Grace’s Journey from Powerlessness to Independence

Grace* is a forty-year-old single mother to three children. Grace came to us for help as she was living in poverty with no spare income to pay the bills. With no income of her own and her ex-husband out of the country and refusing to contribute to child support, she was relying on the Child Benefit she received to support her family and get through each day. Grace also has an underlying health condition with her back, the consequence of working many years in the care sector. She was also having to borrow money from a friend to rent a private property. But the property came with a huge unpaid utility bill from the previous tenant, leaving the liability for the debt wide open. The utility company were starting to send letters demanding payment, and things were starting to pile up causing Grace much stress and anxiety.

Grace was referred to our employability and financial capability projects, who sat down with her and worked out a plan to help her get back on her feet and sort through the paperwork one step at a time.

Grace was keen to work and, with the help of our support workers put her efforts into writing her C.V. and searching and applying for jobs. Grace wasn’t confident at first using the computer, but once she was shown the basics and got an email address set up she had no trouble at all.

The utility company were contacted on Grace’s behalf and they agreed to send someone out to have the meter read to determine the amount she actually owed and to remove the outstanding debt from the previous tenant.

Grace’s initial anxiety and confusion around setting up a household budget and addressing her debts has disappeared, and her time working with our projects has allowed her to become truly independent. She is now much more confident and able to make decisions, sure in the knowledge that all her entitlements are in place and she is addressing bills.

Grace is just one of the many people we have the privilege of journeying alongside through our financial and employability work. We’ve  been shortlisted for the Natwest Skills and Opportunities Fund for our Finding the Change project to help support the most vulnerable people out of financial crisis for good.

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