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Parents on hospital bedside vigil

A young couple, the father previously self-employed has had to give up work as their young son has been diagnosed with cancer.  He is currently in hospital receiving treatment following a serious infection following his chemotherapy and could be there for some time.  Previously the parents were in receipt of DLA for the child, however whenever anyone is in hospital on an extended stay, that payment ceases to be paid until they are discharged.  Their son is receiving meals while he is in hospital, however they have travelling costs and meals for themselves.  They often go without anything as they cannot afford to pay the high prices at the hospital cafe.  They are in the process of applying for benefits, but in the meantime are in need of some financial assistance.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out.

Tags : Childhoodcancer HospitalStays DisabilityLivingAllowance

Man living in a tent in the woods needs help

We became aware of a young man who is currently living in a tent in the woods, he suffers with mental health issues and is at present unable to access any services as everything tends to be online now.  Our agent asked if we could help him.  It seems members of the local community are looking out for him and taking him things now and again but he is really stuck without a phone.  We agreed to purchase a small inexpensive phone that would allow him to use WIFI to access the internet free of charge at local hotspots.  We also arranged to send over £80, which was spent on the phone,  £20 in credit for the phone and the remaining £35 in cash, which was delivered to him, along with a personal gift from our agent of some new socks, a can of deodorant and some wet wipes.  He was really thrilled and quite shocked at the gift.

Tags : Homelessness livinginthewoods wifi phone

Young woman trying to cope on £53 a week

A young woman unable to work because of hip and joint problems, as well as extreme anxiety and depression received Employment Support Allowance of £53 per week.  Her ESA was stopped last week which had a knock on effect on her housing benefit which meant the payments stopped being paid, putting her in arrears.  There is a shortfall in her rent so she has to make up the difference which costs her £12 a fortnight, and to try to address some of the arrears. She is also in arrears for her water bills, but now has a payment plan in place.  She often does not have enough money to top up her phone so she can contact her doctor or her occupational therapist, nor have money to pay for bus fare to attend her appointments.  We agreed to send her £100, and our agents said they would help her to apply for Personal Independence Payments and to have her ESA reassessed.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA PIP RentArrears

Single mum of three under stress trying to cope

A family comprising a single mother and her three children, aged 16, 10 and 1 year respectively.  The children have just come off a child protection plan and their care is now shared between the courts and the mother.  The mother has a history of complex mental and emotional health issues which she takes a variety of medications for.  The family home is is complete disarray though, as they don't have a washing machine so the mother washes their clothes in the bath.  This means that the children are unable to bathe as there is usually washing left to soak.  They are all living in a 2 bedroomed home, so there are issues around over crowding.  The house is filled with clutter as is the garden which she has received a warning about.  The school are concerned about the middle child who often arrives at school, unwashed, in dirty clothes and without having had anything to eat.  The mother lost her own mother quite recently, who it is believed was the person that held the family together and without her mother, she is really struggling to cope.  As it was a very dire situation we agreed to send her £200, which her social worker will help her to manage.

Tags : ChildProtectionOrder Poverty Neglect Clutter

Prison leaver without money

We were asked to help a man who has recently been released from a short spell in prison.  He was in receipt of ESA and PIP but these stopped being paid.  Another agent was supposed to be assisting him in getting these payments put back into place, but it never happened so he contacted the agency who approached us.  This man is very vulnerable as he has had a stroke which has left him with memory problems and behavioural changes.  Our agents are going to help him make the claim, but in the meantime he has no money to purchase any credit to put on to his energy meters, or money for food, so we sent him £75 so he could do this.  We later had a response to say he was very grateful for the assistance.

Tags : Poverty PrisonLeaver Benefits ESA PIP

Man with cancer unable to work

Our attention was brought to a man who is currently undergoing intensive treatment for cancer. Previously he had been self-employed and managing quite well, however the change in income for him has been difficult to manage.  He is currently having daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy and the demands on his body means he often struggles to stay warm, which means putting on his heating which he cannot afford to do.  This is causing him to become stressed which is only making the situation worse.  We agreed to send him £100 to help with his energy costs over the next few weeks.

