Like many people up and down the country, Havebury tenant Natasha (not her real name) has been hugely affected by the pandemic.
Her work as a hairdresser abruptly came to a halt during the first national lockdown last March. And it has been stop and start for her salon ever since. Natasha found herself in a desperate position, trying to keep her home warm and food on the table for her two young boys.
“I just couldn’t keep up with my outgoings,” she explained. “There were days when I couldn’t afford breakfast, and we had no heating for a while because I’d run out of oil. “I’m quite a proud person and I didn’t want people to know I was struggling. When you’re in that mindset, you just don’t know which way to turn. It got to a point where I would worry I was going to lose my house.”
When the situation reached fever pitch, Natasha realised she would have to contact Havebury’s Welfare team.
“I’ve always muddled through on my own, but I had to get help for my children’s sake,” she said. “I eventually spoke to Lauren Hollands and cried my eyes out. “Lauren was really good at reading the situation without me having to say too much – I definitely reached out to the right person.”
How did we help?
Lauren was able to help Natasha with a new Universal Credit claim. This has since increased her household income by more than £1,100 a month.
Natasha was also given 800 litres of oil to heat her home, along with a £10 Love2shop voucher donated by recruitment company Goodman Masson. What’s more, she made a successful application to Havebury’s Tenants’ Hardship Fund, receiving £250 to spend on food for her family.
Natasha said: “It’s amazing; I can go shopping without worrying now, and can even buy the boys a takeaway pizza once a month. It’s encouraged me to be more responsible, and I’m better at budgeting now.”
She added: “I want to give something back to other people; I received a hamper with ingredients to make eight meals. I gave that to my
friend; she rents privately and isn’t getting any help which doesn’t seem fair.”
The mum urged other tenants in a similar position to get in touch with Havebury. “I want them to know that they’re not alone,” she said. “I feel like I’m in a community with Havebury now, which is lovely.”
To get support and further information please call Income and Support on 0300 3300 900, selecting options 2, 2 and 3 or click here.
If you are working from home click here to find out how you could be entitled to some money back on your tax.