Philippe was earning a good wage as a long-distance lorry driver delivering goods around Europe. As he was always on the road and often away from home for months at a time, he carried most of his belongings with him in his lorry.
Ten months ago, Philippe was involved in an accident in which his lorry caught fire. As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, shortly afterwards he suffered a heart attack.
Uncertain about whether it was a heart attack and blackout which had caused the accident, doctors advised him not to risk driving until they could be sure he was safe to do so. Philippe still has his driving licence suspended and has found himself not only unable to work, but also deprived of his possessions: as a long distance lorry driver, he would have to take six-seven weeks’ worth of possessions with him at any one time and therefore lost everything in the fire. In his own words, “it’s been a long, hard year”.
Philippe's struggle to make ends meet
Returning to his house in the Highlands, he was dismayed to discover that he would not receive any compensation from his Dutch employers. Also, even though he had been paying UK taxes, he was also only entitled to £60 per week in benefits – a big difference from his £42,000 a year income before the accident.
Living in an expensive part of the Scottish Highlands, he found it hard to cope with everyday costs as the area is orientated towards the affluent tourist market. His family and friends stepped in to help with his food costs, but Philippe still has to eke out his benefits by sharing food with another man in the village who is in a similar financial situation. He was also concerned that he would be put on an electricity meter and remarks that he “would have needed to buy electricity out of my dole money”.
It has kept the lights going, kept me using the cooker and that’s been fantastic”.
Philippe's help fromTurn2us
Philippe turned to the local Citizen’s Advice bureau (CAB) who have been helping him with his personal injury compensation claim. After a recommendation from the CAB, he also applied for grants through the Turn2us Grants Search was successful in his application to BEN, a specialist charity for those who have worked in the automotive industry. Turn2us also got in touch with the Haulage Association on Philippe’s behalf. In total, BEN gave him £600 and he received a further £200 from the Haulage Association. Although he originally wished to use the money to help him replace his lost clothes, the money has allowed him to pay for his TV licence and electricity bills.
Philippe is still worried about the future and the electricity bill continues to be a real concern for him. However, the help he received has meant he has avoided having to go on an electricity meter which he wouldn’t be able to afford on his current finances. Although the financial aid “hasn’t been life changing”, he says it has saved him from “severe hardship” and made things “a little bit easier”.
Philippe says he would recommend Turn2us and has already encouraged others to do so in the past few months. He says: “It has kept the lights going, kept me using the cooker and that’s been fantastic”. He says that Turn2us and BEN have “helped me as much as they could” and that “it’s the only help I’ve received”.