Emma's story — a journey toward independence
‘I had been coping with chronic fatigue syndrome, IBS, anxiety and insomnia, at the same time as caring for my husband with huntingdon's disease. My children also have health conditions.
‘I was in the process of applying for adaptations to my home, organising my own social care, and applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) — which was then turned down.
‘I felt overwhelmed and unable to cope, I was constantly exhausted and in a bad place both physically and mentally. I was trying to study for my degree, but the amount of things I had to worry about made this almost impossible. I approached the Bank Workers Charity (BWC) who referred me to Leonard Cheshire Disability for support and guidance.
‘My advisor at Leonard Cheshire supported me in lots of different ways. I successfully appealed my PIP decision which I don't think would have been successful without them. They helped identify case law and arguments that supported my case, and gave me the strength and confidence to carry on.
‘As well as increasing our income, this meant I was entitled to a Blue Badge. This has made my life so much easier and now I have the confidence to go out without worrying. I recently went on a friend's hen do in Brighton — having the badge made this possible.
‘I also received support to negotiate with my landlord. Now I have a shower and wet room, which has made a huge difference. I can wash even when I wake up in pain and can’t physically get into the bath.
‘My social anxiety about being clean and presentable has really reduced. BWC also kindly agreed to fund a specialist mattress, which has meant I am getting a lot more sleep and really improving my quality of life.
‘Another area Leonard Cheshire Disability looked at was my planned holiday to America. I was feeling so anxious about whether I would be able to manage with my disabilities. My advisor looked into all of this, finding and sending an accessibility guide to New York, and putting me in touch with a scheme where we can talk to and get advice from disabled people who live in the city.
‘They also supported me to find mobility equipment to hire, and organise help at the airport. Now I am able to enjoy planning my trip and just think about all the fun I am going to have!
‘Finally I was able to finish my studies and graduate with first class honours. The support and my reduction in stress allowed me to focus on studying. Since then both my mental and physical health has improved.
‘I’ve started putting my degree to use volunteering at my local carers centre, which is really interesting, and I’m hoping to eventually get a paid job there doing advice and advocacy work.’
We work in partnership with BWC to improve the lives of current and former bank workers by providing information and guidance, as well as helping them access financial support. BWC funded the service we delivered to Emma.
Our service is tailored to your needs and provides you with personalised information and advice or mentoring support. If you work or have worked for a bank, get in touch to find out how we can help you or your family.