A key focus for our Advice and Wellbeing team is supporting customers to access grants and funding for essential items or activities to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health.
One of our Wellbeing Specialists, Michelle, has been working with Catalyst customer Mark since 2019, when he first moved into his new home. Michelle’s role at this time was to help him get settled in after a history of homelessness since separating from his ex-partner a few years earlier.
While homeless, Mark experienced depression and anxiety and at times felt suicidal. Because of these health conditions, Mark has found it hard to work, and his care worker – who he sees every ten days – advised him to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
”'I helped Mark set up his Council Tax reduction, Housing Benefit and his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and supported him to successfully claim a PIP of £60 a week. I also assisted him to claim severe disability allowance giving him an extra £67.30 each week on his ESA.'Michelle - Wellbeing Specialist
While working with Mark, Michelle became aware that he didn’t have a bed, washing machine or a cooker in his home. She supported Mark to apply for a grant through our Catalyst Housing Charitable Trust (CHCT) Customer Support Fund, helping him purchase a new bed and cooker. In addition, she contacted a charity called Glasspool Charity Trust that provided Mark with a new washing machine.
After initially settling in well, Mark began to struggle with the responsibilities of living in his own home. In January 2020, the housing team contacted Michelle because they hadn’t been able to speak with Mark for a while and were concerned.
Michelle explains, ‘I got in touch with Mark and arranged to visit him with Sonal, our tenancy sustainment manager. Mark was open and said he found living in his new home difficult, and he tended to stay in his bedroom. He had no furniture in his front room, so we ordered some blinds to give him some privacy and help it feel more homely for him.’
Mark says, ‘I am very grateful for all the help and ongoing support Michelle and Sonal have given me. They’ve helped me improve my situation and assisted me in managing the transition from homelessness to living in my own home.’
Michelle has kept in contact with Mark and recently helped him with his latest PIP application, which needed renewing. Michelle says, ‘I’m very pleased that he was able to stay in his home and has a full tenancy that gives him the security he needs due to our support.’
Would you like help from our Advice and Wellbeing team?
Our Advice and Wellbeing team offer a range of free and confidential support.
Whether you need money and benefits support, guidance on training and employment, help to improve your digital skills or want to talk to us about how to receive more support for your mental, emotional, and physical health – we’re here for you.
The team will work with you to assess your needs and give you a dedicated wellbeing specialist for one-to-one advice to help you access the support you need.