The Making Our Money Go Further (MOMGF) team attended a Coffee event at a library. We had a person come in who had broken down in front of us when they told us their money problem. We took them into a private room and the person told us they were on Universal credit which was their only income. They were a carer for their partner (a heart patient) who did not have UK citizenship who therefore could not claim other benefits such as PIP. The Energy bill was more than their universal credit income. The person was very worried and emotional. The person said they lived with their partner in their child’s house who pays the mortgage from their part time job. Their child is a student who helps them as much as possible being a student themself.
The MOMGF team took their details so that Citizens Advice could contact them within 48 hours, which the person was glad to hear. There was a little language barrier as the person was not fluent in English as it wasn’t their first language, so a note was made of this when referring to Citizens Advice. They also made the person aware of a foodbank near their home which may help a little in saving.
They also asked our colleagues from Energy Know How for their expertise. They also helped with a Winter Warm Pack and will have Green Doctor to come out and insulate their home for them.
Person had set out to walk 4 miles from the library back to their home.
Her bill was partly estimated (electricity). Her gas was accurate as readings were taken from her smart meter and her bill totalled £221.00 to pay which was scheduled to be taken by direct debit at the end of the month. She stated that she could not afford to pay this.
As she had was being referred to Citizens Advice by the money team for in depth support with her financial situation, they would include utility bills in their advice. We discussed with her how to check her meter readings and compare these to her bill to check whether the bill had been over-estimated.
She stated she used a lot of gas to keep her husband warm due to his heart issues. We discussed the possibility of turning the heating down slightly, putting it on one hour later or turning it off one hour later. She was worried about her husband getting cold, so we gave her two winter warmth packs containing blankets, gloves, hats, snoods, socks and soup and mugs.
We also discussed whether her home was draughty, and she said it was. We offered her a visit from the green doctors who are able to install draught proofing measures around doors and windows, fit radiator foils to help make her heating more efficient and also supply and fit up to 10 led lightbulbs which would help with her energy consumption. She was very appreciative of this offer and a referral was made for the works to be undertaken.
This example shows how much people are in need and how services such as ours help to give them a little boost and guide them to other services they may benefit from.