Spotting when someone needs help

Mental health can sometimes be a barrier in our wellbeing, that’s why when someone is struggling, we go above and beyond to help those in need.

Richard* is deaf and has learning difficulties as well as suffering from his mental health. He was first put in contact with the Tenant Extra Support Service (TESS) because he was in rent arrears, council tax debt and had no furniture in his home. His flat also had no heating or hot water. We believe that everyone feel safe and comfortable in their own home and so we felt it was important that Richard got the support he needed.

After being assessed by TESS, they worked in partnership with the local fire service who arranged for a pillow alarm and hearing loop system to be fitted in Richard’s home to help with his hearing difficulties. As well as an engineer to visit Richard’s home to fix the problem with his gas supply so to make sure he has a warm home and hot water.

In the past Richard had relied on food parcels, but since he didn’t have a fridge, the foodbank struggled to provide him with the appropriate food as he couldn’t keep it chilled. Having access to fresh food is a necessity in everybody’s life and good for their wellbeing, so TESS worked with Glasspool Charity who gave Richard a fridge for him to store his food in.

We could see that Richard needed additional help with managing his money, so we organised a Discretionary Housing Payment of £651.87 to be given to Richard to help clear his rent arrears. This meant that he no longer has to worry about being evicted. Because of his mental health, Richard no longer has to pay council tax and has been refunded on the money he has paid in the past.

Since these changes have been made in Richard’s life, he said: “TESS has kept in touch with me throughout lockdown which has really boosted my mental health. I have painted my entire flat and I am feeling much more positive. The TESS officer that has helped me through this time has made a real difference!”

*Name has been changed to protect individual’s identity