South West Community Chaplaincy works with many people with a wide variety of needs, but some needs seem to come up again and again.
One of the clients we work with has really struggled with Universal Credit. He was released from prison with very little ID. An organisation called Catch 22 helped him set up an initial bank account with one of the big banks and helped him register with Universal Credit early on.
However, it then took weeks for the first universal credit payment to come through, then it came in a large lump. The problem he faces is how to manage his money sensibly when he receives it all in one lump each month. He has had very little experience with budgeting and owes money in various places. He has become a regular at the local food bank, but has also become very used to going hungry for several days at a time while he waits for his next payment to come through. He was very ashamed of his problems - it turned out money has become a source of constant strain on his mental health and his general wellbeing.
We were able to help him make contact with Christians Against Poverty, CAP and make an initial appointment. They are now involved and he is looking forward to working with them to help him get his money issues under control. They are an amazing charity that helps clients manage debts and start to learn to budget.
Many of our clients struggle with money issues - the Universal Credit system is proving difficult for many of our clients to navigate. This is especially true when they lead chaotic lives, struggle with mental health, or simply have not had much experience of living within the law, on a budget.
Our aim in these situations, is to meet our clients where they are at, alleviate suffering where we can, signpost to help, and encourage them to start to make good choices as they start to piece their lives together.
If you or someone you know is struggling with debt, click here.