Connect service

Louise*

Louise had never heard of Connect before they knocked on her door and she describes how when Connect ‘found’ her she was in a very stressful state as she was due to be evicted from her home later that week. 

She ‘signed off’ jobseekers allowance because of the shame that she felt for receiving the allowance looked for work herself.  Louise did not know this would affect her housing benefit and found herself in financial difficulties, unable to pay the rent.  The stress of the eviction was affecting her mental state and she felt totally alone, afraid and helpless.

Having just come from a homeless shelter she did not want to go back to that situation.  Louise talked through all her issues and felt confident that Connect had the right skills, contacts and knowledge to be able to help her. It was important to her that they did all of this with a very personal human approach.  We arranged an emergency meeting with a housing solicitor for Louise and she was able to stay in the house.

Louise said she was "so relieved and happy, that I cried on the phone."  Louise learned about the other services Connect had to offer and made use of them with things such as getting financial assistance with buying her daughter’s school uniform and sorting out overdue gas bills.  Louise was very happy to be contacted via Connect’s door knocking because she did not feel she could go out and seek help for herself as she was too overwhelmed by her problems.

Peter*

Peter first found out about Connect when they knocked on his door and told him about the support he could access through local services. This information and support was vital for Peter because he had accrued large debts through being unable to work and unable to pay bills. Peter was very low and anxious due to his situation.  

Connect has since put him in touch with services which have helped him in a number of other ways including access to legal support and adaptations to his home, getting a new bed to replace his old one (which had been stacked up on old milk crates) and helping to claim Disability Living Allowance for a degenerative condition which required an operation.  For Peter, one of Connect’s biggest merits is the fact that they were able to offer continued support in different areas of his life, and rather than just telling him where to get help they actually enabled him to make significant changes in his life.

Good Neighbours Schemes

Joy*

Joy is in her 50s and lives in one of our Good Neighbours Scheme areas. She has a mental health condition and arthritis. One day she walked past the communal gardens while one of our groups was doing some gardening. Our Coordinator went to speak to her about getting involved in the Good Neighbours Scheme. A few months later she started attending an arts and crafts class, as she has a keen interest in art. She was initially shy and withdrawn. But now she loves the opportunity and space to be creative and finds the art therapeutic. She has since got involved in other activities and started volunteering. 

"I attended the culture party here & I volunteered playing the different music that was being requested by the people. This had made me feel so good. I want to get out and do more voluntary work! I feel like a lot of progress has been made I have skills & I can help others.”

Joy’s engagement in the Good Neighbours Scheme activities is leading to an increase in her mental and physical wellbeing. She is building confidence in her ability to work and help others, and is on a pathway back to employment.

Sharon*

Sharon has used the Good Neighbours Scheme in the past and her 7 year old son attends one of our Good Neighbours Scheme's football sessions.

Sharon had noticed that that her son was really shy and often had problems making friends. This really worried her and she was unsure of what to do about it. Her girls are very outgoing and she saw that her son was missing out on fun things. 

Since joining the boys’ football training Sharon says that her son’s confidence has grown.

“He really loves the football and is so excited. He seems a lot tougher now and not so sensitive and is  forming better relationships with other children which I know is down to these sessions. This makes me  a very happy mum.”

Sharon really values the activities offered by the Good Neighbours Scheme and can see the difference these have made her to life and especially to her son’s life.  She is waiting and hoping for another football session to be added to the timetable!

(*Names have been changed.)