streets. In the end they had a Christmas tree, a warm lunch, buffet meal, packed lunch for the next day and a small gift, as well as that all essential warm bed to sleep in. It is the little things we often take for granted that can mean the world to someone who doesn't have a roof over their head.
We were very proud to help this group, even in the small way that we did.
Jan 11, 2016
We were made aware of a mother who was selling her personal belongings so that she could buy the ingredients to be able to give her children a Christmas lunch so they wouldn't miss out. They'd been through some very stressful times and she wanted for the children to have some sort of stability at what she considered to be a special time of the year for families.
The change in her personal situation, finding herself suddenly a single parent she needed to be encouraged to apply for the necessary benefits to protect the situation for her and her children. We sent her a small amount to make sure that she could go into the Christmas period, safe in the knowledge that lunch was sorted and she could focus her attention on what she could do to help them as a family going forward.
Dec 22, 2015
We were made aware of this man's plight through a reliable connection so we decided to investigate further, especially as the weather was so uncertain and of course with diabetes it is important that you eat regularly to keep the condition under control. It turns out that he'd been evicted from his property by his housing association because he had fallen into arrears with his rent. The bailiffs arrived and changed the locks on his property whilst he was actually at court!
Further enquiries found that although he'd been offered a place in a halfway house, the rules regarding times you had to be in your room meant that he would be unable to continue his volunteer work as a relief driver so he turned it down. As he had done this, the authorities were reluctant to help him further, which suggests they felt he'd had his chance and blown it.
We then learnt that he'd been offered a place to move to in the new year. He'd managed to save his white goods and cooking equipment (we found out he was a keen chef), but he needed money to pay for bedding and or a chair or sofa, so we agreed on a sum of £200 to help him out.
A phone call to him later and it was all sorted out. Turns out he was a really lovely man, quite a gentleman on the phone and very grateful for the help from The Biscuit Fund.
So a happy outcome, just in time for Christmas!
Dec 18, 2015
We learned of a chap who has, by his own public admission via social media, had a bit of a chequered past with a couple of terms behind bars. We don't judge people on past (mis)behaviour. We're all human and we can all make mistakes from time to time, some of more seriously than others it's true, but none of us are infallible.
Our Client has been living in a hostel for a considerable number of months, and was finally allocated proper social housing when he reached the top of his local waiting list. He had "some bits and bobs" in a garage that would "make the place a bit more confortable" but anyone who's moved into an empty house knows that - for example - the Imp of Perversity will always manage to move something essential, like the kettle, into a parallel dimension.
So, we were happy to give this gentleman a leg-up to the tune of £100 to get him on his way towards a decent, comfortable and - above all - independent life in Civvy Street. Help that he's receiving from a charity for homeless people, working in his area, will doubtless go a long way towards speeding the process of his settling-down as well. They have already been of enormous help to him in getting his gas and electricity accounts established and operating, for example.
He has a grand-daughter whom he absolutely worships and now has a place where she can visit him in much better surroundings than a shared accommodation space. We wish him all the very best for the future.
Dec 16, 2015
We had a request for help from our friends at RAISE for a lady for whom "things have become that bad for her she has started to sell of her furniture in order to eat and try and keep warm." Along with that, the RAISE advisor told us "I am extremely worried about this client because in the past she has harmed herself her arms are full of scars were she has cut herself. Our client cannot rely on family to help her as they are in the position as her."
this lady's problems stem from the fact that she's not an EU national, but is from one of the EEA countries, which have benefits agreements with the EU and UK.
Obviously we couldn't stand back and let her get on with starving, but we could only commit to £100, as her situation is so fluid and all that the future is likely to hold for her is a one-way ticket back home.
Dec 16, 2015
That is what this Client was facing. The stretching of their available money had finally reached snapping point for this disabled couple. They didn't even have anything that they could drink as a hot beverage!
Our agent who posted the case suggested that we should give £100 to a food delivery for them, but we looked a bit deeper and discovered that they also needed to top up their electricity meter, and we therefore upped the ante to £120.
We passed the money to the lady of the house so that she could buy in food that was needed urgently, rather than waiting for a delivery slot the following day.
Another happy customer. :-)
Dec 16, 2015
This lady's grandfather died and, because she was with him at the time, she missed an appointment at her JCP and was sanctioned. When she explained the situation, the JCP advisor LAUGHED at her!! A subsequent phone call from her to the benefits distribution centre confirmed that the sanction would not be lifted, leaving her to face existence on zero income until the end of January 2016.
Her follow-up message in the group where she posted read:
"Just had a phone call from job centre and the sanctions definitely not been lifted. Also been told if I apply for hardship now, I won't get a payment till in the new year.
I've formed a formal complaint against the advisor that laughed at me.
Funerals on the 28th.
Merry Christmas to me"
So we decided on a figure of £250 and our agent got in touch with her. The conversation went as follows:
Really? That'd be a massive help. Just found out that it's up to me to arrange the buffet for the funeral and I've got nothing to see me over Christmas. Thank you so much!
I've got £250 with your name on it. :-)
Really? You've just made me cry
Is this real? I've never had anyone do anything like this for me"
Well, we did, because we could, and once again that was down to the generosity of all of you who support our work. As always, a massive THANK YOU goes to you too. :-)
Dec 9, 2015
Thieves broke into Benwell food bank and stole toys that had been donated by members of the public, to give to children for Christmas presents. How sick can some people be?
We gave £200 to the foodbank's plea for help in replacing the stolen items.
Dec 9, 2015
A man who is undergoing treatment for prolapsed discs, which have caused him agony for the past year, became one of this month's benefit losers when his ESA was stopped. He's been forced to claim JSA instead, but at the initial meeting, the JCP clerk refused to acknoeldege or note documentation from the man's qualified GP; refused to allow him to record the interview; and then encouraged him to LIE when completing the claim form. No wonder the clerk didn't want the interview recorded!
In order to keep themselves going, the man's girlfriend had borrowed £500 from her mother the previous month, but with the situation ongoing they found themselves stony broke once again today.
We gave this couple £200 to see them through the painful processes that are affecting their lives right now.
Dec 9, 2015
This statement, from a father to his twop children (6 & 7yo) was overheard by a member of a group frequented by one of our members, and posted to that group for discussion. The situation was that a man had been left by his partner. They have three children between them and the woman had taken the youngest with her, leaving him with a son and daughter to raise by himself. He had no money, his meters were eating into emergency credit and he was having to eat at a friend's house that evening to try and spare as much of that emergency credit as he could by avoiding having the heating on all evening. Add to that, that his benefits claim, due to change of circumstances, was expected to take 10 weeks!! to complete. He was due a payment of ESA within a couple of days but, until he can sort out a residency order pertaining to the children, he is stuck with having to pay £125 of that in rent. After clearing a couple of minor debts, caused by the unfolding separation situation, he was expecting to be left with maybe £40, which would have had to go onto the fuel meters. He had been given a food parcel by the local food bank and a couple of what can only be described as truly wonderful friends had been cooking dinners for the family.
A friend of the group member had been to the pound shop to pick up a couple of low-cost presents so the chap would have something to give to his children on Christmas morning.
We decided that this family needed a Christmas "Biscuit Boost" and so we sent £350 winging the father's way. With this, he can get his debts out of the way, give those pesky meters a seriously good feeding, stock up his cupboards and stil have money left to buy Christmas gifts for his children.
A highly satisfying job well and truly #jobbed!
Nov 29, 2015
We were told of a young woman whose father passed away very suddenly. He was in receipt of the State pension, while his wife receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The young lady herself is in receipt of ESA and was not due another payment for a few more days yet.
The food cupboard was running low, as were the fuel meters, and the widow's own claim for ESA, now that the pension income from her husband had ceased, was only just beginning to be processed. Things were looking decidedly grim.
So we said we'd give them £100, to get them through the widow's benefit processing period and the gratitude and relief that pured out of the screen was simply phenomenal. Now they can get on with mourning their lost loved one instead of having to worry about how to keep warm and fed.
Nov 27, 2015
Our Client has a cat that desperately needed an eye operation. The problem was that she has fibromyalgia very badly and is bed-bound most of the time, so could only get to the vet who could carry out the oepration - some 140 miles round trip away from her home - if she could arrange transport.
We were very happy to provide her with £100 to help cover the travel costs for the two journeys that she would have to make.
Nov 27, 2015
The lovely people at the Beacon Project put out a shout for help with getting their Christmas dinner for homeless people together. Our agent got in touch with them and learned that they'd already had a large number of donations to the dinner side of their work, but that they were also looking for sleeping bags for thoise who had nowhere to go after the dinner was over, and maybe some selection boxes to extend the cheer into the cold night.
We sent five brand-new sleeping bags off to Beacon, along with a number of selection boxes and Christmas cake slices.
Nov 27, 2015
What a lousy system it is when it demands that a person uses the internet to carry out job-search, even when that person has restricted access to the internet due to financial hardship. The system's answer to this? Sanction the person concerned for not doing sufficient job-search!
In this Client we discovered a young woman in her early twenties who, was it not for the extended motherly support of her friend's mum, would have sunk to who knows what level of despair. She had been reduced to the point of stealing toilet roll from a burger outlet just to maintain her sanitary needs!!
The girl was sanctioned for not doing enough job-searching, then sanctioned again for not doing enough job-searching, even though the original sanction had left her without sufficient funds to access the internet or travel to a place where she could do so. And then, sanctioned a THIRD time for failing to attend an interview that she could not afford to get to! That's not people-management - that's pure and simple sadism on the part of the people-managers at JCP. Normally we remain politically neutral, but sometimes there is no way to avoid showing up callous administrators for the sadists that they really are. As has happened so often in the past, the name of the Job Centre concerned is once again shown as Ashton-Under-Lyme, which is generally considered to be the most unnecessarily and excessively brutal job centre in the UK today.
We provided this young lady with £150 to help her resolve the financial crisis that the sadists had forced her into, but because of the enormous loving support that the older lady had been providing, we also sent £50 to her as a big TBF THANK YOU. We sent the entire grant as a lump-sum so that the older lady could manage the funds on behalf of her young friend and ensure that it was used to the best possible effect.
We received this message from the older lady:
I'm so overwhelmed by it the young lady literally broke down in tears on her knees when u told her she was going to have some help I haven't told her where from I just said some really truly amazing people x"
It's amazing how such acts of selflessness from you have transformed the life of others you are the light at the end of her tunnel I've spoke to gas and electric today and they have agreed to cap the weekly amount of debt be paid at 1 pound a week also they have agreed if she is in difficulty in future until she gets reinstated eith benefits they will give her up to 20 pound emergency energy"
I like to include the Clients' own words wherever I can, to show readers just how genuinely vital is the work that we at TBF do. The fact will always be, though, that we cannot do it without the support of the general public. We have some fabulous donors, who should feel justifiably proud of themselves because it is they who make Client feedback like the statements above possible. This is just one of hundreds of cases where your generosity has, quite literally, changed someone's life, and we cannot thank you enough for enabling us to channel that generosity to where it was needed most. The downside is that for every one we help, there are thousands like that person waiting to be reached. Ideally we'd need the GDP of a small country if we were to help them all.
If you are considering donating to our work, the above is why we hope you will make a final decision to do that. As I always remind potential donors, no-one in TBF takes a salary or claims any expenses. We have no offices to pay rent or rates upon, no cleaners or tea ladies, no big business dinners. We work quietly at this at home, some of us housebound and some not, and we do the work simply because it is there to be done.
