Apr 25, 2018
We had a very difficult case to deal with this week. We were asked to help a lady who was seriously sexually attacked as a very young child. Her home life was not good at all, and when she was 16 she witnessed her father commit suicide which left her extremely traumatised. Years later, after the birth of her son, she was diagnosed with mental health problems, and it was agreed that she has probably suffered with this for almost all of her life.
Two years ago social services became involved when she was terrorised by a group of young men, friends of her neighbour. Their antisocial behaviour caused her to attempt taking her own life as she felt unsupported and had no one to help her. Fortunately she was found and taken to hospital. She is a very vulnerable person, who is easily taken advantage of. Her supposed friends ran up debts in her name, leaving her to foot the bill which she cannot afford to do. Given her mental health issues and how stressed she became in the past over things we were asked to hlep by paying the cost of the debt relief order for her, so that these debts that are of no fault of her own can be sorted out.
NB It might seem that we are helping a lot of people out in this way just recently, but debt is a crushing concern. Someone could be working and paying all their bills without worry, but then something happens, through no fault of their own, a car accident, illness, bereavement, job loss, redundancy, and suddenly it all comes crashing down like a house of cards around them. Being on benefits is not the breeze you might see portrayed in the media, there are people that are living a hand to mouth existence, sometimes regularly missing meals, or going without heating their homes. So having that bit extra to cover a bill becomes unachievable. You miss the first payment, its okay, you'll catch up, but you are already on a slippery slope. When people are faced with the decision of do they spend £10 on food for the week or send that money off to chip away at a bill, then you can see the dilemma and just how crushing debt can become. So to help out this way can in some cases mean quite literally the difference between life and death. So every penny you donate to us, is being used to help people in desperate need, for which we warmly thank you.
Apr 24, 2018
The lady in question, due to ill health had been unable to work for some weeks, months even. She has a daughter who was born with issues with her hips which have required surgery. The mother tried to claim Disability Living Allowance for the daughter but was unsuccessful as the daughter wants to live as normal a life as possible, so the DWP felt that the DLA payments weren't necessary. The woman has cared for her late mother who was diagnosed with cancer, then lost her brother too some weeks later, where he was also diagnosed with cancer. She has been struggling to stay on top of things and simply not making any success. We were asked to help by paying the Debt Relief Order so that they can get her debts under control, which they feel will remove much of the stress she is currently under.
Apr 24, 2018
We are approached about a lady who is living alone in a three bedroomed house. She has an issue with vermin in the property, is unable to climb the stairs, so sleeps downstairs on the sofa, and is unable to get in and out of the bath unassisted. She is currently without any practical in person support to help her with keeping clean, so has hygiene issues. She has been trying for a long time to get moved to a smaller more suitable property, but her landlords are refusing to help her until her debts are cleared for the extra bedrooms (this is due to the bedroom tax for the unoccupied rooms). She has been diagnosed with mental and physical health difficultities and has made many threats of ending her own life due to the levels of stress she is under. She is now being supported by our agents, plus she has a social worker who is putting things into place to turn her life around. Our agents are confident that applying on her behalf for a Debt Relief Order to get her outstanding debts sorted is the best way to go forward, as this would be life changing for her. We agreed to cover the £90 fee to allow this to happen.
Apr 20, 2018
We were asked to help a single man in his 40s who has been a victim of domestic violence, which he feels very embarrassed and very vulnerable about as a result. He left with nothing but the clothes he was wearing, the police and social services were involved, yet his ex partner destroyed all his clothes and belongings leaving him with only what he stood up in. He has secured a small flat which he is renting, but it is unfurnished and his benefits do not stretch to cover being able to purchase what he needs. He is currently in receipt of benefits because he has degenerative disc issues which means he is unable to work. He wants to be able to have his children visit him, but he has nowhere for them to sit, nor is able to prepare any food. We have signposted our agents to places in his area he can source preloved and donated items and sent across to him £80 so that he can use that money to buy some of the bits and pieces he needs. Hopefully he will be able to get hold of some bigger items from places that help the vulnerable with household items, as well as other places like Freecycle.
Apr 12, 2018
Our contact asked us to help a young man whose benefits were all stopped in January this year. Since then he has been without any money and relying on his siblings to provide him with enough food to just about survive. He is now being helped to get his benefits payments back into place, and to get the tenancy of his parents home transfered to his name, It is expected that his payments will begin again in two weeks time, but he has exhausted all the local support schemes, including his right to a voucher at the food banks. We agreed to send him £100 to keep him going until his money comes through.
Apr 9, 2018
This case just goes to show that people from all walks of life are affected when they find themselves in a situation where they are unable to work any longer and become reliant on the benefits system. Our client here is an academic, who found himself in a situation where his previous social housing home, was expensive to heat and had a vermin problem that was proving impossible to resolve. He decided to move home and went to a new area and a new housing association property, which he does get some help paying for via housing benefit. He is currently in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA). He has been 'invited' to apply for Personal Indpendence Payments (PIP), which will replace the DLA, but this is not as easy to do as it might seem, as many applicants having been on DLA for some years frequently find themselves refused PIP and are faced with tribunals to try to get the decision overturned. Often the wait time to get a refusal overturned if it goes beyond the mandatory reconsideration stage, and ends up at tribunal can take almost a year to resolve.
This man is struggling to keep his head above water financially, as his benefits payments aren't stretching far enough. He is currently without a bed, so sleeps on the floor, doesn't have a cooker, so cooks on a camping stove. There is no furniture, nor any carpets in his home. He chooses between heating his home and eating, it is that much of a hand to mouth existence. He visits the food bank when he is able to, but still isn't coping too well, and the lack of decent nutrition is impacting his physical and mental health negatively.
Our agents are assisting him with the transition from DLA to PIP, as if these payments stop then he will be in even more trouble financially. They are helping him to apply for a grant to obtain some carpeting or floor coverings for his house, so he isn't sleeping on a concrete floor. Local to him furniture banks will be able to supply some second hand or used items, and we agreed to send him £120 to help him purchase items of his own choice, as well as some food.
