Who we have helped
Everyone is different – we listen and offer the support that you want – with money, work, training, getting online to help you move forward. Our teams are friendly, practical and interested in you and your needs.
Here are some examples:
"I was empowered by my coach’s confidence in my potential"
I decided to enrol onto the New Horizons Project to show a potential employer that I was willing to learn new skills and could make an efficient and effective part of the team. My confidence was low but now I feel I have something to offer an organisation for the future.
The project was flexible and delivered it’s objectives in a time efficient manner which took account of my personal life circumstances. I was empowered by my coach’s confidence in my potential. Meeting in person and learning on my own devices was particularly useful, All of the content included in the coaching journey was relevant to my needs
Since being a participant on the project, I have been successful in being accepted as a trainee for Citizens Advice as a volunteer and have more confidence in my ability to learn new skills.
New Horizons is adaptable as it is made accessible regardless of ability and is open to all individuals irrespective background. It is also non-discriminatory.
I would recommend New Horizons to a friend as the project is relevant and the learning processes are tailored to the individual. The coaches are friendly and inspiring.
The project was person centred learning, adapted to my existing knowledge and educational needs. My coach, Olivia was approachable and able to meet and fill the gaps that I had in areas of IT knowledge. The skills that I have acquired are life enhancing as I can apply them to both my professional and personal life.
“I have pounds in my pocket and a smile on my face – my wellbeing has improved 100%"
S is a 62-year-old gentleman living in social housing in Cambridge, S was referred in from the Cambridge DWP. S was really struggling to find employment, manage his money, his bills were mounting up, he was struggling to get online and was generally not in a very good place at all. In 2019 IS was employed as a Cleaner for 3 years, prior to this he had worked over 10 years in Security and had always worked. S was made redundant and due to Covid and the lack of employment opportunities S had to claim Universal Credit, he had always worked and really struggled with having to do this, the drop in income and not being able to work had really took a massive toll on his mental wellbeing and his financial circumstances which was having a massive knock on effect.
When I first spoke with S he was so grateful just to have someone to speak with as he felt very isolated. He had no equipment and was not connected to the internet and due to Covid was not able to see or meet with friends or family. He had basically been living on cheap tin food as he was really struggling to pay for food, he told me he only had one knife and fork and no kettle and he was struggling to pay his bills in general, he told me he was desperate to get back out to work and start earning money again.
I explained the support that the New Horizons project could offer and he was very keen to enrol onto the project and start working with me, as well as the help and support we could offer, S was really pleased to have someone that he could communicate with in such difficult times. The first thing we got in place was a food bank voucher from the C3 Church in Cambridge and for Besom to deliver a starter kitchen pack to include cutlery and a kettle.
During New Horizons coaching we covered the following:
- Detailed income and expenditure – completed an income and expenditure form and looked at ways of reducing the outgoings
- Cambridge Aid – Grant application made to Cambridge Aid; awarded £220 for a reconditioned laptop to enable him to job search and connect with family and friends
- Food bank Parcel – S walked the1 hour round trip to collect a food parcel on a regular basis during Covid as he said not only was he getting food, it gave him a purpose to get up in the morning and he was able to communicate with others, they befriended him and told him that he could go and see them when he was struggling and they would help him out with food, this made a huge difference to his mental wellbeing.
- Stay well Grant – Grant application made for gas and electric, awarded – £300
- Assure Tariff awarded – We got in touch with Simon Pearce from South Staffs Water who supported us in applying for the Assure Tariff. S was paying £48.48 per month we managed to get this reduced by 60% per month.
- Besom – Kitchen pack
- Job search – S is now working as a Touch point Cleaner Supervisor, he started as a Touch point Cleaner and then was promoted, he also has the opportunity for over time if he wants it.
Although appointments were forced into communicating via phone appointments and a few text messages and a couple of face to face, we were able to continue working together effectively although S would have preferred face to face appointments.
S said that New Horizons project was “life Saving” he said “when your depressed and someone offers you help, it was like a bright light at the end of the tunnel, my life has turned around, I have a purpose for my life for the help being offered by Amanda” “I have pounds in my pocket and a smile on my face – my wellbeing has improved 100%, I started working 20 hours a week now working 65 hours a week as a Supervisor”. S said he had felt suicidal before engaging on the project and although he said he would never have done anything about it, that was how low he felt.