As one of our agents told a Client, to whom we had sent a grant, when that Client asked how to repay it:
"You don't. We give money away. That's our job."
Yes, it is. And we have the very best job in the world, thanks to your generosity. Thank you so much. :-)
Nov 23, 2015
Even those who help others can find themselves in a tight spot from time to time. This was one of those "too much month left at the end of the money" situations, and we were able to help out a lovely lady, who is a great friend of one of our Agents, with a swift grant of £75 to ensure that she and her hubby had food to eat till the next pay-day. They'd been facing a night of them going hungry so that their children had food.
None of the grants that we make require repayment, but this lady said in conversation with me:
"I will have to repay it even if in dribs and drabs as I know I have a situation at this moment in time but there are lots of people worse off than me and as I kind of do similar stuff helping people it wouldnt be right for me not to pay it back, I actually feel ashamed i am in this position, however once I get to Friday my situation will be better xx"
So, we've agreed that she can pay it back in drips and drabs, but only once she's built a bit of a financial "cushion" so that they can remain safe from a similar situation on the future.
Something we see over and over again is, like our Client here, people lamenting the shame that they feel at having fallen into difficulties. We always emphasise to our Clients that there is no shame in today's economic wilderness. It can happen to anyone, without a moment's notice. Money will only go so far, and if you try stretching a £5 note too far, all you will end up with is a need to buy Sellotape.
Nov 13, 2015
This Client was awaiting a date for an ESA appeal, and had to sign on for JSA in the interim, but the Job Centre clerk was refusing to place the necessary "employment restriction" clause onto his claim. With help from one of our regulation savvy Agents, he returned to the local JCP and quoted them chapter and verse, meaning that the claim must now be processed with the restriction applied, as is proper.
So, he stuck it to The Man with that help. Yay!!
We also supplied him with £100 to ensure that he could keep warm and eating while the claim was being processed, meaning that the Jobcentre's Starvation Approach (JSA) was foiled once again by our mighty team.
Nov 9, 2015
This Client has three prolapsed discs in her back. Her husband has to push her about in a wheelchair while they wait for the hospital to decide how best to treat the condition. She was waiting for her first (low) ESA payment when we were made aware of her situation, and was going to have to pay that to her mother to cover what she was needing to borrow for shopping. In addition, her fuel meters needed topping up. Our agent asked if we could provide £30 to £50 to deal with the meters, but we looked at the wider situation and decided that it would be more helpful to provide for the meters, a food delivery and maybe something extra for "feelgoods." We therefore settled on a figure of £150.
Here's some of the conversation that our agent had with this Client:
Oh wow. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
You are very welcome, just glad to be able to help. Are you able to do an online shop to save you going out?
I know it sounds strange but my mum and husband would take me coz to be honest it's about the only time I manage to get out."
and, while the transfer of funds was in progress:
That's amazing. Honestly you don't know how much weight this has lifted off me."
Thank you so much. I honestly don't know what I would have done without you and [Agent2] xx"
Nov 9, 2015
We made one lady very happy with a £50 gift, to help her top up her electricity meter and pay off money that she'd already had to borrow to do a previous top-up. She's not on benefits - she is one of those people for whom work pays, but not enough to put food on the table for her children and pay the bills in full.
Nov 5, 2015
This client was put back onto ESA eight weeks ago but has had no payment in that time. She was running desperately low on food and was struggling to pay bills.
TBF were pleased to vote her £100 to help her keep going and she's been receiving loads of good advice from a Facebook support group on how to put a rocket under the holders of the ESA purse strings.
Nov 2, 2015
We were told of a young mum with an 18 months old son, who was being stitched up with regard to the repayment of a debt via her prepayment meters, with the supplier taking far more than they had agreed from her weekly top-ups. She doesn't drive, suffers terribly from cold temperatures and was was therefore having to take her son to relatives in order that they could sleep warmly.
We sent this lovely lady £80 to clear the debt from both her meters, and she has now applied for the Warm Homes Discount, which means that when the REALLY cold weather sets in she won't be having to cope with any aches and pains.
Oct 30, 2015
This client, at age 49, has been left homeless after nursing his seriously ill mother until she passed away. He rescued a dog from a group of youths who were intending to drown it in a local canal, and the person who referred him said that he puts the welfare of the animal above his own needs. He also keeps an eye on a youngster who is also on the streets, just watching out for him they way people do, making sure that he stays safe...
We decided to send the lady who is assistning him £120, with £20 of that being earmarked for a warm, waterproof cost for the dog. His helper is also enabling him to get a car, which he can live in and be dry, so he's asked that the remaining £100 be put towards the cost of the vehicle. Pre-loved by one owner, with 67,000 miles on the clock. fully serviced and chain driven rather than cam-belt, with tax, MOT and new tyres as required. She is paying for the car for him as they have become fast friends.
We don't let people like this client's helper go if we can help it. She's now our latest member because she's so amazing.
Oct 29, 2015
We were introduced to this client while she was struggling to obtain back-payments due to her from - again! - the tax credits authorities. Due to some family issues her forms had reached Concentrix too late and the claim had been stopped automatically. She had £4.66 to her name, had borrowed from friends to keep going, and was in the position of having to repy those friends from the limited income that she has been receiving since the claim was re-started. She had been waiting for the back-payment for seven weeks at this point in time. As a mother of three, with one of her children registered as disabled, this was starting to overwhelm her resilience. the system does not have enough flexibility to deal with the occasional hiccup that can occur when a disabled child needs extra attention and/or care.
We were glad to help her out with a grant of £150.
Oct 28, 2015
We received a referral from one of our external sources, which we agreed to help, although we were not entirely happy with the way the client was being advised. While we exist to give people help when they are in desperate financial situations, we do expect them to do whatever they can within the constraints of "The System" to help themselves as well. We have had to point out to this referrer's senior staff member that we are not a substitute service for the DWP and that their clients must show a certain level of willingness to shift for themselves before they can reasonably expect handouts from organisations like ours. Most, if not all, of our previous clients have let it be known in conversation with us that they are jumping (or at the very least clambering) through every hoop necessary in order to resolve their difficulties.
This client had been refused ESA and was waiting for an appeal hearing date. We were told by the referrer that they had suggested that he apply for JSA while he was waiting but had been told by him that the harsher procedures applying to JSA would exacerbate his mental health and stress problems. As there are plenty of advocacy services in existence for people with MH issues, we found the referrer's acceptance of this excuse curious, to say the least.
However, we had already agreed to provide assistance in this case, but the referrer has now been advised that we would take a dim view of any such future excuses. While we don't hedge our clients round with paperwork or demand proof of need, we do expect people to conform to a generally minimum standard of behaviour within the benefits system and to make use of whatever alternatives are available. TBF does not exist to bail out real scroungers!
This client received £150 from us.
Oct 25, 2015
One of the people on my friends list has had a life that has not been overly blessed with good luck, and during a private message conversation she let slip that she was having to fight to get the mobility component - the most important one in her case - after it was stopped even though the DWP admitted to not being fully satisfied by the assessor's report. the assessor LIED, in other words and the DWP knew it. Nevertheless, the question of reinstatement had to go via the correct mandatory reconsideration route, which would mean a delay of up to two weeks. My friend is lucky in that her local MP is happy to fight on her behalf and had already put his weight behind the case in order to get it resolved as quickly as possible. There would still be a delay though and, as her oil-fired boiler has not worked for some years now, she has to use a considerable amount of electricity in order to warm her home.
We agreed to a sum of £200 for this lovely lady, who is know to several of our members as a friend and an honest, decent and upstanding character, and she proved her integrity by sending us proof that she had paid the grant over to her electricity supplier.
One of our members also found her a link to a source of funding for repair/replacement for oil-fired boilers and she's now awaiting the outcome of her enquiry and application to them.
And on 29 October, she advised us joyfully that her DLA mobility component has been reinstated! Great news!
Oct 24, 2015
We were told by our friends at Stockport FLAG of a young woman who had been forced to move out of her flat following a relationship breakdown, because the ex-boyfriend had put a firework through her letterbox and she felt totally unsafe. A this time she was sofa-surfing and there were rent arrears against the flat of over £500. The housing authority had told her that they would not consider letting her bid for rehousing unless or until the arrears were reduced to less than £500.
We began by paying £100 off the arrears for this young woman, plus we sent her £50 to cover her daily living expenses, but we also budgeted a further £150 to provide basic items once she'd been able to find somewhere new and safe to live. She managed this by 29 October.
We then arranged to pass the balance of the budgeted assistance - £150 - to her so she could source the items she needed most locally.
Oct 23, 2015
We heard about a mum of four, with two of her children living with her and two away, who had been wrongly accused of having a new partner living with her. Instead of working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, the ever-compassionate authorities (*SNORT*) were more content to drive her round and round from pillar to post, loading ever more paperwork upon her - paperwork that she has trouble understanding due to mental health issues. Her Community Psychiatric Nurse was assisting her as much as possible but the paper swamp was still overwhelming her.
Some friends had started up a crowdfunder for her, to try and raise £150 to get her through, but the way the authorities were behaving suggested that this would not be sufficient.
We therefore matched what the crowdfunder had raised, which was £147, rounded our own figure up to £150 and our contact was able to release the dam that was holding back a flood of tears as the relief felt by this client became almost palpable even to those of us who weren't in direct communication.
What we do really does turn people's lives around, but more than that it lets them know that they are not alone in a totally uncaring world. We call it "a crumb of hope" and for very many of our clients it really is the difference between sinking and swimming - not just financially but emotionally as well.
We can do our work because of the money that generous, selfless donors provide. If you have been, or are currently being, a donor to TBF, please feel genuinely proud of what you help us to achieve because without you we wouldn't be able to continue achieving it. If you're visiting the site today and are wondering if you should donate to us, this case is one of hundreds, all listed in this blog in various ways, that show what a massive difference you could make to someone who has bee led to feel that their world is ending.
Absolutely nobody in TBF, not even the directors, takes any kind of personal income from the donations that we receive. Every single penny goes to those who are in desperate need. Whatever you give us will always be used for what you intend it to be used for - subsistence relief for those who have almost nothing in this, the sixth richest nation in the world today.
Oct 21, 2015
We heard about a homeless lad whose trainers were at the end of their useful life, and The Beacon Project were trying to find anyone who might have a pair that they no longer needed.
We decided that, in view of his situation, we could do a bit better for this chap and so sent £70 to the Beacon guys to buy him a new pair of trainers and get a couple of other extra items that he'll need once the weather turns colder.
Oct 20, 2015
Ths client suffers from Hughes disease and has an autistic son, plus three other children. Her partner is her carer, and they rely utterly on tax credits to get them through the everlasting expense of living day to day. For three weeks her tax credits have failed to materialise, and the family had reached the point where they had no gas or electricity and no food in the cupboards. The only way that she was able to shout out for help was by using their dwindling amount of petrol to fire up the family car and use it to keep her phone charged. She didn't even have enough nappies left for the youngest child.
We sent £200 at supersonic speed along with a link to an advice centre that will be able to help her to get those tax credits sorted out.
Oct 20, 2015
Something we're going to see more off, we believe, is the cases of so-called "working poor" who are struggling to make ends meet. This client was one of the first that we're expecting, who found that there is quite simply too much month left at the end of the money. Her gas had run out and she has two children under the age of four. Her husband works and was trying to get a sub from his boss but this was taking too long. Her power company refused to assist and so she was left wondering how she was going to cook any dinner for the family, or keep them warm that night.
