Martin first encountered a person at a foodbank who was having difficulty with money issues and referred them into Citizens Advice. The referral was closed because Citizens Advice, despite three attempts, could not contact them. A few weeks later I saw the person, with their partner, at a social supermarket. They still had money issues but were mistrustful of ‘official’ organisations and feared they would lose their existing benefits.
I emphasised that Citizens Advice were an independent organisation with no connection to the DWP. I also stressed that any advice they gave would include an assessment of the effects of different benefits upon each other and the choice to apply for other benefits was entirely up to the clients. They agreed to another referral to Citizens Advice.
I heard the other day that they are absolutely delighted at the outcome of the referral. They are eligible for three extra benefits which do not affect their existing benefits.
It illustrates how trust building, awareness raising, and patience can have a dramatic positive effect on people’s lives.