S has really turned his life around and made some very positive changes, his life has changed for the better, he is now employed and loving his job, he is in control of his finances again and is even managing to put a little bit aside for a rainy day and is on top of all of his bills. S feels that if he had not have had the support for the New Horizons project he would not be where he is now.
Refugees who lost work during pandemic
A couple were both recent immigrants. The man had refugee status and was claiming Universal Credit, but his heavily pregnant wife had no recourse to benefits. They both lost jobs because of lockdown, but had subsequently secured unfurnished social housing, moving from furnished temporary accommodation. Their housing association referred them to CHS Money Matters, who in turn referred the man to New Horizons for more in-depth support (money, digital inclusion and employability). Having moved from a different local authority, they needed help with benefits claims, including benefits and grants resulting from a new baby, and setting up the supply of utilities, and to avoid falling into immediate Council Tax and rent arrears.
The man answered the following questions in his own words:
Why did you enrol onto New Horizons?
“Because I needed help after losing my job because of Coronavirus.”
What was life like before you had support from New Horizons?
“I was worried that I would have to borrow too much money from my relatives, and not have enough money for the new baby.”
What did you need to achieve?
“I needed to apply for benefits and grants, and not make a mistake, which used to cause delays.”
In addition to helping with setting up utility payments and new benefit claims (for Council Tax Reduction, a new child on Universal Credit and Child Benefit, a successful application to fund the spare room subsidy before their baby was born, and access to a water company social tariff), New Horizons was able to access a Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) award of a new cooker, a reconditioned washer and freezer and a supermarket voucher to help cover the costs arising from the move. The charity Besom fitted around what CLAS could supply, sourcing a fridge and new baby pack, whilst the charity Little Bundles provided a full suite of baby equipment and clothing. New Horizons also sourced £400 in energy grants and the Cambridge City Foodbank network provided a food parcel and Christmas hamper. It was pleasing that the couple had gained enough understanding of the benefits system to apply for a £500 Sure Start Maternity Grant without any particular help from their coach.
Whilst they remained unemployed, the couple’s benefits income was lower than would normally support a one-child family. The CLAS awards helped keep them financially afloat and avoid falling into arrears, and, along with the other holistic support, helped them care for their new-born after a difficult delivery.
Once the couple were on a more secure financial footing, the man was better placed to look for work. Additional barriers to employment were unfamiliarity with British culture and practices, living in a new area and the man’s limited language skills. Their New Horizons coach made the most of periods of relaxation in lockdown to visit the couple in person, which helped build rapport and made spoken communication more easy. In fact the woman’s bilingual skills were invaluable to progress on the project. New Horizons loaned a Chromebook to help with job-searching and also filled in some gaps in the couple’s digital skills and ability to access online services. The coach also used their local knowledge to help look at opportunities in catering, which was opening up with the relaxation of lockdown in May 2021 and suited the man’s employment background. He secured work for two days per week after passing a training phase, and is hopeful he will be able to add to his hours. Although not a New Horizons objective, the woman also secured some temporary work after the baby was a few weeks old.
On the point of beginning paid work, the man also answered the following questions:
What has changed because of New Horizons?
“I know where to go for help and other things (including utilities and discounts) for the house and family.”
What did you find particularly helpful about New Horizons?
“The provision of baby items from a charity was very generous”
Was there anything less helpful about New Horizons, or that you wished it also covered?
“I would have liked more face-to-face meetings, but this was not possible due to Coronavirus.”
How would you describe New Horizons to a friend?
“It is so good and provides friendly help to people, helping them to connect with other services.”
Would you recommend New Horizons to a friend?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“It was the first time we received help in this country. My coach was one step ahead of me – I didn’t always know what a new family would need, but my coach told me these things. Government agencies tell me things ‘like a boss’; New Horizons would have the style of an advising friend. Now I take the power with money.”
New mums help with debt and work
Deanna was referred to the New Horizons project with considerable debt, impacted by the birth of her baby and credit cards and loans taken out when she was much younger. She was not able to meet her monthly living costs and regularly struggled to afford food. Over the course of the project, she was supported to find ways of reducing her outgoings and explored different debt solutions. She was provided with 1 to 1 debt advice from Christians Against Poverty to set up a repayment plan to repay her creditors, but also give her opportunities to start putting money aside into a savings pot. A Discretionary Housing Payment was also awarded to her to help her meet the costs of her rent each month and to clear some of her rent arrears.
