Work & Health Case Study: Finding Greener Pastures
The Work & Health Programme is commissioned and financed by the Department for Work and Pensions and deemed to be a European Social Fund match funded programme.
In accordance with our client’s wishes, we have kept their identity anonymous for the purpose of this article.
Our client had been a self-employed tree surgeon and agricultural worker for the majority of their working life; over 30 years. Unfortunately, the client had to end his business owing to the COVID-19 Pandemic following the severe lack of work. They were keen to secure other opportunities available to them relative to the broad range of transferable skills and experience they had to offer. The client required help and support to find other work and during a meeting with their Jobcentre Plus Work Coach, they were recommended a referral to the Work & Health Programme; specifically, with the provider, Enable based in Ludlow.
The client started the Work & Health Programme remotely owing to no face-to-face contact at the Ludlow office as a result of COVID-19. It soon became very apparent that they was in an extremely concerning situation. The client’s partner had passed away several months ago and had left the property they owned to their son in her will. This was the client’s home and they had financially invested in it during the time they lived there with their partner – the solicitors were involved working on a financial settlement and the son was keen to secure ownership of the property as soon as possible. The client was extremely worried as they did not have anywhere to go/live – they had a sister locally, but her home was busy and full. The client’s Support Manager immediately completed a referral to Shelter to enable the client to gain the help and support they very much needed. Once the client had engaged with an Adviser from Shelter it was agreed that going forward, once they had a date in which they would need to leave the property, they would re-engage with Shelter to put the wheels in motion to secure accommodation.
The’s situation with the solicitors’ input dragged its feet and no date to vacate their home took its toll on them. The client needed to focus on securing employment and with the help of their Support Manager at Enable they secured an Assembly Operative position via an agency, working in Ludlow in February 2021. However, after just under a month into the role the client decided to leave as they were asked to work nights for less money and they weren’t prepared to continue. The client then decided to start self-employment again as a tree surgeon and other related agricultural work in March 2021 – things were looking brighter in terms of the pandemic and the ability to work in areas which had been previously restricted for them. Their previous customers were approaching them to complete contracts for them and they decided to take the plunge.
In late April 2021 an agreement was reached with the client’s solicitor and the son’s solicitor for a financial settlement and they received a date to vacate the property, being 21st May 2021. The client had nowhere to go – they still had their workshop on the land of a farm they had stored equipment in for many years, but no clear sight of securing other accommodation at an affordable price. Rented suitable property in South Shropshire is at a premium price range and was very over-subscribed – as soon as properties were advertised, they were taken very quickly. The client’s Support Manager completed another referral to Shelter and the client was engaged quickly – they found this support to be extremely helpful but as time went on they felt no closer to securing another home as many available properties within reasonable distance of their working locations were advertised and taken very quickly. Nonetheless, the client knew where they stood with regards to the help, advice, and guidance given to them by Shelter and appreciated their invaluable help to try and find them somewhere to live and their legal standing. The client’s Support Manager, through local knowledge also advised on available properties and they visited a couple of these.
The client came to an agreement with their deceased partner’s son that the date to leave the property would be moved back to May 28th to give them another week. Only just a few days before their time to leave, they spoke to a good friend who owned property a few miles away in a small town and was advised of a relatively new build flat becoming available – their friend knew the landlady very well and put in a recommendation for them as an excellent potential tenant. As a result, the client was successful in securing a place to live and they were extremely happy with the outcome. At last, a place to call their own and without the continued fear of becoming homeless. The client achieved this at the 11th hour; they were able to stay with their sister for a few days until they were handed the keys and has now moved in. The client is now living in a very nice, comfortable, and well-appointed home and feels mightily relieved that they now have a secure roof over their head and that they can forge ahead with their self-employment to provide them with a better future.
My time on the Work & Health Programme has been absolutely brilliant. My Support Manager has been an invaluable source of help, support, advice, and guidance throughout this whole journey and the difficulties I have faced. I feel that my Support Manager has gone overboard in helping me to find accommodation as well as everything else she has done relative to securing employment and starting my own business. Having someone to talk to has been so incredibly helpful and this has enabled me to get through my toughest times with regards to the awful circumstances I found myself in. Everything is looking so much brighter now.