Apr 7, 2018
We were approached and asked to help a mum of two children. She suffers with depression and has recently been refused ESA at an assessment earlier this year. She is now existing on her child tax credits and child benefits payments only which are not stretching far enough, so has been borrowing from friends and relatives with no spare cash to be able to pay that back. Our agents are helping her to request for this decision to be reconsidered, and also that her housing benefit be put back into payment before she falls too deeply into rental arrears. She doesn't feel mentally able enough to claim job seekers allowance, but our agents are going to help her with this, because it will take a long time for the application to have the ESA decision overturned. We agreed to send the family £100 so that they can buy some food and to help with gas and electric.
Apr 3, 2018
This case is a sad one, the lady in question has fled her home following sustained domestic violence. She is now living in a small flat, but as her partner was the wage earner of the household, she has been forced to apply for benefits. There is such a long lead in time before any payments are issued she has had to apply for an advance, which she has been supplied a small amount by the DWP, but this has gone to feed the meters for gas and electricity. She is going to have to wait for some time yet before proper payments can be put in place and has been relying on food vouchers so she can have something to eat. We agreed to send her £100 to keep her going until her payments are made.
Apr 3, 2018
In this case we have a mother of four adult children. After deductions from her benefits because she has four adults living with her, she is left with not enough to live off and cover their bills. One adult child works and helps her out, two others are in receipt of benefits themselves and give her a small amount each week. The youngest has mental health issues and is struggling to claim benefits for themself, so that they could offer some contribution to the household budget. The mother has been getting increasingly into debt, and has been advised to submit an application for a debt relief order, which she needed help in applying for. We agreed to pay the £90 fee.
Apr 3, 2018
The request for help came on behalf of a young man that after deductions are taken from his benefits has £130 per month to live off, to buy food, pay for heat and electric and cover all his bills. This is not enough, and he is in arrears with his rent because of a shortfall in housing benefit because of the bedroom tax. He is going without heat and food to try to stay above water financially. His advisor has instructed him to apply for a Debt Relief Order, but this costs £90 and he can't afford to live, let alone raise that much money. So his advisers approached us and asked if we would be prepared to make the payment for him. They said that this would be life changing for him, so we agreed we would be happy to help.
Mar 30, 2018
We were asked today to help a man who is in a huge amount of debt following being wrongly found fit for work last year. He has Crohns disease, and is seriously underweight as a result. His fridge has broken which is essential to him to store fresh food, and without it he will have to rely on convenience food which he can't afford to buy anyhow. He is unable to afford to purchase a replacement fridge. We agreed to send him £150 to pay for a new fridge and give him a small buffer to buy some food with.
Mar 28, 2018
The man we helped is a young man who following being kicked out of the house by a family member had found himself homeless and on the streets. He has been with a homeless shelter for a few months, but has now been offered a permanent place to live. He has a learning disability, and struggles to communicate. His parents were killed in an accident when he was a young child, so he has no one else to look out for him. He was recently attacked and his attacker is now serving a prison sentence for this, so he is very vulnerable. He needs some things for his flat, so we agreed to send him £70 so that he could buy some items second hand from his local selling sites and pages.
Mar 27, 2018
The request for help came for a single mum with a young son and a toddler. They live in a two bedroomed house, so the children share a room. She has been struggling to get some things for the house, and are without a stair carpet and furniture for the children's room. She recently fell down the stairs herself and is now concerned that the children might also fall down the stairs. Existing on benefits means she is unable to save to buy anything she needs, not even secondhand. We agreed to send across £150 so she could purchase what she needs herself.
Mar 21, 2018
Our agents contacted us to ask for our help with a newly single mum of three children, who is battling the benefits system to claim benefits in her own right. Having recently become a single parent she has been told that there has been an overpayment of child tax credits, so it is uncertain if she will be able to be paid any child tax credits. She will be able to claim some other benefits but those won't be in payment until next week. We agreed to send her £75 so that she can afford to get some food and top up her gas and electric meters, so that they have energy to heat the house, and be able to cook food.
Mar 21, 2018
Our help was needed this week for a young man that following the death of his parents some years ago, he has fallen into debt with his rent because of the bedroom tax, he also has a debt company chasing him which is causing great concern. He is trying to exist on £73.10 per week and this isn't even touching his bills. He has become quite reclusive since his parents died and has cut off contact with almost everyone. Unfortunately his rented accommodation has fallen into disrepair and his landlords are housing him elsewhere while his property is repaired. Our agents are helping him by applying for some grants to try to help with his rent going forward and asked us if we could cover the cost of a debt relief order, so that this man could have this debt sorted out. We agreed to do this.
Mar 14, 2018
Our agents contacted us today about a single mum of two children, who has severe mental health problems. She has been living almost on fresh air and has run out of the tiny amount of money she has to live on, leaving her without gas, electric, food and nappies. We agreed to help her out by sending over £150 to tide her over until her next payment is due. Our agents feel at such a stressful time, some help from us might be the boost she so desperately needs.
Mar 8, 2018
We were approached about a young woman, who found herself in a situation where she was married at 17 and forced into a belief system that wasn't her own. When she fell pregnant with her daughter, he husband walked out and left them both, leaving them in debt. Her daughter is now two years old and doesn't have a bed to sleep in as the bed in their property was damaged by mould through no fault of their own. She is currently searching for employment but finding it difficult to manage. We were asked to help contribute towards the cost of a bed and mattress for her. We agreed to send over £150.
Mar 1, 2018
We had an urgent request today from our agents. They had a lady, a single mother of 4 young children, that have been sent home from school because of the snow conditions. Her income support payment came through today, but her bank account was hit with direct debit payments coming out leaving her without any money and only £1.32 left on her meters. She was in a bit of a state worried about keeping the children warm with no money to heat the house. We agreed to send over £100 to use to put some money on the meters and to buy food for the five of them.
Feb 28, 2018
We were asked to help a man who has been living on the streets for some time, or in very temporary situations. He has now been offered a room in a shared hous. He is on an extremely low income and has used most of that money to pay for the deposit for the room. He has nothing but what he stands up in and needs some bedding, crockery, etc. We agreed to send over £70 so that he could purchase what he needs.