Having only given birth to her second child in June, Deanna began work in July to help support her young family.
Help finding a job
Martin was referred to the New Horizons project after leaving temporary accommodation. He was struggling to find work and required help with fine tuning his CV and looking for job opportunities. He was concerned that with a previous criminal conviction that he wouldn’t be able to find work.
Martin successfully found part-time work after only 3 months being on the project. The extra income is now supporting his young family and giving him that breathing space with his finances each month.
Reducing money stressors for mother of three
Tanvi was referred to the New Horizons project with considerable debt. Living as a single parent with three young children. She was not able to meet her monthly living costs and regularly struggled to make ends meet. Over the course of the project, she was supported to find ways of reducing her outgoings and explored different debt solutions. She was supported to obtain a debt relief order, greatly reducing her money stressors. Tanvi was supported by funding through her housing provider with a tumble dryer, bunk beds, cooker, fridge freezer & mattress. A laptop was then gifted to help her eldest daughter with her school work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tanvi is now exploring possible training/work opportunities in readiness for when her 3 year old starts school next year.
Coaching through the pandemic
A was signposted to New Horizons as she was struggling with money management, resulting in her mental health deteriorating and moving her further away from work. She was long-term unemployed due to being a full-time mother, but a relationship breakdown resulted in her needing to claim Universal Credit and look for work.
A started working with New Horizons during the height of the first national lockdown, resulting in us having to adapt our ways of working together. I offered A 1-to-1 coaching using video calls and 3-way calling when necessary.
A had very limited digital skills but through video calls and options to screen-share, I was able to encourage A to develop her digital skills as well as supporting her with money management.
Upon exiting New Horizons, A noted she is feeling much more confident digitally and feels she has developed her knowledge regarding her finances. Consequently, she feels she is in a better position to now focus on starting the process of moving back to work. She is completing training that will help her with job-searching and is hoping to start applying for jobs in the coming months.
She stated that New Horizons was fantastic and she would recommend the project’s services to any prospective participants.
"The catalyst to better days and the formula to take me there"
I wanted some help with my debts and hadn’t known where to go. When I enrolled I wasn’t in a good place: mentally beaten. I was looking for purpose in life because I didn’t have that. I lived day-by-day. I didn’t see any purpose in having hopes.
I made progress on a number of fronts. I gained:
- an overall picture of my debts and now have a ready-to-go strategy should they become unmanageable
- confidence to seek and obtain ‘permitted work’ alongside studying towards a diploma (degree-level)
- a better understanding of benefits available to me in order to make informed choices.
I was also supported to gain help from Citizens’ Advice in order to re-instate a disability benefit that had been withdrawn. The knock-on effect was a £4.3K back-payment and an increased weekly award of £180.
I never imagined I’d be able to study at degree level. I can also pick and choose my hours at work alongside my study.
I have recommended the project to a friend and I’m still encouraging him to take up the offer and reap the potential rewards!
At the start I was already job-searching, but now I’m in work and in training.
From rent arrears to debt free
I was initially referred due to rent arrears, however there were many more underlying factors as to why I was in debt. I felt overwhelmed and struggled to see a way out. My New Horizons coach supported me every step of the way.
I think the New Horizons project is amazing and feel very privileged to have been able to work with my coach. I now feel able to manage my own finances and endeavour to remain debt free.
I now feel much less stressed financially and more in control. It makes a huge difference!
I feel much more in control of my life
Before New Horizons I had been living in my own rented flat for a few months after moving from a supported living project for people affected by homelessness. I was trying to get my life back on track and sort out various housing things such as bills, but I was struggling to make my money pay for what I needed and was just about scraping by and felt like giving up. It was a difficult time for me. I couldn’t think about the future as I thought I was going to be evicted and back on the streets.
I have been able to increase my income and learn to budget better. I was very worried about a housing issue and being evicted when I first enrolled onto New Horizons. My coach helped me to sort this out and kept me updated at every step.
Because of this I have managed to sustain my tenancy and sort out all the complications with my benefits. My coach helped sort getting gas connected to my property that had been put off for so long due to all my worries. He also applied for a grant to help with energy costs over the winter to help ensure I had money for food.
I was able to focus on improving my mental wellbeing as part of the recovery project with CPFT. I completed this course in July 2019.
I have learnt to deal with problems better and be more confident in making phone calls to sort things out when I need to.
