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Helen and Sam's Story

Helen and Sam's Story

“After receiving support from BBO, the feeling of relief we experienced is in-describable. I wish more people had access to their service.”

An interview with Helen, a BBO customer and Sam, her BBO Debt & Benefit Advisor.

Helen-

Nine months ago it looked like I was going to have to go back to selling the Big Issue. Fast-forward to today and I’m now studying at college with plans to open my own clinic offering therapies for people. For so long that has seemed like an impossible dream, but now it could actually happen!

Talking about life before the support of BBO is very overwhelming and emotional. My partner Norman has ME and this time last year we were desperately trying to apply for the support that would allow us to live and to provide for Norman’s young son. Every time we filled out the applications we got them back and were rejected. I couldn’t function or think because we were so stressed. It is an unimaginable situation to find yourself in when you’re at your most vulnerable. 

And then BBO came along and changed everything. With their debt and benefit support we now receive the benefits we’re entitled to and I’ve started studying on a course that will enable me to get the career I’ve always dreamed of. 

The ironic thing is that Norman is actually probably more ill with ME now than he was 9 months ago, but because he’s no longer stressed about our finances, his health actually seems to have improved. I will forever be grateful for BBO's support.

 

Sam-

“As a Benefit Advisor my role is to make sure that families get the support that they’re entitled to.”

I was attracted to the role working with BBO because it’s the first programme I’ve seen for a long time that adopts a holistic approach to helping someone find and secure employment. If someone’s not financially secure they have no way of looking to the future so it’s really important to sort that out before customers can be in a position to consider employment. 

Filling out forms for ESA and PIP can be an unpleasant experience. But that’s where I come in. I was able to help Helen and Norman with the complexities of the forms and I was in a position where I could be a voice of positivity and hope for them. 

Seeing people able to move on in their life is so rewarding and it’s a joy to see how much Helen has blossomed throughout the past 9 months. 

South Yorkshire Housing Association

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