Open Arms

By the Open Arms Community Enagement Team

Steve, a longtime member of our community, reached out to us at the end of February 2024 seeking guidance from Open Arms and Citizen Advice. During our conversation, Steve opened up about his life story, revealing that he had spent 70 cherished years alongside his sister. They shared a profound bond, weathering life’s highs and lows together. However, tragedy struck when Steve’s sister passed away, leaving him to navigate the complexities of life alone.

Compounding his grief, Steve found himself grappling with profound loneliness and mood swings in the aftermath of his sister’s passing. Adding to his challenges, Steve and his sister had temporarily relocated to an old folks’ home before being moved to a council-owned property while their family home underwent necessary roof repairs. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the repairs to their family home were delayed, causing the property to deteriorate over time.

To Steve’s dismay, the council proposed charging him double fees – one for his current residence and another for the unoccupied family home in need of repairs. Faced with this financial burden, Steve turned to CARD for assistance. Recognising the urgency of his situation, our team went above and beyond, advocating on Steve’s behalf and engaging with the relevant authorities to address the unjust fees.

Thanks to our collaborative efforts, positive progress is underway, with the council working to rectify the fees, which would have amounted to £2500, based on Steve’s statement. Grateful for the unwavering support he received, Steve has since returned to the Open Arms project, a testament to the impact of our community’s solidarity. Even in his darkest moments, Steve found solace in knowing that there were people who cared deeply for him and were willing to lend a listening ear. Reflecting on the kindness and support he received from the Open Arms team, Steve expressed his gratitude, emphasising how much their presence meant to him during his time of need. As he continues to navigate life without his beloved sister, Steve draws strength from the bonds forged within our community, finding comfort in the knowledge that he is not alone on his journey.