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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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 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
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 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
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 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 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
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 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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 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 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 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 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.