Matthew, a married father of three, lives with his family in Coventry. Two of his children are away at university during term-time. However, as a registered carer for his severely disabled wife - who suffers with both mental and physical illnesses – Matthew has many responsibilities at home. So, when he was made redundant from his job in a car dealership three years ago, he took the opportunity to take some time out of work to look after his wife.
Matthew's family were living on his redundancy payment, but after about a year, things started to become more difficult financially as he was unsuccessful in finding work even though he was applying for numerous jobs. With a slight disability himself, Matthew was finding that employment opportunities were even harder to come by as he feels that “as soon as you mention it (the disability), they don’t want to know”.
Matthew recently found part-time work, but with an annual household income of less than £10,000, he found himself getting into arrears with the mortgage, electricity and heating bills and other regular monthly payments. Having missed payments of £600 for his fuel bill, Matthew knew that the family needed to seek help: “Obviously I needed some assistance”, he says.
After hearing something about Turn2us in the media, Matthew decided to browse the internet to find out a bit more and came across the Turn2us website. After giving the helpline a call, Matthew was put in touch with the charity Retail Trust which helps people who either have, or still do, work in the retail industry. Since Matthew's wife had previously worked for Asda, the family have been successful in receiving an annual grant of £800, of which £125 is paid every three months, with an additional £300 at Christmas.
Although the family still need to catch up with some of their bill payments, Matthew feels that the additional money coming in has made “a big difference”. While he appreciates that the money doesn’t alleviate the whole problem, he says it has helped and brings peace of mind knowing that there is a guaranteed income coming in regularly. In addition to paying off the family’s debts, it is allowing him to target “the little things that make a big difference”, such as brightening up the kitchen with a lick of paint, which he says will cheer his wife up a great deal.
Matthew now feels more positive about things and says he would recommend Turn2us to other people and says that they were “very friendly and helpful on the phone”. For others who are seeking help, he comments: “I’d say just give it a go. At the end of the day you’ve got nothing to lose and if someone is there, willing to help you, and as long as you’re genuine, then there are people out there willing to help you. Give them a go”.