Feb 24, 2018
We were asked to help a man currently living in a homeless shelter, he has been offered a place to live but needs help with the first weeks rent so that he is able to sign the tenancy, he will be able to handle this going forward though. We agreed to pay this for him, and sent across £82.62 directly to the housing association, then a further £30 to the gentlemen to help him out get settled in.
Feb 13, 2018
Our help was requested for a lady who was a nurse, working for the NHS, until she became unable to work through disability. Her son has now left full time education, so she no longer receives any financial support for him, and to complicate matters she has lost her PIP entitlement, which caused rent arrears as she lost her PIP premiums. A mix up with her council tax, resulted her being persued for eviction, this is now resolved. She is though in serious need of help with her gas, electric and for some food. We agreed to send her £100 to help her out.
Jan 31, 2018
The Police, has had to remove a lady and her daughter from their home, following a domestic violence situation, perpertrated by one of her twin teenaged sons. They were moved into a B&B and then into a refuge for their safety. Unfortunately just before this happened the mother had settled some overdue bills at the house, paid back a loan and did a large shop for food. Her Universal Credit payment had covered that, but she now suddenly had no money to cover the transport costs to get the child to college, and has to walk 3 miles from the refuge to the home to take food to the second twin. We agreed to send her £50 to help cover the fares for her and her son.
Jan 31, 2018
We were contacted about a lady who has recently returned to the UK, from Gibraltar, where she has been living, fleeing a domestic violence situation. She is currently staying with family and has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately she is unable to claim any benefits for three months, as she was living outside the UK. Our agents are hoping to try to fast track her claim, but at the moment she has no money and is unable to afford to attend hospital for her treatment appointments. We agreed to send her £100 to help her out.
Jan 23, 2018
Our contact asked us to help a lady who is living in a rented property where the boiler has not been functioning properly. Her landlord has been ignoring her pleas for help with this, and it has got to the point that the environmental health officer has stepped in and given the landlord 7 days to call out an engineer and rectify the issue. In the meantime she has had to run freestanding electric heaters to stay warm. The knock on of this is that over the past three days she has put £40 on the electricity meters, which is money she has had to borrow from a relative. We agreed to send the lady £60 so that she can repay the £40 and have £20 spare to put on her meter.
Jan 15, 2018
Our clients asked if we would consider funding a DRO (debt relief order) application fee for a single mother, with a 21 year old son. He is at College, but not in receipt of any income whatsoever. She is only in receipt of £73.10 per week Job Seekers Allowance. She is drowning in debt, which come to almost £15,000, not all of it credit card debt, it is rent arrears due to the government introduction of the bedroom tax, plus utilities arrears, as her £73.10 a week do not come even close to covering her day to day living costs, let alone catch up with any debts. The DRO will allow her to have a fresh slate and try to plan for the future, without the constant worry of debt collectors.
Jan 8, 2018
It was an urgent request we received to help a man who has been long term homeless. He has been offered a home to move into but has absolutely no furniture whatsoever. Our agents have applied to the emergency fund with his local council to help purchase some items, but they wanted to know if we could help with some money to get him started. He is in receipt of ESA and PIP but has no spare money to purchase anything. We agreed to send him £100 and hopefully with that and the support of our agents he will be able to pick up some low cost items second hand on local selling sites.
Jan 5, 2018
Our client is a young man, just shy of his 18th birthday who is currently living in a halfway house. He is estranged from his mother who is an Heroin addict, and he is currently unable to claim any benefits, and does not have have food. We recommended that the young man be supported to make a claim for benefits under exceptional circumstances which he is able to do, as he is under 18 and living away from home through no fault of his own. We agreed to send him £50 to enable him to purchase some food as any claims will have a period of waiting where no payments are made, so he would be without, claiming or otherwise. Once he is 18 he will be able to claim the benefits he needs to help him, withot it being under exceptional circumstances..
Jan 4, 2018
We were asked to help a young man who has found himself unemployed, and as he has spare bedrooms is liable for bedroom tax, and is in rent and council tax arrears which along with other debts is being pursued by the courts and bailiffs. This is causing him extreme stress and anxiety, and he has been advised to allievate this by applying for a debt relief order. However to do this he needs to pay the £90 fee, which he is unable to do. We were asked if we could cover the cost of this for him which we agreed to do.
Dec 29, 2017
We were contacted by an outreach worker, who is supporting a man who has been homeless for the past four months. He is now in supported housing and it has been noticed that he does not have much in the way of clothing, and most of it is torn. He is 6'4" tall, and so therefore finds it difficult to get clothing, even second hand, and only has what he used to wear when he worked on construction sites. He is now in receipt of benefits and unable to afford anything spare to afford any new clothes, so our agents approached us to help him with a clothing grant. We agreed to send him £75 to buy some new clothes.
Dec 20, 2017
We were asked to help a family with a small boost to cover the extra needed, to pay for the specialist milk needed. The baby suffers with Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and as the father is currently sanctioned on his benefits, it is proving impossible for him to obtain the milk. They do get some coupons, but there still needs to be a bit extra paid. We agreed to send them £30 to help out.
Dec 20, 2017
Our client was brought to our attention by our agents. He is a single father, following the death last year of his wife, when she was killed in a road traffic accident, having walked out in front of a lorry. He has two sons, both of whom are disabled, and as young adults, the child benefit and child tax credits have now stopped being paid. Both boys are unable to work, due to their disabilities, so he has put in an application for Employment Support Allowance, but that is goint to take some time to be processed. Everyone in the house is very down, and the boys are understandably missing their mum, but they are equally concerned about their father, who is depressed, overwhelmed and crying. The house was freezing cold when our agents visited them, and this was due to them being unable to put any money on the cards to pay for any gas or electricity. The prospects for their Christmas do not look good.
We agreed between us that we would send over £250 as there are three adults that need help. Hopefully they'll be able to put the heating on, buy some food and be able to cook some meals. An offer of hope at a desperate time, which without you all donating to us regularly we would not be able to do, so thank you.
