Debt and rent arrears meant Helen was worried about losing her flat

Black and white image of a lady

Helen's story

I’d worked at a high street bank for over 13 years, I liked my job and thought I earned a fair salary but I’d always found it hard to make ends meet and I’d never managed to save. Recently my rent had increased faster than my income and even though I’d always found money tight taking extended sick leave meant things had got a bit out of control.

I thought things might be OK when I got back to work, but I just wasn’t earning enough to cover my debt and when I received a letter from my landlord about eviction I began to panic. I tried as hard as I could but found all the advice confusing and my whole situation overwhelming. I did think about talking to HR but I was worried, because working for a bank you don’t really want to be talking about your debt.

I saw a poster about the Bank Workers Charity on the notice board at work, to be honest I didn’t even know there was a charity for people who worked in banking, so I decided to give them a call.

For the first time I couldn’t pay off my credit cards and I'd got myself in rent arrears.

How BWC helped

Helen called us in late summer, she’d clearly had a pretty tough time of things so we set up an appointment for a chat to help us understand how we could help.

When we talked to Helen it seemed she was experiencing the symptoms of anxiety, possibly due to her concerns about losing her flat. We worked with Helen to check her benefits and found she was entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Helen also agreed to be referred to StepChange Debt Charity, one of our partners, and together they made sure she understood which debts were a priority and which were less urgent, they then worked to design a budget that Helen felt she could stick to. Helen’s budget allowed her to make additional rent payments each month and to avoid eviction we were able to make a one-off grant to reduce her rent arrears.

With the debt plan in place Helen still felt anxious so we referred her to our mental health service which is managed by Anxiety UK. Helen had a series of counselling sessions and now has ongoing access to resources to help manage her anxiety.

How Helen's doing now

I still have debts but I feel that I can manage them. Better still I have started to save a little money every month so I’m ready for those unexpected costs. I  still have anxious moments but know that if things get out of control again I have somewhere to turn for help.

More practical advice

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