“I have received a lifeline at my lowest point”
An Essex couple is encouraging others who may be struggling with issues affecting their health, housing and financial wellbeing to seek help from Essex County Council’s (ECC) Floating Support Service.
The outreach service, provided by Peabody, is available to help, support and protect individuals and families from becoming homeless due to financial difficulty, as well as the associated and often over-lapping problems that can also occur as a result.
The service was set-up as part of ECC’s commitment to ensuring that all residents have access to early help to prevent problems from escalating to crisis point.
Peabody offer information and advice to help people resolve issues so that they can feel more confident, are able to live more independently and can access support services within their local community.
Michael, 39, from Clacton was referred to the service after originally seeking mental health support.
He and his wife Joanne praise the “non-judgemental and understanding” help they and their children received from Peabody which set them on a path to a more positive future as a family.
Michael, said: “At a time of desperation and feeling overwhelmed, the process of reaching out was daunting, but it was easy to access support from Peabody.
“I have received a lifeline from them at my lowest point. I couldn’t see any way forward and I am so grateful to have received help.”
Peabody work with individuals and families to offer bespoke and different levels of support that meets their needs following an initial assessment.
The support offered to the family was provided in different ways and Peabody were able to help them to address multiple areas, including their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application, issues with their energy companies, contact with their GP and accessing food parcels.
Michael added: “The support has helped to greatly improve my mental health. We were supported with all aspects which in turn positively affected family life, especially over lockdown when we spent quality time together.
“Support has been given one-to-one via telephone, as a couple and at our family home. The children are fond of our Peabody advocate too.”
A constant thread throughout the family’s work with Peabody was the respect and kindness shown by their support worker, Caroline Clark.
Michael, said: “My support worker took the time to make us feel worthy of help and got to know us in order to best support me and my family. We were made to feel at ease and reassured there is help out there.
“Our support worker has maintained such professionalism, been consistent, approachable, kind and non-judgemental. She has inspired us to want to help other people in the community more and explore future opportunities.”
Following the family’s experiences with Peabody, the couple are encouraging other individuals and families to seek help if they need it.
Michael said: “We would highly recommend Peabody to others. Our experience has been great and highly valued.
“We feel we are in a far better place now. I also feel reassured that despite my disability, there is so much I can still give to my family. My wife feels like she has her husband back.
Michael added: “Even when small things feel huge, it is never too large or late to ask for help. Everything in life is a phase in which agencies like Peabody are always happy to help with.”
Anyone looking for support with issues that may be impacting their health, financial and housing wellbeing can contact Peabody for free online, by calling 0800 288 8883 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The service is available county-wide and to people over the age of 16 who need support, guidance or advice.
Essex residents can also find more information about other organisations that can help with money and debt issues online.
Further information, advice and guidance to support children, young people and their families with a range of different issues is also available through ECC’s Every Family Matters campaign.