Client C served in the Army from 2003 to 2012. Client C saw active service in Iraq and two tours of Afghanistan. After leaving the army, Client C used his redundancy money to live off and felt that at that time he didn’t need to find a job however, he spent the money on luxury items and impulse purchases. Client C was referred to Smart Savings from another support agency who recognised that he had financial and mental health problems. Client C was suffering from severe depression and was deemed to be at high risk of committing suicide.
Our specialist welfare advisers met with Client C on several occasions to discuss his current debts, benefits entitlements, appeal a PIP decision and manage his household budget effectively. With our support, Client C was able to negotiate new repayment terms, set up a realistic payment plan, receive PIP and therefore increasing his income by £360.97 per month. Our veteran support worker met with Client C on a weekly basis to complete a personal development plan, safety plan, supported him with next steps and made relevant referrals to other charitable organisations. We also helped Client C to find a Level 1 Diploma course in Animal Care at college.
Client C said, “I would like to say a huge thanks to the team at Smart Savings as my life could have taken a totally different turn and I’m not sure if I would still be here.”
Client S is a 37 year old Veteran (ex-RAF) who lives in rented accommodation in Cornwall. He was referred to us by a military charity. At the time of referral, client S was receiving Employment and Support Allowance and his personal budget showed a shortfall of £263.07pcm. Client S explained to us that he was borrowing money from friends to buy food and pay for heating. Client S lives with complex PTSD.
We supported the client with providing Foodbank vouchers, we submitted a claim for Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Severe Mental Impairment Status Discount. In addition, we referred the client to Community Energy Plus who were able to provide financial assistance with his gas and electricity bills. Our veteran support worker met with Client S on a weekly basis, closely following Government guidelines regarding Covid-19. Client S opened up to our Veteran Support worker as he knew that another veteran could understand his situation. Client S explained that he was supported by Cornwall Mental Health Team because he sometimes felt suicidal and has already had ten years of therapy, specifically because of what he experienced in military life and because of trauma experienced as a child. He also explained that he was drinking more alcohol lately as a way of coping with his past. Our Veteran Support provided emotional support during this period, completed a ‘needs analysis’ and a Safety Plan.
As a result of our support, Client S was referred to detox programme offered by ‘We Are With You’. With support from our veteran money adviser, Client S was awarded the Severe Mental Impairment Status Discount, Universal Credit and PIP. We also helped Client S to obtain £140 off his electricity bill for winter through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Client S is better off by £10,685.28 per year and is no longer struggled to pay any of his bills.
Young Person’s Story
Client B was referred to Smart Savings CIC through the Youth Offending Team. Client B had a history of arrests for violence, she experienced domestic abuse as a child and was involved with mental health services from the age of six. She also has dyslexia and dyspraxia and struggled at school both academically and with behaviour issues.
Whilst on the Cook Smart project, Client B learnt how to cook nutritious and tasty meals, built friendships, learnt important life skills and significantly reduced her alcohol consumption. We also supported Client B to receive all the benefits she was entitled to, helped her with budgeting, created a CV and helped her to prepare for an interview at the Headland Hotel. We referred Client B to several organisations to support her with numeracy and literacy and mental ill-health. By the end of the project, Client B was offered a part-time job at the Headland Hotel.
Client B said, “At first, I thought I’d just go along because it’s better than just watching Jeremy Kyle all day and having arguments with my stepdad. In the end, I found a great group of friends and learnt much more than I expected. I’ve also learnt to walk away from arguments and fights. I could never have imagined I would get a job at the end of it. The course has been brilliant”.
Client N was referred to our Families First project at the point where a step-up to Social Services was being considered, due to neglect of her two young children. Client N was struggling with depression and had almost £20k of debt. Our Family Support Worker completed a ‘whole family assessment’, identified effective interventions for each family member and provided ongoing emotional and practical parenting support.
After several sessions with our project counsellor, Client N disclosed she had a gambling problem. Our counsellor was able to provide support in this area to help the client and by working together with our money adviser, was able to support the client with her debts. We also referred Client N to Gamblers Anonymous and Outlook SW for additional support.
Our money adviser completed a Standard Financial Statement with Client N, applied for a Credit report and contacted all creditors regarding the client’s indebtedness. A DRO was then completed to clear the client’s debts. Our team also supported the client with ongoing budgeting to improve her financial capability, resilience and financial wellbeing.
As a result of our support, Client N is now debt free, is better able to manage her monthly budget, has stopped gambling and is progressing well with the help of an Early Help Hub Family Worker. Client N, stated, “They listened to me and supported me with my problems. My children and I now have a much better life.”