Dec 15, 2017
We were contacted to see if we could help a young man, who is currently estranged from his family. He has Aspergers and mental health issues, and is struggling to manage his money. He had unfortunately gone overdrawn on his bank account and when his benefits payment went into his account, it was all soaked up to cover the overdraft. This has left him with nothing for food or energy. Our agents were able to get him some food via the foodbank, but with no energy he is unable to cook any of it. We agreed to send across £5 to clear his overdraft, £20 for his gas and electric and £30 to purchase some food. Our agents said they'd try to assist him with managing his money going forward.
Dec 12, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a lady in her 50s with a heart condition, who had been registered as a carer for her sister, who sadly has now passed. While struggling to grieve, she applied for ESA but had problems maintaining contact with her doctor and is now no longer claiming. Her family have stepped in and are feeding her, but she has debt on her gas account, which means with very limited income she is struggling to meet the demands of the debt. This also means she cannot afford to put her heating on, which she needs to be able to do right now. Our agents are going to help her with her benefits, and have applied for a grant on her behalf to clear the debt, but it is not likely that they will hear back either way until the worst of this bad weather is over.
The lady was in debt with her bank account, so transferring money to her would have been fruitless, as the banks would have just sucked it up in fees or overdraft. Our agents have challenged the bank charges, which have been refunded, which has cleared the overdraft. We agreed to transfer enough money, £110 to clear the debt with the gas company, so that she can put her heating back on again.
Nov 13, 2017
We were approached for help with a single parent of a 12 year old. The mother is a surivivor of domestic abuse. She has had to flee 15 different properties in the past six years. Her ex-partner finds her and the abuse starts again, the last time he injured her so badly she has been left with spinal injuries and mental health issues, due to the trauma of the attack. This has left her unable to work and she has had to apply for benefits. As she has to flee without any notice, there is no time to arrange removals of her furniture and belongings, so she keeps haviing to start over again. She is in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and is in over £10,000 of debt and is in need of the £90 required to enable a Debt Relief Order to be put in place. We agreed to raise a cheque for that amount and send it to our agents so that they can begin the process on her behalf.
Nov 13, 2017
We have worked with these agents before, and this time they brought to us a case where a young woman, 18 years old, who has just left the care system, has found herself without any money to survive on at all, not for food, anything. She put in an application for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, but has been told that the Department for Work and Pensions have lost her forms, and therefore she has to wait until they can be found and dealt with. She is a vulnerable person who has been left in a dreadful mess through no fault of her own. We agreed that we could send across £100, and our agents will help her manage the money, so she has enough to last her. We also advised our agents to apply to her local council for a welfare payment, which they are going to do. Unfortunately though, applications like these take a long time to be processed, the money agreed to, and released. This was an emergency situation and she needed help there and then, she could not wait. We were glad to be able to help her out.
Nov 10, 2017
A homeless support centre contacted us to ask for help for a young woman they are helping. She has finally been offered accommodation, having been homeless. Although she is signing for the keys, she has no belongings, and certainly not any furniture. The charity had put a call out for used items that could be gifted to help her, such as a fridge, etc. We agreed between us we would pay £75 to the charity, for them to use on her behalf to pay for some second hand items she still needs but isn't gifted.
Nov 9, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a young man in his twenties. He has been having difficulties with claiming Universal Credit which has left him £1,000 in arrears. He is due in court later this month to deal with this. To try to save up so he can clear some of the arrears, he has been managing without using any of his gas throughout the summer months. This though has left him with a service charge debt, resulting in his gas being capped. As it is now getting quite cold he is struggling without any heating, but they won't remove the cap without him clearing the debt of £65, which we agreed to pay on his behalf.
Nov 9, 2017
Our client on this occasion is a man in his 60s. He had a stroke not so long back which has left him with some brain damage. This means he has to lie on the couch for hours at a time, as whenever he tries to get up he is left feeling dizzy and nauseous. He has separated from his partner, following her abuse of alcohol, and Social Services have placed their young daughter in his custody, away from the mother. The gentleman has someone who comes in every day and prepares and cooks a main meal for him, but not for the daughter. This service is currently supplied to him free of charge, but he is very concerned they will soon begin to charge him.
He receives only ESA, and all the money for that goes on purchasing food for him and his daughter. His ex partner is still claiming the child benefit and child tax credits, and he is trying, with the support of our the courts, to get that switched over to him instead. He struggles to pay any of his bills, and to add insult to injury his local authority are charging him bedroom tax, as he is in a two bedroom property, and they won't stop the demand until they are satisfied the child benefit is paid to him. He is in arrears over this to the sum of £150, receiving letters from his landlord, which is increasing his anxiety, leaving him very weepy and distraught. He is in the process of applying for PIP, but has to wait for a home assessment as he is too unwell to attend a centre.
We agreed to cover the £150 arrears, plus an extra £50 so that they could do some shopping. It is likely once the council are satisfied that his daughter does live with him, that they will drop the demand for the councl tax and refund to him any monies he has already paid.
Nov 4, 2017
We were asked to help a disabled lady, in receipt of Employment Support and Disability Living Allowances. She is in so much debt and will be highly unlikely in the future, given her situation, to be able to repay these. So our Agent are hoping to help her apply for a Debt Relief Order, so get the debt written off. What is holding her back though is that she is unable to save the £90 fee to be able to apply for a DRO. They asked us if we would consider sending a cheque on her behalf so that she could move forward with this in her life, and remove this huge burden for her. We were happy to do this, and a cheque was sent out. Hopefully, she will soon be able to have some relief from all this stress in her life.
Nov 1, 2017
We were asked to help a man that our agents had been told about by a service that operates out of the same centre as them. This gentleman has serious mental health issues, his benefit has stopped being paid and he is completely without food or any way of heating where he lives. This also means no hot water, and no way of cooking any food should he be given any from a food bank. It transpires that the DWP state they sent him a letter inviting him to attend an assessment, however as frequently seems to be happening, lots of people aren't receiving these letters. This man needs help to contact the DWP and get his payments reinstated, as he is unable to do this himself. We agreed to send him £70 to allow him to top up his energy meters and buy some food.
