This is the fourth blog post in a series highlighting the inspiring work of our Social Prescribing Link Workers. Previously, Wayne, Becky and Glenn highlighted some of the ways our Link Workers listen and support their patients, helping them to improve their confidence and develop their independence.
To support the UN’s #16days of activism against gender-based violence this blog will look at the support given to Ellie* by Link Worker Liana after Ellie separated from her husband. Much like all our Link Workers, Liana was able to listen and offer guidance to help Ellie deal with the practical problems she was facing after her life changed. This allowed her to have better control over her finances, set boundaries with her ex’s family as well as find more permanent housing.
Ellie was referred to a Link Worker by her GP because it was felt she needed additional support. A mother of three, Ellie had recently separated from her husband because of domestic abuse.
Link Worker Liana called Ellie as soon as possible to find out more about her situation and to talk through how she may be able to help.
Ellie told Liana that, although she was working, she was struggling – both financially and emotionally. After moving out and living with a friend for a while, she and her children were now living in a property rented from a private landlord, but it wasn’t ideal and she was finding it hard to budget. She was also finding the new family situation very hard; she wanted her children to be able to see her ex-partner’s family, but was finding the management of these relationships difficult and it was causing her a great deal of anxiety.
Liana realised that Ellie’s confidence was very low and that she would need help to rebuild it after such big changes. Between them, they established that Ellie’s priorities were to get a handle on her finances, to feel more confident about setting boundaries with her ex’s family, and to secure a more permanent housing solution.
The first referral Liana made was to Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families, which would be able to provide expert advice and help Ellie to make the necessary arrangements for child support.
Then she helped Ellie to make some benefits calculations, putting her in touch with the benefits agency and helping her to research and claim for the benefits she was entitled to.
Liana also helped Ellie to budget and find more suitable ways to manage her day-to-day finances. She showed her how to apply for the Severn Trent Trust fund and their Big Difference Scheme, which is for people on a low income, to see if she would be eligible to make non-standard payment arrangement for water bills.
The housing situation was very important to Ellie, so Liana and Ellie looked at all the options available to her. They contacted Birmingham City Council to find out current waiting times, and talked about applying to local housing associations – for which Liana was able to give Ellie all the information and contact details she needed.
This practical help, together with the amount of time Liana has been able to give Ellie to talk things through and decide for herself what she and her family need, has been a great help to Ellie. She’s found ways to allow her children to see their dad’s family in a way that causes her much less stress, and is feeling much more confident about her future.
* Ellie’s name has been changed