Sometimes it doesn't take a great deal of money to get someone's life back on track, and this case took only £40 to ensure that the heating would be on and the children would go to bed with hot food in their tummies.
Pay-day next week, and the client has been advised to use the £40 "extra" that they'll have gained to cushion themselves against running out of gas in the future. Bless her, she wanted to repay us with it straight away! :-) We always tell clients to make sure that they're fully ahead of the game before they think about stuff like that. We don't ask for repayment - these monies are always gifts - but some clients like to know that they can help someone else out down the line.
The client sent this message at the closing stages of the conversation: "I didn't think it was possible to love people you have never met before haha , I will never forget this thank you so much xx"
Gave me goosebumps, that did! ;-)
Oct 19, 2015
This client suffers from severe depression, having been mentally abused by her alcoholic husband for months. He was removed from the family home by the police, after urinating all around the bedroom in an alcoholic rage, just hours before we were introduced to her. She has now left him and the two children are with her.
Understandably, this client has very deep trust issues and was unwilling to let us have the bank details that we need in order to transfer monies to her. Luckily we have a brilliant negotiator in our Founder, and she was able to convince the client to trust us.
£150 was transferred to this client, to help her get onto her feet now that she's going to have to be a single mum. She went from being totally exhausted and feeling that she had no-oine to turn to in the world, to seeing that there are people out here who care and who were not about to let her down, even if we start off as complete strangers.
She sent us a message: "Uve have saved me from feelin like a let down to my kids I didn't have no where to turn and thanks to u and the charity I'm feeling blessed for the help xxxx"
Oct 16, 2015
Our client today suffers from ulcerative colitis which, as conversations have gone along, we learned is to be finally treated via a complete ileostomy. However, the client was desperately awaiting a date for his assessment for PIP to be notified to him, and this delay had led to his need to visit a foodbank. Now, while foodbanks do a wonderful job, canned food is not the ideal diet for UC or Crohns Disease sufferers as it can further aggravate digestion problems.
We whizzed £100 to this client so that he could buy in some of the healthier foods that his condition demands.
He's since told us that in wanting to repay us for our help, he has arranged a benefit event for 30 January 2016, at which he'll be performing once he has recovered from the surgery that he is close to having. While we make a point of telling clients that the money we provide is not subject to repayment, we are all thrilled that this client wants to do something that he enjoys immensely, to raise funds for us. That money will help others in the fullness of time and we are deeply grateful to this client for his determination to stage the event.
Oct 13, 2015
This case took several days to resolve, and while we understand the need to protect the locations and names of shelters for abused women, we felt that the staff working at the one in which this client and her son are currently housed could have perhaps been a little more open and helpful. As it was, we ended up having to send the £120 that we allocated to her via her sister in a neighbouring EU country, so that the sister could then send it back to the UK for the client to collect.
Yeesh! Talk about going round the houses! A certain money-transfer company needs to seriously pull its socks up regarding its UK-internal operations. Every time our paymaster tried to make a transfer direct to the client via the web-based service, it kept refunding the money to us!
While all this was going on, the client had no money with which to buy food for her son. That highlighted to us the need for secrecy - which we employ ourselves - against the need for guardians of the abused to assist us in matters of urgency when what we do can only be of benefit to the client. We were left with the distinct impression that checking us out, through the information that we provide on this website, was simply too much trouble for those guardians to go to. Consequently a little lad was going hungry when that could have been avoided.
Still - it's done and dusted now, and hopefully we won't find ourselves having to deal with that particular shelter again. We found a way around the obstacles and we won.
*thumbs nose, waves fingers, makes "nyer-nyer!" type noises*
Oct 9, 2015
We were introduced to a chap who had just split from his wife. His daughters wanted to go with their Mum, but his son wanted to remain with Dad and so he definitely needed a place to call home. Just one teeny, tiny problem - he didn't have the cash to be able to afford the deposit required on the place that he'd found. The lack of £117 was a hurdle that could have consigned him and his lad to the streets.
We sent him £130 to get him over the obstacle, so he and his son can be warm and dry this winter and hopefully for many more winters to come.
Oct 9, 2015
This client has been receiving benefits payments regularly for a number of months, but a shortfall of almost £100 showed in her bank on this day.
As she was already on the path towards resolving the problem we decided that the full shortfall would be too much to cover, but that a slightly lower amount would assist with covering scheduled direct debits the following day.
With one of our members adding £25 specifically for this case (which our formal constitution allows our members to do), the group sent a total of £75 to this very relieved and happy customer.
Oct 8, 2015
We have some new friends, called RAISE who will be referring clients to us when they see real need. Our first arrived today in the form of a 47 year-old lady whose husband has had to be committed to nursing care because of dementia. Her benefits stopped on 10 August and she has insufficient command of English to get them sorted out. RAISE visited her and found her living in very bad conditions, and asked if there was anything we could provide in the way of immediate help, leaving them free to get on with sorting out the ongoing lack of income problem on her behalf.
Indeed we could, and £150 was soon winging its way to this distressed lady via the RAISE admin office.
Oct 5, 2015
When you run out of gas and have two young children, no car and can't find your top-up card, life can begin to look kind of bleak. Such was teh case for the client we were introduced to today, but we were quickly able to change her outlook by sending her £80 to get the gas flowing again.
While we were doing our thing, the client was doing hers, and found her top-up card, so all ended perfectly.
Oct 2, 2015
One of our members introduced us to a gentleman who has severe spinal problems, giving him mobility issues which qualify him for a blue badge. On top of that, he's recovering from a stroke. However, in spite of his own difficulties he still helps our Member to get to their local town, regularly giving her lifts to and from the shopping centre.
He was taken swiftly under our wing when our member told us what Nottinghamshire County Council and their agent had been doing to him since February of this year. At that time he'd been forced to try and squeeze his Motability vehicle into what was left of a disabled people's parking space, because a van had been parked illegally while its driver unloaded for Boots The Chemist. The regional customer services representative of the delivery firm, in a letter sent to our Client on 27 February, has admitted that his driver was in the wrong.
In spite of the fact that our Client had done nothing wrong, Notts CC decided not to accept his appeal against their £50 fine and passed the matter straight over to their external debt collection agent, who wrote to our man demanding immediate payment. Additionally, Notts CC failed to provide him with politely requested photographic evidence of the alleged offence. He replied to the debt collection agency, also in writing, that the matter was in dispute, but they nevertheless went ahead and obtained a court warrant for the seizure of goods to the value of an alleged debt that had by this time grown from £50 to £175! Our Client wasn't even given the chance to represent himself in court before the warrant was issued. He knew nothing about the issue of that warrant.
By this time it was September and no-one had ascertained the physical or mental conditions under which our Client labours daily. This, bearing in mind, that the County Council has a statutory duty of care to vulnerable people living under their jurisdiction. It stands to reason, in our view, that anyone using a disabled people's parking space legitimately is certainly not in full health.
Our member spoke to the debt collector and could only say of him that he was the most unpleasant character that she'd ever had the misfortune to deal with. The description she gave of him started with "A" and ended with "E" and was definitely not "agreeable."
In spite of claiming to have the aforementioned court warrant, the representative refused to supply a copy of it via email to our Client. This is in spite of the fact that the law clearly states that this is the right of anyone who is subject to such a warrant.
Our client had been left feeling deeply depressed, so we were obviously very concerned for his ongoing safety. For this reason it was decided (with his permission) to involve his local police, who visited him within eighteen hours and were absolutely brilliant. Our reporting member stayed with the Client in the interim period. We've duly lodged our sincere thanks on the police's website, noting the visiting officer's outstanding professionalism and sensitivity in assisting our Client to understand the ins and outs of the appalling situation that he had been cast into. That visit also helped us to recognise the extreme urgency of our Client's situation, and we therefore paid the entire debt on his behalf on the afternoon of 3 October.
We have serious complaints about Notts CC's behaviour and malfeasance towards our Client, and we have started action to determine exactly why he was pursued so ruthlessly for a fine that he should never have been given in the first place. We also want to know why they noticeably failed to pursue the driver of a delivery van, parked illegally in the bays reserved for disabled people. We will not let the matter rest until we have answers to the valid and very serious questions that we have raised regarding their maltreatment of this badly disabled and vulnerable 62 years old man.
We have requested investigation by both the Minister for Disabled People and his Shadow, with a view to further investigation by both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Ombudsman.
Our Client is hugely relieved and once he receives confirmation of payment he will at last feel able to unlock his door without any further fear of unjustified pursuit by bailiffs.
Sep 29, 2015
When this Client was left fuming over a wasted £30, caused by two Departments not working together properly, we were able to step in and replace the money far more quickly than the claim that will go through channels. One Department was saying that a medical assessment had to be via an appointment at the examiner's offices; the other was saying that a home visit had been approved. Each Department was unwilling to take responsibility for the confusion, leaving the gentleman concerned practically tearing his hair out with frustration.
We added an extra tenner to the award, just so that a small treat can help this Client's GRRRRR!!-ometer subside back to zero, and the eventual refunding of the wasted fare by the DWP can give him a further boost when it arrives in his bank.
Sep 25, 2015
Vermin can cause a huige amount of damage and heartbreak, so when a woman's home was invaded by rats from her next-door neighbour's property, leaving a trail of destruction through her, and her young daughter's possessions, there were tears aplenty. The entire house was going to have to be cleared and de-rodented, and the mum and daughter were living in an hotel while this was being planned and parepared.
While the mum had had offers of help with replacing some items, the family has a long way to go in getting their lives back to normal.
Thanks to the ongoing, fabulous help we receive from our donors, we were able to send this family £250 so that the young girl could replace some of the treasured items that she lost in the rat attack.
Sep 21, 2015
We learned from one of our members that a lady, whose little boy's birthday is due soon, has just been given four days' notice from her employers at the pub where she's been working and pulling in a small but regular wage. She reckons that the family will be down by £100 a week until she can find something else to replace the lost income.
We couldn't see a wee lad's birthday spoiled by the economic woes of the day, and made sure that problem was overcome with a Biscuit Boost of £100.
Sep 18, 2015
Scammers, that is. The lowest and most vile form of life aboard our little rocky space-ship.
When we were told of a woman who had been conned by another woman, who she'd known from her Facebook friends list for absolutely ages, we decided to step in and replace the financial loss that had been caused. It didn't take much - a mere twenty-five quid - but it saved our Client the embarrassment of being left high and dry over her due Direct Debits.
One day there will be a cure developed to rid the world of the unfeeling, selfish monsters that we call con artists.
Sep 17, 2015
When the relationship has broken down irretrievably and when said partner has taken himself off to become a sofa-surfer, is the answer.
The problem in this case is that his post is still being delivered to the Warminster address that he departed from, leading Concentrix to suspect that the woman now living alone has secretly got him still living with her, which is absolutely not the case. However, instead of sending anyone round to check, Concentrix simply stopped the tax credits upon which she relies. This happens to too many people.
The local MP has, apparently, been ignoring her pleas for assistance too, and there are children in the house.
We made an award of £150 to this Client, to keep her going while the automatic mandatory reconsideration travels through the paperwork mill, to which she responded:
"Omg wow really? That's amazing and I'm eternally greatful. Sat here crying such amazing people thank you. Thank you so much xxxxx"
For anyone out there who you know might be going through the same issue, please see this link:
Sep 17, 2015
Another referral from an accredited outside support agency, this time for a young couple with a baby and toddler. As we so often learn, this family's difficulties are down to cuts in their income, but these problems have been compounded in this case by an administrative error concerning their tax credits. The sum of the misfortunes has been placing a real strain on the relationship between the parents, which the agency feels would ease if they could see at least a bit of light at the end of their particular tunnel. As the support worker says in the referral email:
"I have been party to telephone calls that the family have made to Benefits and there seems to be little empathy or understanding for their situation even though the error was non fault of the families."
