How Gaynor gained the confidence to live independently for the first time with the help of our tenancy sustainment team

“I feel 100 percent better now,” says Gaynor, since receiving support from the team

When 60-year-old Gaynor moved into her bungalow in Little Hulton last summer, she felt overwhelmed. She had never lived alone before, and her brother and father had just passed away.

Gaynor has learning disabilities, which means she needs help with everyday activities such as household tasks, managing money, and getting the bus to the shops.

When she moved into her new home, our housing officer identified that Gaynor needed extra support and put her in touch with the Tenancy Sustainment Team.

Natalie, one of our Tenancy Sustainment Officers has been working with Gaynor since then, visiting her as and when she needs support.

Here she explains how Gaynor is now growing in confidence and living independently thanks to having the right support in place.

Doubling Gaynor’s income

Natalie said: “When I first met Gaynor, she didn’t have enough money to live on. Her sister was managing her money and bills on her behalf, but it had got to a point where it was difficult for her sister to cope with all of that.

“By supporting Gaynor, she was able to double her income by securing benefits she was entitled to including Personal Independence Payments (PIP). While she was waiting for her PIP to come through, she received £150 for food and £150 for gas and electricity bills from Salford City Council’s Household Support Fund. This was a real lifeline for Gaynor at the time. I also advocated for her to get an old debt of her father’s quashed by calling the water company to explain the situation.

“Gaynor now has a much more manageable budget, is on top of all her bills, and feels she can now manage her own money.”

Making a house a home

“When Gaynor first moved into her own home she was struggling to get by, so I arranged for her to receive food parcels from the local food bank and two free food shops from local charity Mustard Tree each week.

“But now that her income has increased, she enjoys a weekly visit to the supermarket to get her food shopping with her sister.

“Through our LiveWell fund Gaynor was able to get a new microwave when she first moved into her new home. The fund provides support to buy essentials if you are in crisis and can’t afford them. Once her new benefits were in place and backdated, she bought a new cooker and TV so her house could start to feel more like a home.”

Advocating and getting support in place

“The job centre had Gaynor listed as a job-seeker, which was not appropriate given her circumstances. She had to go in person to report there regularly which made her feel really anxious. I went with Gaynor to her next appointment at the job centre and advocated on her behalf to make the case for these in-person visits to be switched to phone-calls. This has been a huge weight off her mind.

“I also supported her to apply for recognition of her limited capability to work by completing the required paperwork. The process takes some time and we’re now waiting for notification for this to be granted.

“After discussion, and once we had built a good relationship, we agreed it would be good to meet with social services about further support to help her live independently.

“This has led to a carer being put in place who visits every day and supports her to cook meals and keep her home clean and tidy. Gaynor is benefiting hugely from having a care package in place and it’s great to see how she is thriving now in her new home.

“It’s wonderful to see how her confidence has grown now she has the support in place that she needs to live independently.

“A real high point was at Christmas time when Gaynor was able to buy her first Christmas tree in 20 years and buy gifts for her sisters. I know she was over the moon about that, and I was delighted for her too.”

I feel 100 percent better now

Reflecting on the support Natalie has provided, Gaynor commented: “I feel 100 percent better now than I did before I got this support. I’m so thankful to Natalie and would do anything for her because I know she’d do anything to help me.

“Natalie is the best, she has changed my life. I don’t know how I would have coped living on my own without her, I’m so much happier now. Thank you for everything.”

Gaynor’s story brings to life the positive impact the work of the Tenancy Sustainment team has on people’s lives.

The Tenancy Sustainment team can help you live independently, be part of your community, and help you to keep your home.

If you or someone you know needs support from the service, you can get in touch with them and find out more here.