Oct 27, 2017
A couple, both with learning difficulties and health conditions, were offered a bank overdraft, but they didn't understand quite what an overdraft was, and spent money, believing it was theirs, only to find it wasn't and they were now in a lot of debt. They have been working with our agents to find a way out of debt, and remain in touch to stay out of debt. Our agents told us that the couple's daughter, who also has learning difficulties, desperately needs a single bed. The couple are not in the position to be able to purchase one for her, and are afraid of getting into debt again, plus they are struggling now their child tax credit and child benefits payments have stopped. We agreed we would send across £100 as a contribution towards a bed for her.
Oct 27, 2017
Our case is a young lady in need. Due to problems with bureauracy she has been left without any money or food. Our agents tried to secure her a food voucher by there was still red tape to navigate, which meant obtaining a food voucher was not possilbe. Our agents were extremely concerned for their client's welfare and asked if we could help out in the short term. We agreed to send across £50 so that she could purchase some food at least.
Oct 26, 2017
One of our Biscuits (a fond term we use for each of our Biscuit Fund members) noticed in her local paper that a food bank was struggling to deal with the increasing demands on their services, with more and more people coming to them for help. They are a small food bank that operates within their local area without any bigger support from elsewhere. We agreed between us that we would set aside £100 to purchase some non-perishable food items. Our Biscuit organised for some shopping to be done, tinned tomatoes, potatoes, rice pudding, jars of spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, jams, tea, coffee, as well as toiletries, such as shampoo, toilet roll, deodorant, shaving foam, shower gel, nappies and baby wipes. The items were delivered to the food bank in question. Needless to say the shopping was gratefully received.
Oct 25, 2017
This case is a complicated one. The lady that needed our help was born and lived abroad for some years. She has suffered all her life with mental health issues and psychosis (her sister suffers the same and has been institutionalised all her life, which causes our client to feel anxious about revealing how bad her suffering is in case she ends up being institutionalised too.) When she was 40 her job ended, leaving her without income and a worsening mental health situation, so she moved to live with her son in Spain. She was there for 8 years, doing the occasional part time cleaning work. She met her partner there and moved with him to the UK, where she has lived ever since. Sadly her partner died, and because they were not married, she is having issues with claiming any benefits in her own right. She is still living in the family home, but there is a battle to get housing benefit awarded as the local authority keep saying no. Her son is trying to keep her going, by sending her small amounts of money when he can, but he has a family of his own to support. Our agents are helping her to fight this situation and they are also helping her register with agencies in the area, in the hopes she can secure some part time work, to help her situation. We agreed to send her £70 to allow her to buy some food and put some credit on to the energy meters.
Oct 25, 2017
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.
Oct 23, 2017
We didn't have a great deal of information about this next case, other than that which our agent gave us. She is a lady living alone, dealing with severe mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, and multiple personality disorders. She is in debt, and the debt is causing her anxiety to escalate, but she is caught in a situation where she is unable to save enough to have the £90 available to pay for a debt relief order. Our agents asked if we would consider paying this on her behalf, which we agreed to. They assured us that they will help her with applying for this and will support her going forward.
Sep 29, 2017
Our client with this case is a young mum, who is expecting her fourth child. She and the children had come to our agents, homeless and in need of help. She has with their support been offered a place for her and the children to live, but she needed a weeks rent in advance to be able to go ahead with the hosuing association accommodation. Our agents are supporting her with her benefits claim, and as part of that they asked us to help her out with one weeks rent which came to the sum of £166.01, which we arranged payment of. This was an urgent case as if she didn't move fast with this, then she would loose the opportunity for her and her children to have a more secure life.
Sep 27, 2017
We were approached on behalf of a lady whose son died while he was away on holiday. She was his carer and claimed carers allowance, as well as income support. After her son died, her claim to carers allowance stopped, and so of course did her income support top up. She has been assisted to make a claim for Employment Support Allowance in her own right, as she herself is now not well enough to work. She will not receive any payment for this until early October, so a request was made for some funds to allow her to purchase some food and put some energy on to her meters. We agreed to send across £50 to tide her over until her ESA payments kick in.
Aug 18, 2017
This is the hardest group for agencies to source funding for, they are so far down the chain of needing help, with almost everyone coming before them. He had recently been housed, after a long time waiting, and temporaily houses in a hostel. We were asked to help them with purchasing some white goods, and they had a list of things they needed, as where he'd been moved to there was nothing there at all. We all agreed that we would send across £100 so that this young man with the help of his support worker, could try to source second hand items in the area that he lives so that he could get more for his money, plus it keeps things that are already in circulation out of landfill, so everyone wins.
Aug 16, 2017
Our person in need of help is a young single mum, with a one year old son. She has recently been moved out of emergency accommodation and into a temporary home. She has been dealing with the benefits system, claiming Universal Credit. There have been repeated problems with her claim, when some of the money has been missing, or her payments stopped due to a misunderstanding over her rent. She has had to resubmit her claim and will yet again have to wait to be paid, having to wait another 4-5 weeks. Being in temporary accommodation she is under enormous pressure to make sure that her bills are met, in order for her to move successfully on in the future. We agreed to send over £150 to keep her going over the next few weeks until her payments restart. In the meantime, our agents that are helping her, and who approached us, are helping her with a nil income form for her rent and council tax.
Aug 16, 2017
Our client is a lady who has been street homeless. Like so many people in this situation, they have nothing to put into their home, and most are not furnished or have white goods in them. The local councils are not always able to help. Initially we had offered to send across enough money to purchase a tiny table top oven, which includes a hot plate, but they are not allowed to have hot plates in their accommodation. In the end we agreed the sum of £100 so that she could hopefully purchase items second hand to help them set themselves up.
Aug 15, 2017
We were approached about a single mum who has divorced her abusive husband. She has been left with debts that relate back to the marriage, some of the debts not even hers. Her ex husband has deliberately arranged things with his work so that he looks on paper as if he is not earning enough to pay child maintenance. She was receiving tax credits, but then a malicious report was made to tax credits about her, and so they stopped her tax credits payments. This was unexpected and she needed to have money for food, so borrowed on one of these payday loans, which she is now struggling to repay, especially as tax credits haven't as yet reinstated her payments.
We agreed to send across £150 to allow her to be able to buy food for herself and her children, and this money will hopefully tide her over until her payments restart. We advised that she should investigate looking into a debt relief order, so that she could be free of the debt.
