Open Arms

By Janet Malsch, Community Engagement Officer

At an Open Arms session held at Wath Library, Janet’s willingness to lend a helping hand brought relief and support to Lisa who came to the hub for support. 

Lisa initially approached Janet with concerns about her energy tariff. She shared her struggle in navigating the complex world of energy plans, feeling overwhelmed by the task. Everyone she asked seemed to advise her to make the decision alone.

We were able to offer to schedule a free appointment with the Energy team at RotherFed, who would guide Lisa through the process and help her make an informed decision about the most suitable tariff for her needs. Lisa replied thanking Janet saying: “it is lovely knowing there is somebody you can reach out to as sometimes life can feel overwhelming.” 

As the discussion continued, Janet discovered another challenge that Lisa faced as a council tenant. A large tree near her house had become a concern. Lisa and her partner were unable to maintain or trim the overhanging branches due to health concerns, especially during autumn when wet leaves posed a hazard. Despite the tree being on council property, and raising this concern with the council, no action has been taken.

Janet put Lisa in contact with the local ward councillor who could investigate and address the tree issue. This simple act of support held the potential to improve Lisa’s living conditions significantly. 

Further into their conversation, Janet learned that Lisa’s partner was not in the best physical health. Concerned for their well-being, Janet suggested conducting a benefit check. Lisa gladly accepted this offer, and Janet referred her to the Rotherfed Money team. 

As Lisa left the Open Arms session, she expressed her gratitude by saying, “I’ve got so much on at the moment, and this means a lot.”