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
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.
Nigel - Opening up a new world online
Nigel was keen to find out more about being on the internet and using a computer so that he could do more for himself and feel less dependent on others.
In his sessions he covered online banking and shopping, comparing prices, using Facebook, taking, storing and printing photos and emailing. Here is Nigel’s feedback:
“… this has opened up a new world to me -I have got my own laptop now and I talk to my grand children on Facebook and also my older children who I have not seen for over 3 years.
I also do my shopping now on line which is a great help to me as you know I am in a wheelchair and find it hard to get out in bad weather … I also do my banking on line as well which is a great help to me. I can only say thank you to you for opening up this new world to me and it has taken me from a lonely old man sat in a bungalow in to a person that can now talk to people all over the world and can talk face to face with my children and grandchild on Facebook .
Solving everyday money problems - Help with prescriptions, bills and tax
Mr L came to us for help as he was struggling to afford dental treatment and prescriptions. He was also concerned about irregular working hours and changes in his income.
We helped Mr L to apply for help with his NHS costs by completing the HC1 application, he was thrilled when the certificate arrived and all the costs were covered by it. We also explained how working tax credits could help him manage when his hours were irregular. Then Mr L received a Coding Notice from HMRC and a letter saying he underpaid tax. We explained what the coding notice meant and how he can check whether the correct amount of tax was deducted by his employer.
When we asked Mr L to comment on the service/help he received, he said “I am relieved now as I found out what I could be entitled to in case I lose my job which gives me more confidence and reassurance”.
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.
Ms S - Sorting problems and easing worries
Ms S was experiencing a lot of money worries following a period of ill health and the suspension of her benefits – at one point she had no income and her housing was at risk. Not really understanding what was needed she showed her correspondence to Olena and was able to talk it all through in her mother tongue which was a big relief. after a lot of persistence (and phone calls!) her claims have been sorted and her housing is safe again.
As well as helping with the practical money side of things Olena encouraged Ms S to come along to one of our Love Your Home events -she spent several hours there enjoying talking to people and creating a canvas.
“I like these kind of events, being at home alone makes your head go crazy, so today I feel like time flew by and I enjoyed every single moment of it”.
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.
Francis - First time on the internet
My name is Francis, I am 74 years young. I have been having a computer course for 6 weeks with my tutor. We have been using my laptop to learn how to do many different things, including typing skills especially for me as I found it very difficult to find the letters on the keyboard. I have been helped to use the Internet. Just today (my last day) I had the courage to use my smart phone and my Ipad both of which I have had for some time but never used