Aug 2, 2017
We were contacted about a man who had been street homeless, he'd not long since been released from hospital and then had no clothes at all to wear on his discharge from hospital. He has been offered a caravan to live in, which will get him off the streets, which is wonderful. However, he does not have enough money to get a gas cannister to provide heat and energy to the van, so that he can cook. We agreed to send across £36 which would be enough to provide a filled container of gas, the deposit being overlooked by the company supplying it as they know our contact well.
Jul 26, 2017
We were approached for help for a young mum with a 5 year old daughter. The woman's husband had gone overseas briefly with friends as part of a celebration, but had suffered a heart attack and died. The woman has no access to money as she works part time and the work is casual, so being off work means she is not paid anything. She is of course trying to emotionally support herself and her daughter, and keep themselves together at such a distressful time. She has the added worry of arranging for her husband's body to be brought back to the UK. He did not have life insurance, but did have travel insurance, so hopefully transportation will be covered as part of that.
Our agents are going to help her access a funeral grant, and apply for benefits, but she is of course in a highly distressed state at the moment. They asked for financial assistance to help her until the benefits can be sorted out, so we agreed to send across £200 to assist them both.
May 18, 2017
The female we were approached for help has been street homeless for quite some time. She has issues around alcohol and has been struggling to stay dry. She'd been living in temporary accommodation, but there are rules that your arrears are not allowed to exceed a set limit, so this meant she was at threat of being put back out on to the streets and would lose her support. Our agents had stepped in and found that lack of support had caused this lady to get into the arrears that she had. Closer support has been arranged and it was agreed she would pay her charges weekly as she should have been doing. Hopefully removing this pressure from her will help her to stay dry as the financial pressures and feeling out of control was driving her back to drink again, creating a spiral of self destruction. We as a fund agreed we would send across enough money to clear almost half of the arrears and she would be supported to repay what was left with some budgeting assistance. Hopefully with better support in place she will be able to get her life back on track.
May 12, 2017
We were urgently approached about a lady who was under threat of losing her home. She was employed in a very low income job, but following her brother's suicide she had been unable to work. Her doctor has signed her off work for the time being, and she had put a claim in for sickness benefit, but was waiting for that to be actioned. In the meantime her landlord was pushing to repossess her home. We agreed to send across £250 directly to the landlord which was an agreed amount that would prevent things being taken further. Hopefully her claim for housing benefit will be in place soon and with the arrears caught up it will allow her a chance to try to recover from what has happened.
Apr 28, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a lady in her 50s, with various physical health conditions, including alopecia, depression, anxiety, diabetes and arthritis, and self harms as well. She had lost her ESA claim. She'd been instructed by the DWP to attend an assessment, but her agoraphobia had prevented her being able to leave her home and attend the assessment. The DWP registered her as a "no show" and immediately stopped her award without referring back to her. Our agents are helping her with this, but being agoraphobic means she is unable to sign on for Job Seekers either, and her nerves have meant she has picked her skin raw, which has become infected, so they are trying to appeal the ESA decision on her behalf.
They wanted to know if we could help her, but spread any help we offered over a period of time, to allow her enough to buy food and put some money on her energy meters. We have agreed £150 of help, sent across at £30 a week for five weeks only. This is not something we normally do, but this was a case where the agency have specifically asked for this type of support.
Apr 9, 2017
We were approached about a young couple, she had lived her life in care, he had been brought up by his grandparents, they'd discovered she was pregnant and expecting their baby in the summer. He is working but on a zero hour contract, which is quite literally that sometimes. They are struggling to get anywhere with benefits and it was agreed they would be steered in the direction of working tax credits, although that is a minefield where zero hours contracts are concerned. She is not far enough along with the pregnancy yet to claim maternity benefits, but hopefully will be in a few weeks time.
A friend to the couple has been asking for donated baby clothes from whoever she thinks might have some to offer, and she has been able to source some nappies and also a crib, which she is buying for them second hand. They are literally choosing between paying their bills and eating, relying on foodbanks when they can. We agreed to send across £250 which they are going to use to do a big food shop and buy a pram for the baby when it arrives. Also as this is their first child they will be able to apply for a maternity grant to help with some purchases, and child tax credits and child benefit once the baby is born.
Mar 28, 2017
We had a man referred to us that had been provided with his own accommodation. His council had very generously helped him with certain items of furniture, but he had no way to keep his clothes and bedding clean, and with serious eyesight issues, taking them to a laundrette was not an option. A very reasonably priced washing machine was found for him, purchased on his behalf and will be delivered to him this Friday. He is extremely grateful for the help.
Mar 10, 2017
A homeless charity were supporting a young girl who had no spare clothing, nor spare shoes. They desperately needed size 6 clothes and size 4 shoes. We got in touch with them to see if we could help, who responded by saying they'd had some clothes and shoes donated to give to her. They had secured accommodation for her, donated plenty of food and assisted with applying for benefits. They asked if we could possibly send a small amount of money instead to tider her over until her first benefit payment could be made. So we sent £50 today for them to pass on to her.
Feb 21, 2017
This lady we helped had been taken advantage of by her violent and controlling ex husband when he encouraged her to claim for some benefits she was not entitled to. The DWP caught up with her and she was interviewed under caution where she admitted what had happened but that she had no idea she was not entitled. She trusted her husband to have made the correct claim. He promptly disappeared as soon as the money dried up. She has spent the past 8 years repaying this money each week from her benefits. Our agents have arranged with the DWP to lower the weekly repayments as she was only being left with £18.50 per week once the DWP repayments are made and she has covered her bills. This lady suffers with Chron's disease which means that she needs to follow a special diet which she struggles to afford. She also needs to wash her bedding and clothes frequently, as when she becomes stressed she soils these. Her washing machine, that she relied on, had broken beyond repair and she was unable to afford to use the launderette. Our agents had tried many places to secure a grant to purchase a new machine. We agreed to send her £250 so that a new machine could be purchased, delivered and installed for her.