Getting debts under control
When Claire met her New Horizons coach she was struggling to manage her money and her gambling habit was having an impact on her ability to pay her rent. Claire’s anxiety and low mood meant that she found leaving the house really difficult and she was feeling increasingly isolated.
Claire’s New Horizons coach worked with her to develop goals and work towards them. Claire was supported to put together a budget and to open a new bank account to manage her bills. Her coach helped her to get additional support from a debt adviser who arranged a Debt Relief Order. Claire is also now using the bus on her own for the first time in many years.
I found that the support that I’ve received has been very good and helpful in so many ways. She has helped me budget and get my gambling under control which I found really helpful. I would recommend the services to anyone.
Moving from debt into employment
Polly was referred to the New Horizons project with historic debt which she had been making payments towards for over 20years. She also lacked confidence and did very little outside the home due to her mental health challenges. Over the course of the project, she was supported to explore opportunities that would build her skills and confidence and made huge progress by starting a voluntary role and also becoming a paid member of the Residents Board at her Housing Association. She has also been supported to obtain a debt relief order to enable her to clear her debt, greatly reducing her money stressors. Upon completing the project Polly said: My confidence has been reignited and enabled me to further my experience. I have been granted access to information that has sorted out my finances and changed my life for the better.
Moving back into work
When Asha joined New Horizons she wanted to become more financially independent from her parents. Her mental health challenges had impacted her confidence and she wasn’t sure how to make her first steps towards employment. As Asha was under 25 she was able to work with our New Horizons coach based at Centre 33.
Asha’s coach worked with her to find volunteering which would boost her confidence and give her experience of the world of work. She was able to write about the volunteering on her CV and gained the confidence to start applying. Asha successfully started employment working 30 hours a week, and continues to volunteer when she can. She has applied to do a nursing degree and hopes to start in September.
My New Horizons Coach helped me gain the confidence to apply for jobs again after a long break and Mental Health issues affecting my previous work. And I managed to get a job! I’m so grateful for all the help I received – it’s really made a huge difference to my life. I also really enjoyed the sessions
Talking about money troubles with family helps reduce shopping costs
Monika lives in an isolated area and is unable to drive. She was doing all of her shopping at a local shop, which was increasing her significant debt issues. Her New Horizons coach was able to secure a grant for a cooker for her and helped her get the confidence to speak to her family about her situation so they are now taking her to a larger local supermarket for a weekly shop. She has borrowed a Chromebook to look for volunteering opportunities and has successfully completed an IT course. She also has a repayment plan in place for her rent arrears and has reduced her bank charges. Monika says “My New Horizons coach has been very helpful, introducing me to different courses to help me in the future, such as an IT course which I passed so now I am more confident with using computers and the internet. I am also now more in control of my money situation and managing my bills and more confident about getting into voluntary work in the future. My New Horizons coach is very friendly and easy to talk to and has been a big help to me and my family.”
Moving into volunteering
Gemma had been out of work for 25 years and struggling with her confidence and self esteem when she joined the New Horizons project. She was not looking for work and at risk of being sanctioned. Her coach supported her to update her CV, put together a budget and lent her a Chrome book. As a result of the project Gemma started volunteering and her confidence improved. Gemma says “My New Horizons coach is brilliant. She listens and doesn’t talk down to you. She is kind and caring. I love the Chromebook and am learning loads on it. Thanks to my coach I am in a much better place”
Making the most of the Chromebook loan scheme
When Lisa first met her New Horizons coach she had significant debt issues and was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. She had no washing machine and a broken fridge-freezer and felt unable to leave the house alone.
Her coach was able to secure local grants for her to get a cooker, bed, fridge-freezer and washing machine. Lisa borrowed a Chromebook as part of the project and learnt how to do on-line shopping, helping her make savings with her shopping bill. She also had the opportunity to look for mutual exchange possibilities to help her in her aim to move closer to family for additional support. Her coach also helped her to access a well-being service and Lisa is now getting 121 support for her mental health challenges. Lisa says “My New Horizons coach is the best…you can talk to them about anything and she listens to you and helps you. It has helped me so much that I would recommend them to people that have money problems”.
Young parent - supported to apply for benefits
I have lived in the Foyer just over a year. I’m now 21. When I was younger, my parents split up and I thought it would be best if I lived with my dad; I thought he was okay, but it turned violent. He and his parents packed my bags and kicked me out. During the next year, my ex-girlfriend found out about my drug use, she stopped me seeing my son. It was a really bad year; nothing good happened.
