Service users stories
Craig was referred when he became homeless. He had been a fulltime carer for his Mum, but when she passed away he found he couldn’t cope. He lost his tenancy and became homeless. When he came to the Welcome Centre he wasn’t in receipt of any benefits and had borrowed money off his friends to survive.
We were able to support Craig with food parcels and helped him to apply for benefits. He was signposted to a local housing agency, which were able to offer him a place on a shared accommodation scheme. Craig wanted to become an apprentice and we worked on a one to one basis to help build his confidence and to prepare him for his interview. He is now working full time as an apprentice and has been allocated a housing support worker, who is supporting him in his new tenancy.
“I was homeless and didn’t know what to do. I had no money and was in debt to my friends. The Welcome Centre helped me to get back on my feet and I’m now training for my dream job.”
Lynne was referred to the Welcome Centre after the breakdown of her marriage due to domestic violence. She was offered temporary accommodation but had no belongings with her.
We were able to offer her a household pack, bedding and towels and helped her to apply for benefits for herself and her three children. We also made a referral to a specialist agency that offers support in cases of domestic violence. They allocated Lynne a support worker who was able to attend court with her
Lynne’s children had the opportunity to go on a school holiday but she had no money to pay for this. We applied for a charitable grant for her and she was then able to pay for them to attend.
“I had to leave my home quickly and had nothing. The Welcome Centre helped me to get my benefits and things for my new home, I really needed their help”
Jean is 86 and living in her own property in Slaithwaite but gets support from her carer. She has early stages of dementia and has support to manage her money, collect her pension etc.
Due to cutbacks by the local authority she has had her care hours reduced and she had to collect her money alone. When trying to use the cash point she forgot her pin number several times and her card was swallowed and she has forgotten the security information to unlock it.
Jean was left without any money and couldn’t buy her weekly shop; with no family to support her, her social worker organised for a food parcel to help her out. Without this support from the Welcome Centre Jean could have been left hungry and a crisis was averted.
Fred was reluctant to accept help; he had been in the army and worked all his life. When he lost his job he tried to cope but soon got in debt as he had more outgoing than he could now manage to pay.
The Welcome Centre helped him with food parcels and also contacted his creditors to negotiate a debt management plan, which Fred was able to manage to pay.
“I’d stopped opening my mail, they were all demanding payment. I didn’t want to ask for help, but couldn’t manage. The Welcome Centre helped me to arrange to pay off my debts in a manageable way.”
John has been a self-employed chip shop owner for a long time but a few years ago he was diagnosed with three blood clots. This meant hospitalisation and led to a major financial crisis; he lost his business, couldn’t pay his mortgage and lost his home.
His partner was working full time, however became pregnant and went on maternity. Whilst she was off on maternity leave the stresses of everything became too much and she was hospitalised following a breakdown. John’s health means he can no longer work and has to struggle to help look after his 2 ½ year old child.
His partner is on sick leave however statutory sick pay is reducing quickly and she’s waiting for Personal Independence Payments (Replaces Disability Living Allowance) to be approved. They’ve waited 22 weeks so far for this to be processed and could not have survived without the support of the Welcome Centre for food and nappies.
John said “I’ve worked all my life, I’ve never scrounged and we’ve been let down by a system for taking so long to help us. I couldn’t have got by and fed my daughter without the kind support of the centre and ladies like Tina and the volunteers. I will get back on my feet and when I do I’ll be back to help however I can”
Jane was referred to the Welcome Centre by the Huddersfield Mission Advisors, for a 3 person food parcel – she has two children and has had her benefits changes to Job Seekers Allowance and she’s been trying to find work since.
As a stay at home mum for over 17 years she’s now finding that lack of work experience is holding her back. She’s struggling to make ends meet with benefit deductions, as well as historical debts for TV licence and utility bills.
The reduction in income and the deductions for decisions she made in the past are not helping – she chose not to pay her TV licence so she could pay for heating and food.
“I’m on my own in Huddersfield with my kids; I’ve got no family to help me so I’ve got no one to turn to. I just feel like screaming. I don’t want to ask for help but I’ve got £15 a week to live on with two hungry and growing kids. I’m applying for so many jobs but I don’t even hear back from them. I don’t know what I’m going to do for Easter and birthdays. This isn’t how I imagined things to be. I don’t know where I would have gone without being able to come here, but I can’t see how I am going to get out of this situation unless someone offers me a job”
(names are changed to respect service users privacy)