Feb 5, 2017
We were approached via an agency about a man in his 30s who had been self employed but had had to give up work last year when his work began to dry up. He somehow managed to exist by taking out loans to provide some money to live off, but they were now writing to him constantly, seeking repayments which he was unable to meet. He was already suffering with anxiety and depression, and the constant worry of debt was only serving to escalate that. He had been advised to arrange a debt relief order which the agency were helping him with but he was unable to push that forward without the £90 it costs to put a debt relief order in place, as the Universal Credit payments he receives do not allow enough money to do that. We agreed we would send a cheque to cover this amount so that this man could then begin to focus on getting his life back on track and be well enough again to be able to return to work.
Jan 20, 2017
We were made aware of a man who volunteers in his local area with an organisation that helps the less fortunate. He'd discovered his fridge had blown and all his food had gone off. It was a second hand fridge anyhow that had been given to him by a friend, and had lasted well. He'd been offered a replacement fridge, which the organisation he volunteers for was going to arrange to get PAT tested for him, but he had no money to buy any food until his benefits payments were due to be paid next Tuesday. We agreed to send across a sum of £30 so that he could replace the food he'd lost and refill his fridge.
Dec 9, 2016
Our agent, who had personal knowledge of this lady, spotted a mention that she'd had to go to a foodbank for help to feed her and her family. On enquiry we found that although her husband works, his income is just over the limit that means they can not claim any additional financial help. She'd had to give up her part time job as her arthritis was preventing her from working, and her adult son had recently lost his job due to his mental health condition. The lady was signposted to apply for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments for her son, as his mental health prevents him from working. We agreed to send across £100 as a boost to help them. She was extremely moved by the help and said that she was so happy, crying tears of joy, as she would be able to top up her meters and have the heating on.
Nov 21, 2016
A young mum with a six year old daughter has been left without any money for gas, electric or food because her Job Seekers Allowance has been sanctioned for 3 years! She still has a way to go yet on this sanction and the agents we are dealing with on this case are looking into helping her to get the sanction overturned. She has no family around her and has borrowed as much as she has been able to to survive from her friends and neighbours which has now made day to day living difficult as she is unable to pay them back. She has sold most of hers and her daughter's belonging to try to make ends meet.
When our agents met with this lady she was inconsolable. Her concern is with her daughter, who has only one pair of shoes to her name, a coat that is way too small, no fresh food to feed her. Although she has been able to get some food via a voucher for her local foodbank, much of the food she is given is not suitable for a young and growing child.
A decision by her local authority as to whether they are able to help her has to go to a decision maker, which is fine but it all takes time and while this decision is being reached, people are literally starving and freezing in the cold. We agreed because of how urgent this case was to send across £200, this was to provide money for gas and electric, and much needed food .
Two of our members were particularly affected by this story and one sent vouchers for £30 to buy a Christmas present for the little girl, and another member sent vouchers for £100 to buy some clothing for her.
Nov 16, 2016
We were contacted with an urgent case. A single mum with a child had been overpaid on tax credits and HMRC were collecting the overpayment from her child tax credits, which left her with no more than £20 per week for her and her daughter to live off. She had secured herself a new job, but found out that Tax Credits won't award working tax credit until she has supplied wage slips, but her new employer won't be doing that until some time in December. It was agreed that we send her £150 to be able to top up her gas and electric meters, buy some food and have some money for bus fares to get back and forth to work. Hopefully that money and the voucher for food sent to her from another organisation will keep her ticking over until her first salary is paid.
Nov 5, 2016
We recently had some feedback from a client following a recent grant that was sent across to help her and her young family. We do get lots of feedback but mostly it is a 'thank you so much' or 'this has made so much difference', maybe a 'this has made me cry that people want to help', or only yesterday someone said 'no one has helped me this way before'. Many people are embarrassed that they have needed the help and as you know no one is allowed to directly approach us for help, which allows us to be fairly certain that whom we help are in genuine need.
Every so often though you get one person who writes back just how they feel and this came through to us yesterday and we would like to share her words with you.
'just an update on the grant made recently to the woman near XXXX.
I just wanted to let you and the people who donated the money know that the last couple of weeks has been great for my family after receiving the donation. My children have eaten proper, nutritious meals for the first time in weeks as I have been able to do a proper shop. My son has started an new school this week and the money has enabled me to buy the uniform that he needed.
I have been able to make all of my medical appointments as we have also been able to put fuel in the car.
I can not express our gratitude enough. Your kindness and selflessness has really made a difference in our lives.
Other things are being sorted out too.'
From all of us here at The Biscuit Fund, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you. Your donations help us so much to help those in such desperate situations. So thank you once again for your help, and please share this post to get the word out there if you can. :-)
Nov 4, 2016
We came across a young mum, with two small children, one 18 months old and one 17 weeks old. For some completely unknown reason, the Tax Credits Office were convinced these two very young children had moved out of the house and so therefore she was no longer entitled to her tax credits claim. She found out on the Friday morning as she was preparing for her weekly food to be delivered as usual from her local store. This meant no food and no money to go on the gas and electricity meters.
After some practical support in terms of getting the Tax Credits office to understand that they had got it wrong and potentially left two very young children in a very vulnerable situation they agreed to send across a sum of money until things could be properly resolved. We agreed, that we would still send across the money they had planned to send before Tax Credits pulled their finger out and got things partially sorted. So £100 was sent across which she was incredibly grateful for.
Sep 3, 2016
We were made aware of a young woman, separated from her partner with the children spread between them at different addresses. She'd told tax credits she had had to stop working due to ill health, and was also struggling to get housing benefit in place, as well as her Employment Support Allowance payments, as they were waiting on her P45.
The changeover from being employed to relying on benefits can result in days or weeks of waiting for payments to begin, but how is a person supposed to manage to survive in the meantime? On top of dealing with a possible eviction, the child living with her was due to start back at school and needed some new uniform items, on top of needing money for food and utilities. Fortunately we were able to help and an amount of £200 was agreed between the Biscuit Fund members and sent off to her. She was extremely grateful for the help and to know that her son would be able to go into school dressed in the correct uniform. She would eek out the rest and see if possible to use some of it towards the arrears on her rent.
