“If anyone out there is struggling, don’t be afraid to ask VIVID for help.”
These are the words of Mr A, who was referred to our Tenancy Support team at the beginning of the year feeling very low due to his money worries. He was struggling day-to-day on a low income and juggling debt and rent arrears and relying on friends for meals.
When he was referred to our Homeless Prevention team, we were able to provide immediate support by providing food bank vouchers and we were also able to top up his gas and electric meters so he could stay warm. We then got to work, helping him with his debts and getting benefits in place so he could stay out of the red for good.
We supported with his application for a Debt Relief Order and we were successful in writing off £6,101, including of £585 rent arrears, giving Mr A a clear slate. We put plans in place to ensure Mr A didn’t fall into debt again by securing lower utilities tariffs, setting up payment plans with Southern Water and Portsmouth Water and applying for Council Tax Relief.
We checked to make sure that Mr A was getting all the benefits he was entitled to, and helped to apply for Personal Independence Payment due to his severe arthritis, and Mr A was awarded a back payment of £1,360 and a weekly payment of £81.90.
We supported Mr A with his wellbeing too, advising him to see his GP for pain medication and arranging an occupational health assessment of his home. We’re also supporting Mr A with a move to a ground floor property, as he’s having trouble accessing the stairs.
Mr A said: “Lauren’s help has allowed me to live comfortably and has lifted a huge weight from my mind – I no longer get red letters through the door on a regular basis. I’m happier and more cheerful and life has become easier. So, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues, we’re working hard to provide support where customers need it most. We know that it’s a worrying time and job situations are changing. We’ve seen an increase in redundancies and people finding it more difficult to find a job.
We want to help our customers in this situation find a job and feel secure during this difficult time, which is why we were delighted that one of our Employment and Training officers, Juergen, was able to successfully help a couple from Farnborough find jobs.
Juergen has been working with Peter and Sandra over the course of the year. They were unemployed and anxious to get back to work. Peter noted that “things turned quite bleak” in the job-hunting process before being referred to our Employment and Training team.
Juergen was able to provide valuable advice and practical tips that would help in the job application process, as well as conducting weekly phone meetings with the couple to discuss how things were going and if they needed any further support.
In the beginning, Juergen worked with the couple to create CVs that showcased their skills in the best way possible. He was also able to offer digital training to help strengthen their online skills, and registered them both with the CV Library for further support.
This eventually led to Peter being invited to an interview for a warehouse position with one of his former employers, where he was offered a part-time job that eventually progressed to full-time employment.
Sandra also interviewed for and was offered a 10-hour per week cleaning position in a sports shop. When Sandra explained that she had to travel to work via bus, Juergen was able to organise funding for a weekly bus ticket that would help with her commute to work.
Peter told us that “If anyone can deliver good news, it’s Juergen. He’s like a crusader, on his bike in bad weather to bring fantastic, good cheer.”