The family are in private rented accommodation. Last week both their washing machine and their boiler broke down, and the landlord does not seem to be in any hurry to repair the latter. Things have become so bad for this family that they've become regular clients at both the food and nappy banks.
Keeping the children clean and germ-free is obviously a main concern, and the referrer says that the mother is doing her very best in trying circumstances.
We bought this family a brand-new washing machine and sent them £80 so they could stock up their cupboards.
Sep 16, 2015
Take one young lady with cerebral palsy and a dedicated friend who is running a 24-hour gym CV-athon in order to help fund a wheelchair suitable for her needs, that isn't available to her via the NHS.
We've sent £100 to this worthy cause and, having subsequently seen just one of the pledge sheets since, have noticed that she's being well-supported by friends, neighbours and people's work colleagues.
We wish her the very best for the future.
Sep 14, 2015
This lady had a carer who left recently, and our Member found she was in a real state. She had had no care since her carer/partner left. She has various illnesses disabilities and is in the WRAG group. She hadn't being eating some days at all. Or washing. She needs to be in the Support Group as she has unavoidably missed WRAG appointments and has worried this week about sanctions.
She has now been reffered to a social media support group for help to apply for PIP as she needs to be put in the disabled people's DWP Support Group. Her mobility is a huge problem for her. She struggles to wash and dress and even make tea or drinks.
Her words to our Member when asked how is she making herself drinks,
"I am trying to cope when I can the rest of the time I have water by sofa to drink."
Last night she burnt herself trying to cook. Our Member contacted Adult Care Services to arrange for a social worker to go and assess her needs, as she isn't eating for days because she cannot stand to cook. She sometimes can't get a hot drink either or to bathroom to wash or dress, Or her hands don't work for her to do it safely. They are going to ring her and go to see her. Previously told by them if she didn't need help with personal care they couldn't help.
Her disabilities are listed below:
IBS ( suspected )
Some hip displaysia
Transitional Lumbasacral Vertebrae
Her walking and mobility is affected and she is tired and feeling sick all the time from taking up to 26 prescribed tablets a day,
Adult Services has been told by our Member that this Client needs OT to go in as she cannot shower due to dizzy spells as well. A LifeLine has also been requested.
She was due to be paid her next benefits on Thursday 17th. She had hardly any food in at all on the 14th. This is what she said she had in.
"I've got a bit of bread and butter. Two eggs. A bit of cheese. Some milk. Tinned veg. A couple tins of soup. Frozen veg. But that's about it. X"
Our Member urgently requested that we do an online food shop, for items she doesn't need to cook, sandwhich things etc, and for some money for her to get her through till other help is set up.
We did a food shop as requested, which was delivered on the 15th at 1:30pm. We also bought her some sanitary products which were desperately needed as she only had a minimal stock remaining, and we gave her £100 to help cover any future outgoings.
As I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the feelings of relief and gratitude, that came from this lovely lady's thank you messages, were almost tangible, so heartfelt were they. And in this case our Member was also in tears, saying that although she's given to good causes before, she has never before felt the way this job made her feel.
That's why we do what we do. It's highly addictive. And it is made possible ENTIRELY by you: ordinary, decent people who support our work. Thank you all, most sincerely, for helping to change this lady's outlook on life.
Sep 14, 2015
There's an old saying that tells us that if something appears too good to be true then it probably is, and to avoid it. This Client was very dubious about our offer of £150 to help her family out of the hole that they've been slowly sliding into since the husband left the Army after serving in Afghanistan.
We're always careful to ensure that Clients are made aware of the existence of this site, so they can use the registered charity number to check with the Charities Commission online that we are a bona fide organisation, simply because what we offer does often seem to be too good to be true. Even with that reassurance, this lady had doubts in her mind right up to the point where we actually completed the transfer of the grant.
We accept that some of our Clients have trust and other issues, and we always approach them with this in mind, stressing at the outset that what we offer is not going to get them further into debt - that it's a once-only gift, NOT a loan, and that we can provide them with a Certificate of Assistance to prove this to their JCP advisor.
It took a little while for us to finally complete this transfer, but that made the feelgood factor that we always experience with any completion all the sweeter.
Sep 14, 2015
This Client could easily have been overlooked because she was commenting in a thread that someone else had raised. She wasn't asking for anything, but something she said in one of the comment's on another person's thread in a benefit advice group led me to feel that something wasn't quite right. I referred her to the TBF members so her comments could be discussed, and it was agreed that we should help her because her children were supporting her and she felt so guilty about this. We figured that we could not only help the lady concerned, but also lift the financial pressure from her children for a week or two, and so we sent her a gift of £150.
She's such a lovely lady, as I've since discovered in conversation, that she used a small part of the gift to pay for a homeless lad to stay in an overnight shelter and bought him some snacks. She also used another small amount to provide a friend of hers, who suffers from fits, with an identity and address tag because she's been ending up in hospitals with no-one knowing who she is or where she comes from.
That kind of "paying it forward" is always delightful to discover, and the latest is that she's agreed to act as an additional pair of eyes and ears for us, in other social media groups, in our ongoing search for people in financial difficulties.
Our Client also managed to put a decent amount of food in her own cupboards, thus taking that pressure off her family for a wee while as we intended.
Sep 13, 2015
A member of one of our friend groups responded to an article in Able Magazine written by one of the government's Ministers regarding help back into work, and it was a scathing reply indeed. Again, I thought it worthy of referral to the group for discussion because of mentions of lack of heating and other shortages being suffered while the young lady was being helped into work.
The group agreed, and we had further support from the friend group when the young lady's adviser added his agreement that a small donation would go a long way to easing her difficulties. We sent her £100 and the result was that we could almost feel the gratitude and relief coming off the screen in her thank you message.
It's always a very real pleasure to help someone who's teetering on the edge of The Abyss, but for whatever reason some jobs stand out more than others. That was the case with this one for me.
Sep 7, 2015
We meet some lovely folk while we do our thing. A young chap had to get himself to an ESA medical appointment but didn't have the money. Our contact people managed to get his bank details, but then he came back to us and told us that the assessment office had altered his appointment to the 28th, meaning he could borrow the fare from his mate, who gets paid on the 21st, and would then be able to repay his friend when his own money arrived.
As part of the conversation he became very interested in learning how he could help us, being highly impressed by what we do, and why. According to the contact Member he was just "an all-round nice bloke."
So we sent him £30 to cover his transport costs anyway, because that will mean there won't be a hole in his benefit payment from having to repay his buddy.
Sep 4, 2015
It took us a while to get this Client to accept our help, but really it was never going to end any other way.
The case came in on the 4th, and we finally resolved it on the 22nd. The lady concerned had been forbidden to work until a detailed report could be made on injuries she sustained in a fall back in December. She didn't earn enough to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, and Clown Central had yet again failed to send the relevant forms for her to make a benefits claim for ESA. She was going hungry, but was determined that she was going to fight the system all the way to the Orion Nebula if she had to, to get a sensible resolution.
The problem with fighting the system is that the wheels within wheels grind exceedingly slowly, and with no food on the table to keep her strength up, this lady was in danger of falling by the wayside.
Luckily we have several Galaxy class persuaders on our staff, whose command of basic logic ought to mean they have straight fringes and pointy ears!
The Client has now accepted £150 that will help her keep her energy up with proper meals while she boldly goes onward towards The Foe. We wish her well.
Sep 2, 2015
We were introduced by a new referral agency to young man (22) who has been living in mental health supported accommodation, who has severe anxiety and depression. He failed to attend a medical examination appointment due to his condition, as well as a couple of subsequent appointments for JSA. He afterwards admitted that he'd booked these JSA appointments before he really felt ready to be considered as fit to work.
He's now applying again for ESA and has been told that he must attend the medical evaluation before the benefit can be awarded.
We sent him £100 to help keep him fed while the process goes through.
Aug 29, 2015
J was forced to move from her long term home that she had lived in and raised her family because with the bedroom tax she could no longer afford to live there. She is now a pensioner and living in a one bedroom flat, and has given up the garden she loved. Unknown to her, there wasn't a transition with the council with her changeover from one property to the next, so she discovered she was in arrears over rent. She is a born worrier and what we have discovered is that she has paid that bill with her pension when it arrived but it has meant that until a week on Monday (7th September) she has no money for food, so will have nothing until then. Her only family is her son and two grandsons, but the son is on JSA, so he is not in a position to help.
We provided this Client with £100 to see her through, food-wise, until her next pension payment.
Aug 29, 2015
Most of our Clients are still people we discover via social media, and even I get time to keep tabs on what my friends are up to and dealing with. So, it was with some concern for her posts that I raised the plight of someone on my friends list with the Group. I'd already "spoken" with her to get a feel for the background of the problems and what I learned upset me no end. The family (herself, her partner and her child) had been evicted from their home and were having to spend time apart because they couldn't find a place to be together. It quickly became obvious that serious cashflow problems, along with the stress of being parted, were causing the health problems that she mentioned in our conversation. She's saving like crasy to get a deposit and advance rent together so that she and her partner and cats can reunite, but it's taking time and she mentioned that a viral infection, that she would normally have shaken off in just a couple of days, still had a grip on her and was still making her tired and worn out after almost two weeks. Not good.
The group allocated £150 to this Client, which has enabled her to get herself some fresh food and some multi-vitamins so that the after-effects of the virus should be gone in no time from now.
Aug 29, 2015
We learned of a lady who lives in Peterborough, whose mother in Glasgow is nearing the end of her fight against cancer. The daughter lives on ESA and DLA and savings are non-existent, as is the case with many disabled people today.
We have earmarked £250 for this lady, so she can get away to Glasgow as soon as she can arrange a suitable date, as well as feed herself while she remains there, and get herself home once the time comes.
Aug 28, 2015
This Client is a PhD doing post-graduate study. He has a house, the mortgage for which is being paid by lodgers, but he had only £10 - £15 a week to live on after his boiler failed and he had the choice of either maxing out his overdraft or losing said lodgers. Students these days like to have hot showers. In my day it were a bucket under t'stand pipe in t'middle o' t'street among t'orses an' sheep, tha knaws!
No! It wasn't! Sorry - I got carried away there...
Anyway, as a fibromyalgia sufferer (quite severe according to the referrer) he wasn't aware that he could claim PIP. That's now been rectified and he has sent off for an application form. However, PIP decisions are still taking up to three months to complete and there is, of course, no guarantee that the application will be authorised. Time will tell. Meanwhile, £10 - £15 a week is totally insufficient for anyone to try and live on, including household bills.
We sent this man £250 to help him get through the PIP application period.
Aug 26, 2015
This Client walked away from an abusive relationship and had managed to secure new accommodation for herself and her two children, but the brave decision to escape had cost her all of her furniture and white goods. She was sourcing pre-loved items via Freegle, Freecycle and the like, but it was slow going and there were still plenty of what most people would deem "essentials" before she would have even a basically comfortable home.
We gave her £200 so she could source necessary items closer to home.
Aug 26, 2015
One of our Cornish Members discovered a young man who had been living rough for a year before the YMCA provided him with a flat, but he had absolutely nothing to put in it, no money for internet to approach the likes of Freegle etc, and likewise no money for electricity. A friend had provided him with some very basic foodstuffs, but he was going to need far more to keep his body and soul attached to each other until he could sort out an income.
