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 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 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 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.
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 20, 2017
Our agent told us of a lady who had extreme mental health issues, she has had the Crisis Team put in touch with her but so far very little has happened to help her. She was hearing voices telling her her very old and ailing fridge freezer was going to cause a fire while she slept. This was only making her distress even worse, and she had already attemtped to take her own life twice already in an effort to stop the voices. A friend had confirmed that the fridge freezer was very old, about to pack in and was making very strange noises. So we agreed to purchase a new, very reasonably priced, under counter fridge freezer, which we had delivered directly to her. Hopefully this will no reassure her somewhat, and ease some of her worries.
Jan 19, 2017
Our agent told us today of a man she had come across as part of her work supporting the homeless in her hometown. This man had driven up from another part of the country to try to find family. He had ended up giving away his car, his laptop and all his clothes apart from those he stood up in, and had been living street homeless for the past two weeks. He realised that he needed serious help with his mental health and asked for help. So our agent secured him mental health intervention in his hometown, she just needed to get him home again. This is where we come in, we agreed to pay the £20.60 for his train fare home and a small extra sum of money to purchase some food. A volunteer agreed to travel with him to make sure he got back safely and was met by the crisis team at the other end.
May 2, 2016
A young vulnerable woman with mental health issues had been offered much needed accommodation but it was unfurnished. She didn't have a bed to sleep in or anything to cook any food in. A sum of £300 was agreed and sent over to her to allow her to, with help, purchase the items she needed so desperately.
May 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.