Tags : Cancer UniversalCredit Debt FuelPoverty

Mother flees domestic violence

Our agents asked us if we would consider helping a young mum of two children, ages 2 and 4.  They have had to leave their family home and are currently living in refuge accommodation.  When they arrived they had the clothes they wear wearing and she had a few items of clothing for the children.  All the benefits she receives goes to pay for the refuge accommodation as well as paying back her Universal Credit advance.  Our agents are concerned that she really needs some changes of clothes, specifically underwear, and some toiletry items.  We agreed to send the family £150 to help with this.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty noclothes

Young woman flees home to refuge

We were contacted today about a young woman who was due to arrive at a refuge.  She was fleeing her family home and had discovered that her benefits were cancellled two weeks ago, but has no idea as to why this has happened.  Our agents said that once she has arrived they will get straight on to discovering why her benefits were stopped and get them back into payment again.  In the meantime they have no money at all, so we sent over £100 to help.

Tags : DWP Refuge YoungMums Poverty

Family in need of help

This time it was a family that needed our assistance.  The parents have just had their eldest child who is 12 move in to live with them.  Previously the child had been living with their grandparents.  The addition of another person into the household has had a knock on effect on their income and the space within the house.  The family are still trying to recover from having an adult family staying with them while they were street homeless, they brought with them issues around drugs and money.  It has now been confirmed that that family member will definitely not be returning, so the famly are now trying to recover.  They are though struggling to manage, so we agreed to send them £150 to help them out.

Tags : Familiesinpoverty estrangedfamilies poverty

Pensioner concerned by serious debt

We were asked to help out a pensioner who is currently quite unwell, she has had a heart attack, bypass surgery and a broken hip, as well as suffering from dementia, diabetes, cancer and vasculitis.  She has a number of debts which it leaves her struggling to cope with her bills and being able to make repayments to bring the debt levels down.  The stress of this is causing her extreme distress.  Our agents are going to assist her to apply for a Debt Relief Order and were in need of £90 to pay for the DRO.  We agreed to send this over so that this can be applied for.

Tags : DWP Pension Debt Poverty DRO

Homeless man has his belongings taken

This case was spotted in a social media group by one of her contacts, who asked us to offer a small boost to help the person out.  They are living street homeless, in a tent, but at the same time trying to put themselves through University.  A rucksack was taken from their tent which contained their laptop, lecture notes, university books and a memory stick.  We made contact with the person and sent over £50 to help them out a little.

Tags : University homeless stolenbelongings

Lady recovering from cancer treatments taken off ESA and PIP

We were asked to help a single lady who is recovering from treatment for cancer.  Throughout her treatment she was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, which has now been stopped by the DWP as they consider her treatment to be complete.  She is still in a great deal of discomfort and pain, is at high risk of infection, as well as suffering with extreme fatique.  All of these make it impossible for her to consider working, and so she is reliant on her mother to cover the cost of her rent and her bills, as obviously her housing benefit also stopped being paid.  She is struggling with trying to keep warm despite the milder weather, and is concerned about whether she will be able to cover the cost of her gas and electric.  We agreed to send her £150 in the meantime until her benefits can be brought back into payment again.

Tags : DWP ESA PIP Cancer Appeals

Single mum unable to afford gas or electric

A single mum who is in receipt of Universal Credit to top up her wages is really struggling to manage financially.  Her UC amount varies from month to month, but usually she has just enough to cover the cost of her rent.  Once she has bought food, and paid her bills she doesn't have enough money to put any credit on to her energy meters.  We agreed to send £100 to help the family out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debt FuelPoverty Poverty

A little extra for the children

Following the article in The Guardian last week about The Biscuit Fund, we received an extra and completely unexpected donation with the express wish that it be used to make sure that families we work with had a little extra at Christmas.  For most families it is an expensive time of the year, but for some they are struggling to stay afloat financially.  They can't entertain the idea of buying any extra food or even presents for the children.  For a child used to their parents not being able to give them any presents at all, just a small gift can mean the world to them, so we were happy to help.  We scoured through our recent cases and found 14 families with children, and to each family we sent an extra £50 to use to make their Christmas Day that little bit more special.  A big thank you to our special donor for making the Christmas of these families that bit more special.

From all of us here at the Biscuit Fund we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.

Tags : Christmas Christmaspresents Christmaspresents

Lady in education loses ESA

We were contacted about a young woman, here in the UK on a refugee status.  She was previously in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, but her payments stopped being paid.  Our contacts attempted to help her apply for Universal Credit but were told as she is in full-time education now, UC would not be an option available to her.  She is now unable to afford her rent, pay her bills or buy food.  Our agents have organised food parcels and small amounts of money, and have approached the college, but all they can help with is a small travel grant.  We agreed between us to send her £75 to allow her to buy some food and pay for some gas and electricity.