The Group authorised our Member in Cornwall to carry out a shopping trip for this Client, and to get his electricity up and running via the required tokens. This came to a total of £153.76, but we weren't going to call this one "#jobbed" until we'd sourced a bedframe for him to put his king-sized (donated) mattress onto. A further £54.99, including delivery, sorted this part out - courtesy of our in-house eBay wizard - and the hashtag that we all love to see was then duly applied at the end of the discussion thread.
Well... actually, not quite the end, because we received two wonderful messages from the young man's friend which once again raised the feelgood factor by a couple of orders of magnitude at TBFHQ:
"Thank you so much f or helping [him]. He is still in shock and over the moon."
"His bed turned up this morning. :-) Thank you soo much. Hes over the moon x"
And if that wasn't enough we also learned from our Cornish member that, in spite of all he has been through himself, our Client is also very interested in helping others. That our help is going to be paid forward by a Client is something we're really delighted to learn.
Aug 26, 2015
We learned from an associate organisation of a woman, only 29 years of age, who has suffered a stroke and who also has meningioma (a benign tumour in the brain). She told the referring organisation that the one thing she would really love to have is a utensil that allows people with manual dexterity problems to slice and dice vegetables. In this way she can contrinute to the running of her household by having evening meals ready.
£50 went winging its way to her in just a matter of hours.
Aug 25, 2015
This Client is diabetic. Her husband works for HMRC and they don't have enough to live on. She had not had any fresh food for weeks, and fresh food is a necessary part of any diabetic person's diet. In the post she made, as a long-standing member of a hardship advice group, she said that as a "working family" all they had was half a pint of milk in the fridge, nothing in the cupboards, and hubby was having to walk to work every day, while payday was still a week away.
We made a grant of £75 to this very sweet lady, who was really struggling, just to get her and her hubby through to pay-day. Our contact Member received an update from her shortly afterwards, replying to advice and links that were provided to her:
"They already have a Debt Plan in place and he earns over the limit for tax credits. [Her local] council got her a wet room sorted, and a benefits check was carried out, but there is nothing else she can claim. There wasn't enough money for her to get an adjustable bed, which she needs so I have given her the links to some places she can apply to for a grant. As she is struggling so much her husband is going to take partial retirement so he can be at home more to look after her. He won't be able to get any pension yet, but they'll be able to claim help with their HB and CT."
Just a part of the conversation that our contacting Member had with this lovely Client:
"I will be so happy to let hubby know he doesnt have to walk to work, and he will be happy i will have some fresh food."
In statements like this, it's easy to feel the sheer relief that Clients experience when they realise that they're not facing their difficulties alone. If you're donating to us, or have in the past, please feel immensely proud of what you are helping us to achieve for our Clients. Without you, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. Bless you all.
Aug 24, 2015
This CLient's ESA was stopped when she was noted as "fit for work." She rang up to appeal the decision and threatened suicide which, she told us, she had tried before. She was told in a follow-up call that her ESA was still stopped even under Appeal, and that she would need tro attend her JobCentre for an interview with a view to switching to JSA.
Whichever benefit she eventually ends up with, there will be a delay and so we made £100 available to her, to help see her over the bump.
I love some of the initial responses that we get to our offers of help, because they come right out of the blue as far as many Clients are concerned. In this case the question was "What??? Is this for real? xx" followed by "Oh thank you so very much. x" when I told her that there were no strings, catches or tricks.
Then, once the job was completed, via a bank electronic transfer as we always do, I received this message, which is what makes this work so very worthwhile for us: "Hi [Rich], I got the £100 thank you so very much for helping me. I was getting worried about bills but that will help my DDs so much. xxx"
[Rich is not my real name. Keep guessing! :-D ]
Aug 20, 2015
A Food Bank called The Raft Foundation is a friend of ours, and we helped them out last year when they ran low on supplies. We're delighted to say that we've been able to do the same again this year with a £95 drop-shipment.
Aug 19, 2015
This Client was giving thanks for a £15 refund on her TV subscription, which would help her because she had only £1.40 left to last six days prior to its receipt. One of our Members engaged with her and discovered that even with the refund she wasn't going to make it through those six days.
A £100 grant has no helped her to sail past her difficult position.
Aug 18, 2015
We learned of a chap who has been unemployed for six months who, if he could pass his HGV2 test, was guaranteed a job at the end of it.
We had no hesitation in providing the £300 necessary to give him this rare opportunity.
He passed. :-)
Aug 14, 2015
Even us Biscuiteers are not immune to the occasional cashflow hiccup. Thankfully they're rarer than honest politicians, ;-) but they can, and do, happen.
One of our Members had to take her son on a trip to see a specialist and was horrified, having got to her destination, to discover that the tax credits that she and her family rely upon just to break even had not arrived in her bank account. A call to the administrators revealed that there had been a hiccup in the paperwork side of things. She was stuck with a young child miles from home, and on top of that was left wondering how she was going to feed the meters and put a bit of food in the cupboards.
At TBF we're a family, and we won't let one of our own suffer any more than we would leave a Client out to dry.
The difference is that when the hardship affects one of our own, we club together within the family to resolve the problem. Without touching the Main Fund in any way, our stranded Member was given £100, collected entirely from our own donations made specifically for her cause.
That's how we roll. TBF - The Big Family called The Biscuit Fund. :-)
Aug 11, 2015
The words of a lady who was referred to us by one of our friend organisations. Here's a summary of the Client's condition:
- panic attack
- recovering alcoholic ( dry for past 15 yrs )
She is terrified of leaving her house and will only do so if she can be accompanied by someone she knows and trusts. Due to non-attendance at medical appointments in March this year, caused by this debilitating mental condition, she was removed from ESA. She was told that attendance was a MUST, regardless of her medical circumstances and her benefit income was "...stopped. It has had a big impact on my health making me even more anxious and causing me to panic to the point I could hardly breathe."
When she did manage to get a trusted relative to accompany her to her local Job Centre to report her work record for her JSA claim (which she had to raise in place of the ESA claim that was closed down) "the security guy refused my daughter in law to accompany me to the 2nd floor where I had to sign on and show my work sheet."
She closed down her JSA claim as a result of this obstructive treatment by the contract guarding company's operative (not even a regular or trained member, himself, of the Job Centre staff) and has reclaimed ESA, which is right and proper for her ongoing medical status. Her GP has signed her unfit for work until October, but she still awaits the mandatory Work Capability Assessment. The ongoing delay and lack of any income are what prompted the quote at the head of this post.
What worried us more than anything was the next sentence of her email to our friends: "I have no income at all no food gas electric I'm in £2,000 pound rent arrears and on a suspended warrant for possession of my home I feel suicidal."
We have provided this lady with £200 to help her get through the delay while her WCA appointment is made for her. This will buy her food for her cupboards and freezer and top up her gas and electricity meters. We SO wish we could do something about her rent arrears, but we are a small charity with a limited Fund, and there are always more people out there who desperately need help. What we do to help can never be enough, but we do what we can with what we have. It's why your donations are so desperately important to us and so gratefully received. For every Client we reach, or who is referred, when we help them we remain painfully aware that there are some ten thousand other pairs of hands reaching out in supplication somewhere out there in the mists of anonymity, their owners praying desperately for someone to give them a helping hand.
The money that you give to us makes a world of difference to someone like this lady and the situation into which they've been thrown. Every single penny that we receive is destined for use by a future Client. None of the members of The Biscuit Fund takes a salary or expenses. If you can, no matter how much or little you feel you can part with, do please use the Donate button. The difference you can make to a fellow Briton's life is nothing short of amazing.
It is thanks entirely to previous donations to our Fund that, today, this Client has gone from having a single tin of fruit in her cupboard, which our friends told us about, to being able to do (or, more likely, have done for her by a relative) a full grocery shop for fresh, nourishing food. She'll be able to cook that food now that she has gas and electricity, as well as wash in hot water. That should be standard practice for all in today's 21st century Britain, yet it is a lifestyle that more and more people are seeing slipping away from them.
It is very possible that, in this case, we may have prevented a tragic loss of a life - a suicide that was becoming increasingly likely thanks to the rigidity of the "one size fits all" system.
In writing up the cases of the Clients who we meet and assist, we do our very best not to be political. In some cases though, like this one, making it clear why we helped the Client leaves us no room to "write around" the failings in "The System" because that System is the indisputable core cause of the problems suffered by the individual.
Aug 9, 2015
This arrived in the empty cookie jar that we use as our Inbox:
" A lady I know who works at the hospital has just been kicked out by her partner. It was a v controlling relationship and all of her money he made her pay into his account 'for bill purposes' ... She has managed to secure a room with someoeb she works with, however she has no food, no money to fill up the car to get to work, nothing at all. And he won't let her have what money he has because apparently 'her portion went on bills and rent' "
A £200 donation to this brave lady, who has managed to escape to a safe location, will help her through till her next pay-day, when she will be able to use her wages as she sees fit, rather than having them confiscated by another for his own selfish comfort.
Aug 8, 2015
One woman, three children (one with autism) and a sanctioned ESA claim. One of our members visited this lady recently and found that the food cupboards were bare. Our member has been helping this lady for the past two weeks to begin getting her claim resolved, in which time the lady has received no income of any kind. Furthermore, the appointment with a claims advisor cannot happen for another two weeks.
We have now provided this lady with £200 so she can stock up her larder and freezer, as well as put some credit into her gas and electricity meters.
Aug 8, 2015
We first learned of this client when she posted in a group looking for help resolving a very bad toothache problem. Further information came up as the case went along though, and we learned that she's been living on beans and potatoes because her income is so very low - just £57 a week.
We gave her a £200 gift and the response that we received was enough to make angels weep. I'll post it under "Client Comments" so readers can see another example of what makes working with TBF so very worthwhile.
Aug 8, 2015
"Oh my god, I am so unbelievably tearful right now. All of you guys at the biscuit fund are absolute Angels. I never EVER expected this amount of money. I was going to be incredibly grateful with £20. Never did I think you could help me THIS much. Do you know how relieved I am now that I do not have to worry tomorrow when I wake up. And that now I can keep my head above water. I am so overwhelmed with emotion. I wish I could hug you all and let you know how unbelievably blown away I am with all this and how grateful I am.
I am going to treat myself first thing tomorrow to some hair dye to make me feel better about myself. And then relax.
Please thank everyone at the biscuit fund. And when I can even if it's in years to come I want to give back to you to help others. Because you have helped me so much.
I can sleep so well oh my god I can't stop typing thank you! Please know now that I can truly relax. My tight chest from all the stress is feeling more and more relaxed. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart!!!!
(Our agent who worked with this Client told her specifically to treat herself to something that would make her feel better, and hair dye was one of the suggestions.)
Aug 6, 2015
One of our members proposed this case, and the opportunity for us to help this brave man and his family to earn their own income from his musical skills was one we were never going to ignore. Here's what our member told us:
"He lives with is wife and two children (7 & 1 years) 5 years ago he was diagnosed with cancer of the leg and whilst in remission he had to have his whole leg rebuilt which has left him disabled, a couple of months ago he had to have yet again more surgery as his knee was half way up his thigh. Their 7 year old is autistic and their 1 year old has so many allergies and skin conditions, they have really been through the mill.
His wife is his and the children's full time carer and is amazing, and he has recently gone back to college to try to retrain for the future.
