When Tamsin was referred to hyh, she was 18 and struggling to come to terms with the changes taking place in her life.
Growing up, Tamsin had an abusive mother whose behaviour is likely to have had a negative effect on her mental health. This led to Tamsin’s grandmother gaining custody of her when she was 14 so she did not end up in care. In addition to this, Tamsin was born with a major heart defect so she spent much of her childhood in and out of hospital, undergoing several heart surgeries.
Tamsin had a few settled years in her grandmother’s care and felt safe with a court injunction to keep her mother away. Her grandmother supported Tamsin and provided a caring environment where they were living comfortably together.
However, at the beginning of 2020, Tamsin’s grandmother sadly passed away from cancer after a short stay at a hospice. Tamsin was devastated. She was left to cope with mounting debt, grief and deteriorating health. Trying to navigate her way around the benefit system seemed impossible to her. She had no idea of who to contact or where to go for help.
Tamsin was then referred to hyh for support as she was living alone in her family home with a large rent and council tax debt. She was only entitled to £350 per month but the house rent was £1,500 per month. This debt continued to rise as Tamsin was told to stay in the property until she found alternative accommodation. Tamsin had no idea of how she was supposed to pay off the debt on the house and was faced with eviction.
Firstly, hyh helped Tamsin with her debts by approaching the local council to avoid her becoming homeless. As the request was for a large amount of money, it took many weeks to go through and all of this occurred during the winter months and the beginning of lockdown.
It was hard for Tamsin to keep her house warm which she needed for her heart condition. This was just another added pressure as winter times are usually testing for our service users who rely on benefits. Finding additional money for heating during the cold months can be difficult and can sometimes lead to new debts.
Tamsin was then granted a payment and hyh were able to negotiate with the landlord who agreed to wipe out the remaining amount owed to them. Further meetings with the council tax department then cleared her council tax debt which was a huge weight taken off her shoulders.
Tamsin was then helped with her move into a flat and hyh gathered the relevant information and approached a court to keep Tamsin safe, should her mother approach her. After this, hyh worked with Tamsin to improve her budgeting skills and prevent her from falling into debt again.
Our teams also arranged Tamsin sessions of grief counselling to help her properly deal with the loss of her grandmother. She then contacted a local hospital to continue her appointments for her heart condition, another first for her as her grandmother previously arranged her appointments. Lastly, hyh were able to update her Universal Credit so that she received the correct benefits.
Tamsin recently sent this message to hyh:
‘I just wanted to say I am sincerely thankful and grateful for all the help and support you have given me over the past few months. After losing my Nan I felt so helpless and overwhelmed with everything, without your advice and guidance on how to manage a home/bills/finances etc I don’t know how I would have coped.
I cannot thank you enough for being so kind and dedicating your time to people in need like me. What you have done and the support you have shown me has had a massive impact on my life/future.
Thank you for supporting me throughout such a difficult time in my life. You have been absolutely amazing.’
Tamsin is now rebuilding her life and living independently with a level of confidence that she did not have before. She knows that she can always call hyh in the future if she needs advice or help.