Tags : DWP Benefits RefugeeStatus UniversalCredit

Dreadful situation needs our help

We were presented with an awful situation, a young woman in her late teens, very vulnerable had lost her mother at the start of this month when her mother died, leaving her alone in a large housing association property without any income or access to any money.  She is estranged from her family so is completely on her own and needs to arrange things like the funeral for instance, and to find out if she will have the right to stay in her home, given it was rented in her mother's name.  She has been helped to open a bank account, but is without any food or means to buy any.  Our agents, a local welfare rights group, are helping her to apply for benefits and will assist her going forward, along with the local mental health team.  In the interim we agreed to send her £100 to be able to top up the gas and electricity meters and to buy some food.

Tags : teenagers death bereavement bankaccount socialhousing

Home of single man in poor repair

A 39 year old man needed our help.  He suffers with epilepsy following a brain injury which now impacts his memory quite badly.  Our agents are helping him as his benefits have been cut dramatically and they are assisting him to appeal this.  They have discovered that his home is in a poor decorative state, plus he has a concrete floor which means if he falls during a fit he can considerably injure himself.  He is without a kettle and boils water on the stove, but there are health and safety reasons why this is not a good idea for him to do.  They asked on his behalf for some funds to help him pick up some things to help him, which we agreed to do.

Tags : benefitscuts ESA PIP Epilepsy

Homeless man sat in the cold with frost on his face

One of our very own Biscuits came across a man in the week who was sat out in the street with people passing him by.  She commented that he was so cold he had frost visible on his face.  As he has a dog, he is unable to access any of the homeless shelters, plus because he has a history of alcohol and substance abuse, he is trying to stay away from places where he might get drawn back into that lifestyle again.

Our agent bought him a fleecy sweatshirt and a couple of blankets in the sales at one of the main highstreet stores and gave him £10 to buy some food with.  She said he burst into tears as she handed him the sweatshirt, she'd only paid £5 for it, but to him it meant so much more.  She also gave him some food for his dog.  Hopefully she'll be able to help him access some local support to assist him get into accommodation of some kind that will also allow him to take his dog with him.  Until that happens, he will stay on the streets with his dog, as having his dog with him has at times literally kept him alive.

Tags : homelessness outonthestreets nohome nofood outinthecold petsnotwelcome

Looking for a connection

We had an easy case yesterday.  Our agents contacted us about a lady who lives in their area that they are helping.  She is taking care of seven children, and her husband is unable to work due to ill health.  Her oven broke down last week, leaving her unable to prepare meals for the family.  Our agents have managed to source her an oven via Freecycle, but they needed to be able to pay for it to be properly installed.  We agreed to cover that cost of £50.

Tags : Family oven brokenoven benefits

Ever increasing need for help

We received two cases in one day from the same agents.  The first case was a young mum with a one year old daughter.  She has fled a domestic violence situation with her daughter and ended up in a completely different area with very little in the way of personal belongings.  The only way of cooking she has is to warm up ready meals in a microwave, which is not good for her or her daughter.  She is currently at college, training for a career so that she can provide for her and her daughter in the future.  We agreed to send to her £70 so that she could use that money to source a second-hand or reconditioned cooker in the area where she lives.

The second case was again a young mum, who had fled her previous tenancy with a newborn and ended up homeless.  She has been sofa surfing with her young baby with various relatives and has finally, after a lot of hard work, been able to secure a flat for her and her daughter.  She has very little in the way of belonging and has been living out of a suitcase.  She needs a cooker and a washing machine, and the places our agents usually try for grants are not available at the moment, due to lack of funding.  We agreed to treat this case the same and offer £70, and then she could choose which to buy, the reconditioned cooker or washing machine.

Tags : Benefits SingleParent DWP DomesticViolence College

Moving home

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.

Tags : Autism movinghome bedding nomoney

Unexpected Eviction

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.

Tags : Eviction AutisticSpectrumDisorder

Cooking on gas

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.

Tags : cookers singledads

School Uniforms strike again

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.

Tags : schooluniforms

Panic Stations!

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.  

Tags : housing

Foodbanks are like buses!

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.

Tags : foodbanks peoplegoinghungry

Another foodbank helped

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.

Tags : foodbanks

Mother selling her belongings to buy a Christmas lunch for her children

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.

Tags : singlemum Christmaslunch

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