In the learning centre I can do my job search, get more education. I’m being helped by a New Horizons coach. I didn’t know how to apply for benefits so I got help to sort out my benefit problems. No one pressures me into doing things, they let me crack on with it. I have always been fairly confident I think, but I just couldn’t be bothered doing things before – now I have someone to motivate me.
In the future, I’d like to see my child; I haven’t seen him for two weeks. I need to stop being bad towards my ex and stop doing drugs. I also really want to get back into work. I miss working.
Mother of two - Not enough money for all the bills
Many families face the problem that there is simply not enough coming in to meet all the bills – this can be especially hard when bringing up young children.
We recently supported a mother of two who faced worries with arrears on her water bills, deductions from Income Support for a budgeting loan, an underoccupancy charge and costly rent to buy loan for her washing machine.
With some practical support our New Horizons Officer helped her to get payments for her Social Fund loan and water arrears reduced, sorted out a cheaper enegy deal and help from Fenland District Council to cover the underoccupancy charges whilst she found a smaller property to move the family to.
The Local Assistance Scheme were also able to help with a washing machine so that she could get onto a more stable footing.
She now feels more in control and able to plan ahead and is hoping to start on our laptop learning soon so that she can be online at home.
Mother of three young adults - Overcoming rural isolation
Living in a smaller, more isolated village and not knowing what you are entitled to and what help is available and worrying about how to heat the home for the winter is tough. Our officer listened carefully to the whole family’s needs and found that there was a lot could be done quite quickly to make life a bit easier – help with applying for Child tax credit, moving to a water meter, applying for Warm Home Discount, getting some grant help to reduce reliance on rent to buy and getting access to free debt advice with Citizens Advice were all sorted at the first visit. The family were also interested in a laptop loan and free internet access to try and save more money online, know more about help available and think about qualifications and training that may help with finding work.
Money Coaching - making a big difference
Sorting out money worries takes time and patience – our Money Coaches can work with you over several weeks to really make a big difference. Here is an example of how much one of our money coaches has helped a client to save recently:
Reducing unnecessary outgoings: saving £120+ pm
Savings on essential expenditure: saving £35 + pm
Annual saving: £1860+
Plus the family were able to access various one off grants and support totalling nearly £3000. This made a huge difference and helped them to feel safer and more secure.
Sheila - Saving money online
“I was too scared to touch a computer before Amanda came out to do the laptop learning course, now I can do emails, compare prices online, print out things and use google confidently.”
Afterwards Sheila brought herself a notebook, mi-fi dongle and a wireless printer and has continued to build on her skills and confidence in using the internet and a computer.
Father unable to work following motorcycle accident - Avoid high cost loans
“Lots of families don’t have a lot. It can be a struggle living on a low income but it was very important to me not to go back into debt, with people calling round asking about payments. They wouldn’t just be knocking on my door, they’d be knocking on my child’s door. I don’t want people coming round here asking me for money in front of my daughter.
“Getting the bed was a lifeline, and meant our youngest daughter would not have to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Our daughter was absolutely over the moon and told everyone about it.”
Ivan - Using a tablet for facebook, email and online banking for the first time
I had never done nothing like it all my life so when someone came to see me, I did not know what to think, I thought I might get everything not right but when Amanda came, I could see that she was so good to get on with if I got something not right, she did not mind and I did see that I would get on well with her. It was good to learn email on the laptop, I had never had a go on one at all, but now I got a tablet and I get on with it really well and that was down to the help I received. We went on online banking that was a good thing to do – now I can find out what is coming in and what is going out.
Mr N, young unemployed man - No money and relying on grandparent for support
We met Mr N through his grandmother who was deeply concerned about his situation following sanctions being applied by the Job Centre.
He felt depressed, anxious and unable to challenge the sanctions and would have had nothing to live on without his grandmother’s help. Amanda heard this when she was supporting his Nan with her laptop learning and offered to help.
She found out that Mr N had in fact done a lot to find work and the sanctions were unjustified – together they wrote to the Jobcentre who lifted the sanction -and reinstated his benefits – worth nearly £1000 in total.
This boosted his confidence enormously and revived his energy and confidence – essential for presenting himself in job applications. With our help he has revamped and updated his CV and been applying for jobs on-line and is optimistic that he will find work soon.