He plays in a band and uses music to interact with his daughter, but several of his instruments have been damaged and have made them unplayable, this is something he cannot afford to repair and this means he is unable to play gigs to get a lil more income or to communicate with his daughter, which is especially important during the summer holidays.
They are a lovely family who make a little bit go a long way, and really try to do the best for their kids. This would be a massive boost to them when no one has ever been there to help them."
£200 has now been placed at the family's disposal.
Aug 6, 2015
One of our Members discovered, as a result of a social call on a friend, that the cupboards were completely bare. The friend, with three children (one of whom is severely autistic) had had no money at all for two weeks already, and was facing an unspecified delay while the case was resolved.
We gave her £200 to help tide her over.
Aug 2, 2015
Every so often we see a deserving case that isn't so much about helping someone get over a financial crisis, but more of just making a junior member of their family's wish come true when money is a little short for spending on wishes.
We heard about a young lady who had set her heart on going to a BBC open day type of entertainment but, as it so often is these days, money is tight and it looked as if she might have not have anything special to write about in her "What I Did During My Summer Holidays" essay when school restarts in September.
£50 has enabled this little Cinderella to go to her equivalent of the Ball and we just know she'll have a wonderful day. :-) x
Jul 31, 2015
Larger-built folks can sometimes have trouble finding clothes that fit properly and comfortably in the shops these days. We learned of a young lady who was having exactly this issue, having been pressured into seeking a new top in a high-street store that she had already explained does not cater for ladies of her build.
Our proposing member suggested that £20 would be sufficient to help her purchase a top that she had found in her size. We decided that would not do, and so sent her £50 so that she could also cover the transport costs involved with attending a job interview, for which the new top is needed.
Sometimes this kind of small amount can open doors that will enable people to get on and improve their lot in life. We wish our Client every success in her future.
Jul 26, 2015
£254 sorted this client's problems.
A disabled man and his family, including a disabled son, where the Lady of the house is the full-time carer, moved into a bungalow suited to their needs in the wild and woolly outback of North Yorkshire.
Only one problem... the accommodation relies upon liquid propane gas for heating, cooking and hot water.
We found a local supplier, whose staff were enormously helpful and this Client can now be toasty-warm at bath time.
Jul 24, 2015
- When a credit card is stolen and £300 is pinched, but the bank says the payments were genuine and then blocks the account.
- When the customer, quite rightly irate, contacts the bank and sorts out the account block
- When the bank then RE-BLOCKS the account because money is being PUT INTO the account from multiple sources!!
Don't laugh - it's for real. This poor lady had sold a number of items in order to pay for her car which had broken down. If the bank starts returning the inbound funds to their points of origin, she'll have ended up giving away her saleables.
Meanwhile, because of the stolen card fiasco, the money that she'd put aside for her food shopping has now gone down the Suwahnee (unless she can have the problem re-investigated by the bank). Plus, because of the inbound monies being fraudulent in the bank's view, there is currently no way for her to access her account, she had no money available to buy any food for herself and her child.
We sent this lady £150 via her friend's bank account to tide her over in the hopes that her bank will rectify their error imminently.
Jul 22, 2015
This morning we were featured in a story in The Guardian online. It highlighted the work that we do and tells the story of one of the people that we have helped out over the past 12 months.
You can read the story here. We hope that it brings us to the attention of many more people who can help us to continue our work in eleviating poverty in the UK - One person at a time.
If this story touches your heart, then please click the 'Donate' button at the top of the screen, and give whatever you can afford. Every penny we raise goes to help people in need.
Jul 21, 2015
One of our recent cases involved a paraplegic man who's been confined to his wheelchair for the last 31 years. He has to have help, morning and night, to get himself prepared for either rising or getting into bed, as well as washing and dressing.
Unfortunatey, the PIP assessors decided that he should not be entitled to the care component of PIP.
Add to that, that his local authority had been overpaying his housing benefit, but only noticed when the debt had apparently reached £780* (if they were my accountants, they soon wouldn't be!) and they've been taking the money back from him by forcing him to find the full rent amount over a period of however long it might be.
This decent young man - who the mainstream media would casually write off as a "scrounger" because he has to rely upon benefits, actually pays some of the amount towards his care. The HB debt was putting this independence at risk, for if he'd continued to do it, he'd have had to default on his unsubsidised rent and thereby would have lost his flat.
So, TBF has given him £500, because the HB overpayment was recalculated as being £433.39*. He can use the extra small amount for anything he wants to, and we reckon it will go on stocking up the larder a wee bit.
Additionally to the financial help, which was quite a biggie by our usual standards, an email has been sent to our client's Member of Parliament, apprising him of the situation and requesting that he take a hand in correcting the view of the PIP assessors regarding people who are long-term paralysed and getting that care component reinstated.
Jun 23, 2015
Many of you may remember that back in March we were selected by www.myfavouritevouchercodes.co.uk to be voted their 'Charity of the Month'.
Well after a long month of nail biting, we came to the end of March and thanks to all of the generous voters we were voted as the winners. So yesterday we recieved £3161.85 from them.
Our commiserations to the other two charities in the vote. Carry on your good work.
May 20, 2015
Andrew was in a real pickle, and one that is quite common to benefits claimants with mental health problems. The Job Centre said he wasn't fit for work so he couldn't claim Jobseekers' Allowance. So he claimed ESA, but was sanctioned because one day he was too ill to attend an appointment. The DWP said that he must be fit for work because he was too ill to attend, and stopped his benefits, leaving Andrew with no money to pay for his essential prescriptions. Sadly, this was not the first time this had happened to Andrew.
Andrew lives with his elderly mother, who is unable to support him financially. Consequently, Andrew was unable to afford to pay for prescriptions, and was only eating one meal a day and a few vitamin pills, because there was little money available for nutritious food. This was causing friction in Andrew's relationship with his mother, and was adding to Andrew's mental health problems.
One of our Biscuiteers, Margie, learned of Andrew's plight from her friend who'd seen Andrew's post lamenting his situation in her news feed on Facebook. Margie shared the story with the group and, after discussion among ourselves and with Andrew, The Biscuit Fund sent him £100 in cash to pay for some shopping and his prescriptions, and also provided Andrew with information about appealing the sanction.
Andrew says he's "bowled over" by the help TBF was able to provide, and like many of our clients has vowed to make a donation to TBF when his circumstances improve. We are absolutely delighted to have been able to lift Andrew's spirits, and of course to have given him and his mother some respite from the pressures of financial hardship while the sanction is appealed and hopefully overturned.
This is the reality of the hope you help to instill in people whenever you make a donation to The Biscuit Fund, so thank you from all of us for your support. If you'd like to make a donation to help other people like Andrew, please use the PayPal Donate button at the top of the page.
Feb 13, 2015
Huge thanks to Frances Ryan who recently included us in an article for New Statesman.
Jan 8, 2015
We had a jolly busy festive season at TBF with lots of families who needed help in the run up to Christmas. One of our favourite cases was that of Dave, who had suffered a pause in his benefits due to a new application and had taken out a hardship loan to tide himself over. Thereafter he was left on low rate ESA while still paying back the hardship loan from his weekly payments. Dave was due to have his daughter Samantha stay with him for Christmas, but because of his lack of funds he had barely been eating himself, and had been keeping whatever food he did have for her weekly after-school visit so that he could make her dinner.
He was left dreading Christmas, as they had been excitedly talking about roast dinners all year, but Dave had no way to buy Christmas dinner, let alone any gifts for her. We sent him a food shop immediately and some vitamins so that he wasn't going without in the run up to Christmas, and closer to the day sent him a small turkey crown, some gravy and some vegetables so that he could make a beautiful Christmas dinner. Some of our members also donated personally so that Samantha could have some gifts.
Dave let us know that he had been so upset about Christmas and how much he would let Sam down, and that with our help it was the first time he could remember actually being excited about Christmas.
They apparently had a wonderful time. :-)
Dec 22, 2014
Martha was a single working Mum with a seven-year-old son. She had escaped an abusive relationship and been left with a mortgage on a run-down house. Despite her working full-time, when the fridge/freezer broke a few months ago they were left with a small camping fridge that someone kindly gifted to them and no way of replacing it.
We bought them a new fridge/freezer, and, knowing that they had very little to put in it, we also filled it.
We heard from Martha on the morning the fridge arrived, who told us that she couldn't stop looking at it because it was so beautiful, and she had invited some friends over to see how beautiful it was, too.
Later that day her food shop arrived, and Martha let us know that her little boy was more excited about the food than he was about Christmas, and thought that they would never have to go food shopping again.
Martha let us know how grateful she was, and said that she felt her luck had finally turned a corner, that she felt stronger now, and that she now knew that things were going to be okay.
How amazing to be able to make a small family feel so fantastic with as little as £200.
Nov 11, 2014
We became aware of Kestna’s plight via the Ann McGauran blog. Kestna at the age of 62 was being given a right run around by the DWP and an appeal for his Employment and Support Allowance had been upheld and he was found fit for work. The knock on of this meant that his payments then ceased, as did his housing benefit and council tax benefit. Kestna had turned up at the food bank with a voucher to pick up what for for him the difference to having something to eat or going hungry.
Not only were we able to help him by putting a small amount of money on his gas and electricity to ensure he had heat, hot water and importantly a way to cook his food, but we also organised a food shop for him so we could at least put some food in his cupboards and fridge. Better still using our valuable connections we were able to help him to sort out his housing and council tax benefit and also guide him towards being provided with another appointment for a work capability assessment , signpost him to the Citizens Advice Bureau for help with sorting out his arrears, and to self-refer to his council for adaptations to the home he’d been moved to.
Jul 22, 2014
Gosh, we've been so very busy the last couple of months! This week alone we have sent out around £1,500 to people in need, including victims of domestic abuse who have managed to escape their abusers, disabled folk who have been sanctioned and Mums who have been left without after Tax Credits mix-ups.
Just recently though we had a case which we felt needed more than just a biscuit boost. Kevin had been sanctioned and left with just £3.50 a week for food, so we paid his rent and council tax for six weeks and are sending him a weekly food shop for that period, too. We found him on Ann McGauran's blog and with her help and the wonderful assistance of Alan Robinson at Greenwich foodbank we were able to get in contact with him and he is now awaiting his second delivery of fresh fruit, veg, meat, cheese, milk (and burgers, chips, beans, bacon, bread, etc etc) and biscuits. Ann was kind enough to write a lovely blog entry about us, too. Good luck, Kevin! We love you!
(Huge thanks to @BadgerMark1972 on Twitter for sharing Ann's original blog entry with us!)
Jul 15, 2014
Poor Joan was conned into paying for a Blue Badge that she never received, so we sent her money back to her. We are extremely grateful to The Lancashire Evening Post for the follow-up article. :-)
Jul 11, 2014
We saw an article in the Lancashire Evening Post about a lady that had been duped by an online scam to get a Blue Badge for her disabled husband. (http://www.lep.co.uk/news/local/disabled-gran-conned-into-paying-site-for-blue-badge-1-6638301 ). We were touched by the story, so we stepped up and after speaking to the lady in question on the phone, we sent her £70 to help restore her faith in humanity. She was so pleased and said that her husband and she had just booked a little break and the money would come in very handy as extra spending money.
Mrs P's daughter had been sanctioned and had her JSA stopped for a month for not attending a course that she had no idea about. We made contact and sent her £150 for her daughter to help her through until the mess was sorted out.
Mrs L who suffers from Fibromyalgia and other illnesses was recently hospitalised. Her husband took time off work to care for her and their two children. When he returned to work, he was told that he would not be paid for the time off. This obviously left them in dire straits. We made contact and gave the family £250 to help them to get back on track.
