“It is a real privilege to be able to do this job.”
“I’ve always had a heart for people who are struggling with their money. Last year I applied to be a volunteer with CMA, and during the application process a paid role became available. It was exactly what I wanted. I applied and have loved it ever since. It’s a real privilege to do this job and to see the change in clients from when they come in feeling nervous at their first appointment.
One client, Sarah*, has been through such a tough situation. She recently lost her husband, he had been her carer and had dealt with everything including the cooking, shopping and finances. She had done a really good job of getting some things paid off. But it reached a point where there were too many creditors coming at her.
So, she came to us and we set up direct debits for her utility bills and are liaising with the creditors to arrange affordable repayments. Ensuring repayments are affordable is essential. Some creditors will try and push you for higher repayments and because you feel guilty you may agree to payments you can’t really afford.
The team introduced Sarah to one of the Food Bank+ teams where they provided Recipe Bags including the ingredients for recipes on a budget. They also supported Sarah with accessing clothing from the Wardrobe Foundation and applying for a grant to pay off her debts with the utility companies.
Becky explained: “The change in her from the first to the second appointment was brilliant and that was just one week. It’s really important to work alongside clients for as long as they need, while decreasing that dependency as time goes on.
Debt is oppressive and being trapped in that position where you feel so helpless must be terrifying. For a lot of clients dealing with their debt is almost like a full time job. I love empowering people to understand and take control. To help people get out of the burden of debt. But even if their debts remain, to help free them from the oppression of creditors chasing them.
To take people through a process where they can feel back in control, they’re budgeting well so that when their money is coming in, they know what they need to pay for bills. They’ve got enough money left to buy food and to pay for their heating and electricity, so they don’t have to go hungry and sit in their houses with no heating on.”
*Name changed to protect identity.