“They saved my life. I don’t know how can I explain… I love this building and the people”

*Ashan’s introduction to our services came through his local Mind service, a lifeline for mental health support. Struggling to provide food for his wife and children, Ashan reached out to our Law Centres about an array of challenges including housing issues, financial struggles, and health problems following his two open-heart surgeries.

Upon connecting with our benefits adviser, Ruth Forrest, a comprehensive review of his situation unfolded. Ruth was able to examine his benefits, and  recommended applications for Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment disability benefits. Undertaking the application process on his behalf, we were able to secure a successful Universal Credit application, ensuring the family received additional income of £2,103.06 per month (The Personal Independence Payment decision remains in progress, with a potential wait of up to six months).

Understanding that immediate relief was essential, Ruth further applied for grants to address rent arrears, and facilitated an application for the NHS Low Income Health Costs scheme for Ashan’s prescription expenses. While the applications brought partial relief, rent arrears were reduced but not entirely cleared, nevertheless, the impact of our support upon Ashan and his family was immediate and profound.

“I was getting too much stress. Too much stress. That’s why I’m also sick. Sometimes in my house, there was no food for children. And the children were little at that time. They need nutrition, they need food, they need everything. That time was so struggling. And me? … I can’t read, I can’t write, I can’t do anything. Because I had two open heart surgeries.”

“They saved my life. I don’t know how can I explain… I love this building and the people. For the last three years, my life was saved also because of Ruth Forrest. She’s a very nice lady. I love her so much. Yeah. She saved my life and my children and my wife. Four of us. Otherwise, I don’t know what would have happened.”

“We tried to apply for Child Benefit before. We didn’t know what to do. And she’s the one doing everything. Now we’re taking Child Benefit also,” Ashan stated, highlighting the positive changes brought about by our team’s intervention. “We are still struggling. The Centre is helping with the heating in the house and with the Food Bank.”

“I’m getting a little bit relaxed. Because we can pay rent and buy food now. We can buy what we need for the children, clothes or something. Especially for children.”

“I really love this place and the workers, they help nicely. I’m really happy, and that’s why I said, I don’t know how to say it, from the inside of my heart, I love this place and workers, all the workers very nicely help. Otherwise, I may have passed away.”

The journey toward stability continues with ongoing support from our dedicated advisers. Our team is actively working to further reduce rent arrears, secure disability benefits, and help provide financial security for Ashan and his family.

*Name has been changed

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