We had a referral from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in the NHS. One of her patients who was struggling to pay her bills and had no food. We were of course more than happy to help her out. We gave her £200 and ordered her a big shop for her and her son.
May 24, 2014
Gosh, it’s been a while since we wrote one of these! While we’ve not been writing, though, we’ve not been idle.
Here is a story from each month this year so far that touched our hearts.
Mrs W’s son had his JSA sanctioned – because he had just been diagnosed with cancer and missed an appointment, despite calling them beforehand to explain that he couldn’t attend. Sadly his cancer spread and, on advising the job centre that he was now receiving intensive chemotherapy, they took him off JSA and said he wasn’t entitled to anything else, leaving him with nothing for over a month – over Christmas, no less. He was later helped to fill in an ESA claim, which was still pending when we found his mum. We gave him £120 to tide him over until his income was reinstated, as well as offering our usual practical support.
Ms S, a disabled lady on basic benefits who was very good at budgeting them, fell foul of an internet scam, which took funds from her bank account without permission (we asked for more details, and this was something any one of us could have been taken in by). The bank were looking into it, with a view to refunding her in time, but her bills were about to go out by direct debit the next day, leaving her overdrawn with bank charges on top if that happened. She had already gotten excellent advice on fraud and contacting the bank from friends, so we sent her £100 to cover the shortfall in her bank, with a little extra to show that not everyone on the internet is a bad egg.
D was sanctioned for not doing enough on his work search. He was actually doing more than the law requires. His girlfriend W suffered the same fate the following month. Because they didn’t know about the nil declaration for Housing Benefit (and no-one at the Job Centre bothered to tell them) they fell into £1500 rent arrears with the threat of court. W was terrified of court and brought to tears by the thought of it. One of our agents assisted with the Nil income housing benefit claim, which cleared most of the rent arrears. We gave them a gift to clear the rest in full.
Mr J, a disabled man with a young child, was found fit for work. His ESA was stopped, leaving him and his son with only £20 a week to live on. We sent him £100 so he and his son could be well fed for a few weeks. Another good job jobbed.
Ms D was very concerned that her son, who has mental health problems and physical disabilities, would join the ever growing list of suicides linked to welfare reform. His ESA was stopped for over a month and a reconsideration turned him down, saying his conditions did not qualify, even though he was often unable to care for himself and suffered from hallucinations and delusions. We put him in touch with practical help, and gave a gift of £200 to assist with a backlog of bills and rent that were stacking up, giving him some space to get the help he needs, and his mum some peace of mind.
May 24, 2014
We have an Ambassador programme for anyone who wants to get involved – is this you?
We are very grateful to the Mirror and to Radio 4’s You and Yours for giving us coverage in the last month. We have been overwhelmed by the response from people on email and twitter, and cannot say thank you enough for all the generous donations and messages of support. We have also had lots of people wanting to get involved, which is fantastic!
What and who are TBF Ambassadors?
The Biscuit Fund Ambassadors are people who are interested in becoming agents but who we don’t yet know well. All of our agents so far have been recommended by existing agents and, as we need to get to know our agents, the ambassador programme is a way of a) us getting to know each other and b) sharing fundraising ideas, and receiving referrals for potential new clients for us to help.
TBFA can be anyone! Whether you’re rich, poor, old, young, tall, short, silly or serious, if you have a passion for what we do and can spare a little time to talk with us, you could be just what TBF and our future clients need.
How do I get involved?
We operate on Facebook and have a dedicated group there for discussion (which is exactly how the main TBF group of agents works). If you want to get involved, please email us a link to your Facebook profile with a message introducing yourself, and we will take it from there. Please note the group on Facebook is set to secret so you won't be able to find it by searching - please contact us instead.
We are really excited to meet you, don’t be shy!
Mar 19, 2014
We are extremely grateful to police forces in both Bristol and Rotherham for their assistance in getting donations to two elderly ladies mentioned in a recent article in The Mirror. Both forces were friendly and efficient, and were instrumental in getting cash donations to both of the victims mentioned in the article. We sent a letter along with our donations, and received warm thanks from both ladies, as well as a wonderful email from a police officer in Rotherham who wanted to tell us what a great job we are doing. Here's what we sent to each lady:
We are a small UK registered charity, who were deeply saddened to read that you were a victim of such a callous crime recently. We wanted to write to you with a small donation in the hope that this may alleviate your immediate financial loss and may go some way to reassuring you that although there are bad apples out there, there are many whose hearts have been touched by your ordeal.
We understand that in situations such as this one, it is not so much the loss of money, but more the shock of how horrible some people can be. We hope this small donation, and the fact that all of our 40+ members are thinking of you, will go some way to helping you recover from your awful experience.
Please note that we do not wish this donation to be returned to us. It is a gift to you, which we hope will aid your recovery.
Please accept our love, thoughts and very best wishes.
The Biscuit Fund
Feb 15, 2014
Getting through all of our success stories slowly but surely!!! Its been such a nice journey remembering all of the people we have helped, all of the people we have given some sunshine to!!!
So, beginning of June. Beginning of summertime, nearing the summer holidays (which is a constant financial strain for many many parents on low wages or claiming benefits)
Our first case In June was on the 7th. B had already been for an appeal, and informed that she did not need to attend another medical for 24 months. 3 months later, she received a request for a medical, which she refused on the grounds of her appeal outcome. Even though she provided all information she was still sanctioned and left with nothing. We did a £50 food shop for her to keep her going and put a smile on her face and food in her belly.
On the 9th, we helped N. N was stuck after a relationship breakdown, and without money. It was too late in the day to get a shop to her, so in fact this was a 3 part assist. We transferred £30 to her that evening to enable her to buy food the next day for herself and her children (a Sunday). Then, on the Sunday morning we transferred to her another £40 for Electricity and Gas, and did a food shop of £102. Making her and her 3 girls very happy, safe, warm and fed.
On the 10th, and P was brought to our attention. A struggling student, who had issues with ESA, was left with nothing. Refused help from a food bank, due to previous help, we helped him with £60 to stock up his cupboards. Quite a quick and non-tangled case, job-jobbed!!!!
A repeat client today, on the 18th. Remember in the last update, the guy so severely hurt in an accident, and constantly having to prove his worth for benefits?? Well, still on an appeal rate, still not eating. We transferred £95 to keep him going till his appeal came through. (As an update here, you'll be pleased to know that his appeal came through and he is now on the correct benefits, and eating right!)
24th, and P was brought to our attention again. Still waiting on his disability benefits to come through, and out of the help we gave him, with nothing left. We transferred £70 to him to get him though the next few weeks.
Another on the 24th, we helped J with a £65.45 food shop. Another person left with nothing, given our help.
M was left with no electric, no gas and no food. A common reason 'too much month at the end of my money!' We transferred £70 to him to get him back on track...
Into July. I've done so much since July I can barely remember the weather, but its supposed to be quite nice around that time of the year so I wonder if the sun was shining or not. Sometimes though, when you are living in constant worry, it doesn't really matter if the sun is shining, it still feels cold and dark.
Our first client on the 3rd July. C had fallen to bank charges - the bane of most peoples financial lives, but even more so when you survive and exist on little money. With children at home, we sent her £150 to see her through, and put some food on the table.
On the 6th, we had a young woman referred to us. She had suffered a horrific attack, and was waiting for her ESA claim to come through. Although this was being rushed due to the nature of the assault, it was still taking some time. Unable to work, or look for work, she was left with no food, no rent and no faith in the world. We transferred £150 to cover her missed rent as well as get some food.
On the 8th, J was sent to us. Currently 90 miles away from home, at the bedside of his severely ill son, waiting for another major operation, his JSA was stopped due to him not 'actively looking for work' (who would be actively looking for work when sitting by their sick child's bedside, waiting for an operation that could save their life?? Not me, that’s for sure!!). Living off food from the hospital café, the last of his money was down to £3. We sent over £75 to help him, and hope that his child made it out of the hospital safe and sound <3
Still on the 8th, K fell into trouble with the water board. Although they admitted it was their mistake, they still demanded over £1000 from her or they would cut her off. Having used her entire ESA to pay some of the bill, she was left with no food, and this huge debt over her head. We donated £200 to her, some for food and the rest for a payment to the water board to stop court proceedings, and also helped her with £10 a month for the next 6 months in order to relieve some of the pressure.
Moving onto the 16th, and S was living with barely 2 pennies to rub together. A full time carer for her disabled child, her and her husband would regularly miss meals in order to feed their 3 children. Baking her own bread using plain flour rather than bread flour due to the cost. Her family had received help from the food bank 3 times in the last 9 months - there just simply wasn't enough money to go around. We sent her £120 to fill her cupboards and her belly.
On the 17th, A was brought to our attention after a most desperate post from her. A was at the end of her tether. Disabled, in receipt of ESA and cared for by her husband, she felt a burden on her Husband and Son, and wondered if they would be best off without her there. The money she had did not stretch far enough and she and her family were consistently going without food. We sent her £100 and considerably brightened her day, allowing her to finally get some proper food!!!!
Onto the 19th, and the last for July. T was waiting on her ESA claim to come through. As we know by now, this can take a very long time!!! left with no money, no food, no gas (which her cooker runs on) and no fuel for the car to get to the job Centre to chase her claim!! We transferred £120 to her enabling her to feed her family and put some fuel in the car to chase her claim!!
That brings us to the end of July!!! As our resident 'finisher' says, 'Job Jobbed'!! And there were many Jobs Jobbed!!!
Jan 7, 2014
Into May 2013! On the 7th our first client was S, who had fallen foul with the new Bedroom Tax. Although she had applied for DHP and her housing association had agreed to wait for the outcome of that, they then threatened eviction over a £40 debt. We paid the £40 direct to the housing association for her, saved her housing and enabled her to get back to work.
Another on the 7th. This was another heartbreaker. M had been a passenger in a car accident a few years previous, resulting in him breaking his back, losing inches off his height, issues with his knees and legs, and severe and debilitating pain, both physical and mental. This was the 3rd time in 2 years he was having to appeal not only his DLA, but his ESA also. Left with nothing in the cupboards or the fridge, unable to enjoy the hobbies he previously enjoyed, he was living on sugar water and really didn't care about anything anymore. We helped him with a £70 food shop, and hopefully gave him some hope of a better future. His benefits were eventually reinstated.
10th, and we helped a lady struggling to afford to feed her family with a £70 payment to fill her cupboards and brighten her day.
We helped another family on the 10th, struggling due to redundancy and about to lose their privately rented home. We gave them £100 to try and hold off their eviction, as well as a £65.81 food shop.
In the line of help we give, we often come into contact with other wonderful souls who are doing their best to help. The lady we helped on the 15th was one of these walking angels. She was putting her own time and money into helping a lad who found himself on the streets, with severe mental health illnesses, helping get him into medical care and housing. This lady, although struggling herself with an ESA claim, was giving everything she had into helping someone who had less. We donated £100 to help her recoup some of her costs, as well as future train fares whilst going to and from appointments to help this person.
On the 19th, we had a big one. W, a wonderful lady, who does much work in the online community helping those affected by benefits cuts and new processes. Her phone and internet was about to be cut off, and even with our help the phone company would not accept the bill paid in increments. After a donation from another charity, we paid £449 to help her stay online and connected, enabling her to carry on the wonderful and priceless work she was doing.
