News & Events

From skint to flush: How John was supported to take control of his finances

Posted on 26th February 2021

When our staff realised how money worries were creating anxiety in John's life they worked alongside him to find a way he could take control and have cash left over for the things he really wanted to do.

Prior to lockdown in 2020 John found it difficult to budget his money and make his money last a whole week. He referred to his financial situation as “always skint”. John spent a lot of money he couldn’t afford on fast food, averaging 3-4 take-aways every week, usually Chinese food and pizza deliveries.

Meanwhile his household bills were often unpaid and John found himself in debt and was unable to manage his finances. He often incurred late payment charges which caused him feelings of anxiety and panic. John sometimes found himself unable to top up his gas meter to put the heating on or have a shower.

It became apparent that John needed help so with his permission and involvement, we put together a manageable budget plan to cover existing bills and pay off the arrears over the course of the year. Support plans were put in place which involved staff accompanying and supporting John to pay his bills every Thursday which has worked well as all of his arrears are now paid off and his weekly bills have reduced significantly.

Staff also arranged for two new smart meters to be installed in John’s house and an agreement was reached with the service supplier to allow John to pay money into this account every week as part of the budget plan. This account like all the other accounts is now in credit to ensure he never loses supply of gas or electricity again.

Another support plan was put in place during the first national lockdown 2020, to help John to cook and eat meals in his own house in order that he break the habit of ordering take-away food. On Tuesday staff help John to make a list of meals he would like to eat in the coming week which forms the basis of a shopping list. On Wednesday, staff take John to his local supermarket and support him to shop for the ingredients he will need for these meals.

John is supported seven days a week and each day staff now assist John to prepare and cook a breakfast and evening meal of his choice using healthy options where possible. This has had a positive impact on his finances as it is much cheaper to eat at home than the expensive take-aways he has been used to.

In September of last year, staff had a chat with John and pointed out how much money he has left over every week as a result of the successful support plans to reduce bills and cut down on food expenses. John was agreeable to a suggestion that he should put the extra money away every week and start a savings fund. We called this the “Nae Mare Take-Aways Fund”.

John was surprised and delighted at how quickly the fund grew and he has become more motivated as time has gone on to contribute as much as he can. John has been encouraged to save towards things he’s always wanted but has not been able to afford like clothes, an upgrade on his old phone, a new sofa and PS4 games to keep him busy during lockdown. John enjoys counting out the money he has saved, it brings a smile to his face to know he achieved his goal to be “flush… not skint”! He enjoys telling staff he is now the richest guy he knows!

John is relaxed and happy to know he doesn’t need to worry about his finances anymore and enjoys well deserved praise and positive feedback from the team about how well he is doing and how far he has come. He has worked hard, listened to advice and has followed support plans in order to turn things around.

I am very proud to be part of a team that have often gone above and beyond to help make this happen, providing John with first class meals, help, advice and encouragement to keep him on top of his finances and commitments. The team have communicated with each other on a daily basis to ensure continuity in John’s support and pass on relevant information where necessary whilst following weekly support planners to make sure nothing is missed. The Support Workers and Senior Support Worker in the team have worked well together to change a young man’s life for the better, allowing him to sleep at night without worry or anxieties concerning his finances.

Last year was a difficult year for many but our support team and the management team have worked tirelessly to make sure it was also a year of success and achievement for John and for many others like him.