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Elizabeth Finn Fund: Stories

Read how Elizabeth Finn Fund helped Barbara, Tom, Dougal and Morag


Barbara and Tom

Barbara and Tom, a retired couple in their late 60s, applied to the Elizabeth Finn Fund two years ago after Tom retired from his job as a primary school teacher. Barbara used to work as a personal assistant until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 54 and started to claim disability benefits.  

After Tom retired, the couple found they could no longer manage large bills and expenses that often came out of the blue. As Barbara’s condition worsened, she became increasingly reliant on her wheelchair, especially if she wanted to leave the house. Their local authority installed ramps so Tom could take her out in the wheelchair, but he found it increasingly difficult to push Barbara for long distances. Barbara found her social isolation and dependency on Tom increasingly difficult to cope with and developed depression as well as agoraphobia.  

Grants help

With no further funding available, the couple’s social worker suggested that they consider applying to the Elizabeth Finn Fund. Barbara and Tom made an application for help with the cost of a motorised scooter. After carrying out an assessment of their finances to ensure the couple met the eligibility criteria, the Elizabeth Finn Fund arranged for an occupational therapist to visit Barbara. He recommended a vehicle that suitably met Barbara’s needs. The Elizabeth Finn Fund were then able to award a grant to cover this cost.  

Having a motorised scooter has given Barbara back her independence and a new lease of life.  The couple can now go to the local shops and GP surgery without using the car. Barbara also feels confident enough to go out on her own again.

Dougal and Morag

62 year old Dougal lives with his wife, Morag, in their rented home in Scotland.

Morag has a chronic illness so Dougal is the sole breadwinner.

Dougal worked in the Merchant Navy for many years but was eventually made redundant.

After losing his job, Dougal sought advice from the local Citizens Advice bureau, which helped the couple to claim around £1,000 a month in benefits. This income helped but it was not enough to cover all their outgoings and they had to supplement it with Dougal’s redundancy pay and pension.

Eventually Dougal’s redundancy pay and pension had completely run out.

“We were in a very big mess,” he says. “Unable to meet nearly all our bills, including the rent.”
This took its toll on Dougal. “I’m a master mariner,” he explains, “I’d worked all my life in the Merchant Navy and then on shore in the office. This was the first time I’d been unemployed. To suddenly find that I couldn’t meet my commitments and put food on the table - it was very, very depressing.”

Grants help

Dougal was advised by the Merchant Navy Board to seek out a grant from a charitable fund. After typing ‘grants’ into Google, he found the Turn2us website.

Using our “very easy to use” Grants Search tool, Dougal identified the Turn2us Elizabeth Finn Fund as a possible source of help. After going through our application process, to identify his needs and confirm he qualified for our support, Dougal was awarded a one-off grant of £1,500.

“It was such a pleasant surprise,” he remembers. “I was very emotional because I didn’t expect that kind of help. The grant allowed us to get back on our feet, pay off the critical priority bills and allowed me time to sort things out so we could have a peaceful existence.”

Signposting to other services

Charitable funds like the Turn2us Elizabeth Finn fund can often also signpost applicants to other services that might be able to help them. Dougal was prompted to contact his energy provider, Scottish Power, regarding the bills he had been unable to pay. He was able to claim help from their hardship fund and have them written off.

Date of publication: 27 March 2017