On the 21st, R was brought to our attention. She had been stolen from by a family member and was left with nothing for the month. :( We helped her with £200, and hopefully restored her faith in humanity.
The 23rd, we helped P, who had been waiting for her JSA claim to come through and had nothing. £65 was enough to put food on the table for her and her partner to see them through till the claim was sorted.
The 28th, a Young Man sanctioned. £60 was sent to him to get him through the next few weeks.
And there we have the end of May. So many people helped, yet still so many left behind. As heartwarming as it is to help, it breaks our hearts at the same time that there are so many people forgotten about. But we will keep on keeping on - one case at a time, making a difference where we can. <3
Dec 23, 2013
So, into April 2013, and as we had now come to expect there was no end to people who needed our crumb of hope. Some of the referrals we receive refuse our help, for in their eyes there are others worse off - others receive our help with more gratitude than I have seen anywhere before!
On the 4th, we had 2 cases that came to us and needed help. The first case actually gave us the record of 'furthest reached'!! D was a British citizen who had travelled all the way to Australia in promise of a job. However, he arrived and the job had fallen through. With a UK bank account, and a wait for benefits for 10 days, we helped him out with £50 to keep himself fed. A scary situation that must be, that far from home and nowhere to turn!!
Again on the 4th, a disabled lady who was due to have yet more surgery on her back was referred to us. Her DLA had been stopped, and she was in the process of moving from Incapacity Benefit to ESA. She was living with bare minimum Gas and Electric, had cancelled her phone and broadband package, but still was stuck with minimal food and her gas and electric about to go. We gave this lady £60 to see her through.
A rare case came to us on the 5th. J, a pensioner with no family, and very little visitors was struggling with bare cupboards. We transferred £20 to one of our members to enable them to pop round with a food parcel for her. There was much gratitude, as well as a telling off for meddling!! It turned out the lady we helped had spent too much on Easter Eggs for the neighbourhood children, and left herself short!
The 6th, and another case where ESA were giving L the run around. We transferred L £50 to stock her cupboards for herself and her son.
A few days clear, and then on the 9th A was referred to us. DWP were late in paying her, and she had already only been eating every other day to help make her shopping last for longer. We transferred £40 to her to get a weeks’ shop with.
On the 15th, we had one of our own members in a major pickle. After much badgering, we finally managed to persuade this member into accepting our help in clearing some long standing debts to avoid them losing some living necessities. Not an easy task with how independent this person is, but we succeeded!! A payment of £100 was transferred to them, and since our help they are back on their feet and out of hot water and debt!
A quiet few days, but then a case of the sort which make all of us hold our hearts tightly. A gentleman, with severe mobility issues, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time in the services, and a whole load of other mental and physical ailments, told our referrer that he was on the verge of taking his own life. He had an important hospital appointment to go to, which would cost him £80 in a taxi. He also owed the volunteer transport service £53, so he could not use their services to get there. After much rallying around by our members, transport was secured at no cost to him, and we gave him the £53 to pay back the volunteer service to avoid this happening in the future. A life saved.
That sums up April. A month of ups and downs, and smiles and tears <3
Dec 16, 2013
So, we move into March, and on the 1st we learned of a lady who, because she'd had to pay to have her oil tank refilled, had no money left for food. Thirty quid provided a well-received solution.
On the 2nd we came up against one of the really awful horror stories in the form of a post in another group of which one of our own members is an admin. We talked about this poor woman's truly horrendous situation both within and outside the Fund's discussion page and decided that we'd like to offer £150. When we put the idea to the group's members they invoked a particular Clause of our Constitution, which permits members to make donations for a specific Client. As a result of this, we ended up sending this Client a total of £260, and members who work in an advisory capacity in another group also took her under their collective wing. As our resident File Sealer likes to say, this case was a great job jobbed.
A few days' rest, and then our second pregnant lady who, in order that her existing child could eat, was down to her last chicken fillet which she was having to share with her husband. Pregnant and starving! In the United Kingdom, the 7th richest nation on the planet! £40 enabled her to go shopping to give both of them a run of proper meals. We were touched when she sent us a photo of her bags of shopping!
We had a quiet run until 25th, when we were introduced to a chap who was offered just £4 as a Crisis Loan to cover his food and electricity for a week. It's not a misprint - they offered him just FOUR POUNDS. We stuck a nought on the end and made him cry with relief when we sent him our version of a crisis loan. For a start, it's not a loan when we do it; it's always a gift.
27th, and another person hitting Facebook, trying to sell personal items in order to buy food. He was waiting for his JSA application to be processed; his mother was laid off sick and they were trying to live on her SSP. They had just £3 left when we heard of them, and a week to wait before the next lot of SSP would be credited. The member who introduced this Client told us that she had actually fed him herself several times (which statement raised some... interesting... mental images!!) so we sent the Client and his Mum £100 via our member.
Also on the 27th, we came upon this case:
The Client had lost his home due to losing benefits. He has no short term memory due to illness and so forgot to attend his Atos assessment . He'd been reduced to sleeping on a friends floor, no heating ,no money, the friend was doing his best but losing the battle to support two people on one benefit. Our member who introduced the case got him a doctor's appointment and the doctor gave him a letter to give the council for emergency housing. Even so, the Client had no warm clothes as such and the flat was freezing. He had no support, and was waiting to be referred to Social Services. He was absolutely desperate, in a very vulnerable state and was slowly slipping through the net.
We sent him £110 and our friends in the advisory group managed to get him accommodation in an hotel where he could soak up some much-needed warmth.
And that took us to the end of March 2013. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Nov 19, 2013
Considering that this uploading of Success stories has to be done when the mood is right, I could have a job for life here! Starting with the 11th February and we're still only a fraction of the way through the list that has built up since starting the fund. On this day we helped a chap who'd suffered a relationship breakdown and was waiting for his revised claim to be sorted. £50 went to him to help him and his mother stock up on a bit of food for the interim.
There are some despicable people in the world, who live by the "might is right" principle that has no place in a modern society, no matter what their circumstances might be. On 13 February, we received details of a 70 year-old woman who had been robbed by two younger people after they asked her for directions. She was aboard a mobility scooter, and they whipped her purse out of the front basket. With the considerable help of the local police, for which we are very grateful, we were able to get £70 to her to replace what was stolen.
15 February: Another £80 paid out, making a certain lady's day even brighter than the early Spring sunshine managed to do.
Also on 15 February: Just as there are despicable people, so there are also genuinely decent folk like the next chap who we helped out. He wouldn't switch his heating on because he wasn't prepared to use fuel that he knew he couldn't pay for. We sent him £50 to help him overcome his predicament.
17 February: We've come across some real horror stories as time has gone on, and the Client we "met" on this day was one of those which gave us an inkling of how bad things were likely to become. We weren't wrong to expect worse, as time has proven beyond any question at all. Today's Client was doing without heating because she had only £2.50 on her electricity meter, and she was having to sell personal effects and borrow money in order to buy food. She'd been living on what she described as "11p noodles" for some time and her hands were constantly shaking due to lack of proper nutrition. We were delighted to send her £50 to buy some proper grub.
21 February: Another day, another robbery, this time of a 91 year-old woman in the South of England. Once again, with the help of the local police, we were able to send £50 to take some of the sting out of the pain and shock that this elderly victim was feeling.
22 February: We learned of a woman who was having to move out of her own home, so she could let it in order to keep the mortgage payments up to date. Her mother had been helping her by up to £200 a month, but was beginning to feel the strain. We sent her £100 as a booster, and to take some of the burden away from her mum.
25 February: £66.06 sent as a food delivery to a lady who was at her complete wits' end, with a five-year-old to feed as well as herself. She'd been told that her appeal would take nine to twelve months to come up, and she was receiving nothing in the way of State support in the meantime.
26 February: £100 sent to a young lady who had fallen victim to a loan shark.
So, that brings us to the end of February's activity. I'll try and do the future posts to cover a calendar month each.
Oct 25, 2013
I'm going to put together the Success History of TBF, so folks out there can see what we've achieved in a very quick ten months. It's been a truly emotional ride for all of us, but it's one I wouldn't have missed for all the beans in Mexico, refried or otherwise, and I know I speak for the entire group when I say that.
With eighty Successes under our belts to date, this is going to take a while, so I will very likely break it up over the course of a few posts here. I'd like to say it'll be like waiting for the next episode of EastEnders, but I can't because in TBF nobody screams at anyone else. Ever. The only thing we have in common with a soap opera is that there is no end in sight.
So, here we go...
Our first Success was on 12 January 2013, when we started off by dunking a small toe in the water and helped M with £20. It wasn't a massive amount in itself, but to M it was the difference between an empty plate and a full belly. Sometimes that's all it takes to make a difference.
So, having gotten a taste of the warm fuzzy feeling, we decided to do it for someone else on the 18th. Once more, it wasn't a huge amount, but it enabled our Client to put her heating on. £30 was all it took to get her past a financial hiccup.
19 January: We started to learn something about our group's members. We have one who loves to drive around with a HobNob hanging off a fishing rod so he can watch poor people run after it, and another who, just like the Bullingdon Club with their burning £50 notes in front of the homeless, said that he likes nothing more than melting chocolate fingers in front of them. Well, it's all down to what you can afford to waste, I suppose. Oh yes, and we gave £50 to John, who was struggling to feed himself and his autistic son. Writing this reminds me that I really must find out how you attach a biscuit to a fishing line. I have some great ideas for dragging them across motorways and nuclear dumps...
On 20 January, we helped out a young mother, A, who was living on crisps so her daughter could eat properly. At the time we were introduced to them, these two had no heating and were cuddled up in bed under the duvet, trying to keep warm. At that time,where I live, the snow was seven inches deep and still falling. £40 went to these Clients.
Sometimes Clients are like buses and come along in threes. We learned that John (see above) had no gas, so we sent him a further £10 to get him warmed up. And then we learned of a chap who had been left high and dry by the Appeals people, so another £50 went winging away to do some good.
This particular day, though, the Client's arrived as a quad. We sent a further £50, this time as a food delivery, to two women who'd been living on Pot Noodle for weeks.
22 January saw our first encounter with W, who was really in a financial mess. We sorted her out this time with £40 for heating.
23 January: We committed to a £71 per month payment for a great guy. What he was living on was having to go towards paying an electricity debt. We cleared it two months early for him in the end.
27 January: £50 went to one of our own members who finally reached the end of his ability to muddle through.
28 January: We passed £80 to a lady in Basildon.
2 February: We got to seriously kick some banker butt. Not only did we help a mentally ill man keep his gas and electricity going with a £31 top up online, but we also helped him reclaim over £100 in bank charges that Santander had been taking from him illegally. We are more than happy to name and shame banks that do this, especially as we have copies of the documents that prove they did.
6 February: Client cases come up at all hours. This one was an overnight job which saw £70 heading to a lady in Wales who had no heating and was living on the back-ends of packets of pasta. Just pasta. No sauces to make it taste of anything. You have to have been in this position to know how bad it can be. I've personally had to live on pancakes once before. Thankfully long, long ago, but you never forget. This is the kind of resonance that keeps me coming back to do more in TBF.
8 February: Our first 100 pounder. This poor woman had NOTHING. No gas, no electricity, no food. She did after we'd dealt with her. Another night of going off to sleep with a HUGE smile on my face.
10 February: One of two for the day. We helped our first pregnant lady, and made her husband cry into the bargain with a £120 donation.
We also helped out a chap, CK, with £70 for gas, electric and a wee bit of grub.
Will leave it at that for now. More to follow later. This is one of those jobs best done a little at a time...