Aug 10, 2016
A man in his 40s had been encouraged by his local job centre and social worker to move from claiming Job Seekers allowance, to claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The problem though was that this meant he fell through the gaps of the benefits payments and his money suddenly without warning stopped. Living alone, with mental health issues, and unable to adequately access help, he turned to his mother for help. Seeing her distress call, we stepped in, gave some advice as to how to proceed and arranged for a food shop to be delivered to his home so at least he had some food in the house. Hopefully, his ESA payments will begin soon and he will be receiving some money again.
Jul 28, 2016
We were contacted about a mother in receipt of employment support allowance, who with the support of an agency had been provided with a paper bond for a place to live, but the bond was only good for six months. Now that the six months were up, her landlord was pushing for the deposit to be paid, otherwise he stated he would have no choice but to begin eviction proceedings. We confirmed via the agency that if The Biscuit Fund offered to pay £250 towards the deposit, that the landlord would be prepared to accept the remainder of the payments over a longer period of time to allow the mother to be able to pay this.
May 2, 2016
We were made aware of a young mum, 34 weeks pregnant and still working part time to bring some money into the household. Her partner stays at home to look after their disabled son. They were behind with their bills despite her doing all she could. She was aware that their second child was due very soon and she had nothing prepared for their arrival and was worried out of her mind about their bills and how they would cope. They were offered help with an application for Disability Living Allowance for the child, and referred for help with budgeting. We sent over a sum of £150 for her to get some food and some items in place ready for the new baby.
May 2, 2016
A gentleman with mental health issues had become estranged from his partner and their young son and had ended up in temporary accommodation. As he was considered vulnerable, he was found permanent accommodation but without any income and no means to raise the £100 they needed as rent in advance he was stumped. Fortunately we were made aware of his situation and were able to send over the money so that he could be assured of somewhere safe to live.
May 2, 2016
A young woman, her partner and their very young son had been homeless and in temporary accommodation for some time. Finally they had been offered permanent suitable accommodation but they didn't have any money to move their belongings to their new address, so an amound was agreed and passed on for them to be able to get some help with a van so they could move to their new home. Her Personal Independence Payment application had been refused, so she was guided towards help so she could reapply.
May 2, 2016
A young mum of three, barely able to look after herself was found fit for work and therefore unable to claim Employment Support Allowance. This of course meant she had no money until a fresh application could be put in to the DWP and due to rule changes, a new application where a previous one had existed meant this mum to be successful had to have got significantly worse, or have a new illness with which she could claim. She was being supported with her fresh claim, but obviously desperately needed money for food for her and her three children. So we sent over some money to help her through this until her new benefits payments could be made.
May 2, 2016
A gentleman who was quite unwell was being moved on from the hostel accommodation he has been in as he had hit the maximum stay he was permitted. Some supported accommodation was available for him as he was so unwell and considered a priority case. It became obvious though that he had no food, no toiletries as there had been a gap in his benefits. We sent him £50 to cover him between his benefits payments so he could get food and essentials.
May 2, 2016
We have been very busy and have a lot of cases to catch up on and don't always get time to blog what we've been up to. So lots of catching up posts tonight while we have some time.
We had been alerted to a gentleman that was literally without food, gas or electricity. There was an issue with his benefits claim which had had a knock on effect on his housing benefit and council tax assistance and was in certain danger of being evicted.
We were able to guide him to help with his benefits and sorted out a delivery of shopping to be sent to him so we knew he had food, as well as some money to put on his meters for gas and electricity. He updated us shortly after to say that following the advice his benefit claim had been sorted and put in place.
Jan 18, 2016
A couple came to our attention. He had been working on building sites and as it was approaching Christmas, the work began to dry up and he found himself without the likelihood of any further work until the following February. He had signed on for job seekers, but they wouldn't be receiving any benefits for another two weeks. Recently married, his wife was expecting their baby and it was essential she ate regularly, so we made a small donation to make sure they could buy nourishing food until their benefits kicked in.
May 24, 2014
Gosh, it’s been a while since we wrote one of these! While we’ve not been writing, though, we’ve not been idle.
Here is a story from each month this year so far that touched our hearts.
Mrs W’s son had his JSA sanctioned – because he had just been diagnosed with cancer and missed an appointment, despite calling them beforehand to explain that he couldn’t attend. Sadly his cancer spread and, on advising the job centre that he was now receiving intensive chemotherapy, they took him off JSA and said he wasn’t entitled to anything else, leaving him with nothing for over a month – over Christmas, no less. He was later helped to fill in an ESA claim, which was still pending when we found his mum. We gave him £120 to tide him over until his income was reinstated, as well as offering our usual practical support.
Ms S, a disabled lady on basic benefits who was very good at budgeting them, fell foul of an internet scam, which took funds from her bank account without permission (we asked for more details, and this was something any one of us could have been taken in by). The bank were looking into it, with a view to refunding her in time, but her bills were about to go out by direct debit the next day, leaving her overdrawn with bank charges on top if that happened. She had already gotten excellent advice on fraud and contacting the bank from friends, so we sent her £100 to cover the shortfall in her bank, with a little extra to show that not everyone on the internet is a bad egg.
D was sanctioned for not doing enough on his work search. He was actually doing more than the law requires. His girlfriend W suffered the same fate the following month. Because they didn’t know about the nil declaration for Housing Benefit (and no-one at the Job Centre bothered to tell them) they fell into £1500 rent arrears with the threat of court. W was terrified of court and brought to tears by the thought of it. One of our agents assisted with the Nil income housing benefit claim, which cleared most of the rent arrears. We gave them a gift to clear the rest in full.
Mr J, a disabled man with a young child, was found fit for work. His ESA was stopped, leaving him and his son with only £20 a week to live on. We sent him £100 so he and his son could be well fed for a few weeks. Another good job jobbed.
Ms D was very concerned that her son, who has mental health problems and physical disabilities, would join the ever growing list of suicides linked to welfare reform. His ESA was stopped for over a month and a reconsideration turned him down, saying his conditions did not qualify, even though he was often unable to care for himself and suffered from hallucinations and delusions. We put him in touch with practical help, and gave a gift of £200 to assist with a backlog of bills and rent that were stacking up, giving him some space to get the help he needs, and his mum some peace of mind.