Bank Workers Charity partnership case study: Maria

When Maria approached BWC for support, she was faced with financial, employment and health concerns. Maria, a previous bank employee who left the sector in 2000, was referred to Leonard Cheshire Disability for further information, advice and guidance.

Maria explained to Julie Hayes, Leonard Cheshire's client support advisor, that she had been affected by stress and anxiety. This had led to a negative impact on her mental health and wellbeing with her doctor signing her off work.

Maria did return but found it a struggle and had further time off for common illnesses. Her current employer started formal action around her sickness leave. This forced Maria to stay in work even when she was feeling very low. Her employers requested an assessment with an occupational therapist, to which the client agreed, and she was also being supported by her Union Rep. Julie offered a listening ear and further information and guidance around disability rights and reasonable adjustments. Maria’s employer has now started to put some measures in place for her to try and reduce any work related stress and she still receives support from her union rep.

The time off work had impacted on Maria’s finances and she had failed to meet some of her commitments. Julie offered Maria money management and budgeting advice. They worked together to produce an income and expenditure sheet. Julie suggested that Maria speak with her lenders regarding her current situation to reduce payments while Maria worked hard to get her finances back under control.

Maria’s main concern was utility bill arrears that had built up. Julie provided assistance to complete a grant application with Charis, an energy trust fund that provides help to clear outstanding arrears of some energy companies' customers. Julie helped Maria explain how the arrears had come about and what measures Maria would put in place to prevent this happening again in the future. The application was submitted to the trust. Maria was delighted when she heard that the application had been successful with an award of £1345 which cleared her gas and electric arrears.

Maria is now putting into practice good money management/budgeting skills — which she learnt while receiving support from Julie — to prevent this happening again and to keep on top of her spending. Maria said that the successful application alleviated some of the stress around her finances and started to have a positive impact on her mental health.