Reducing the impact of homelessness and social exclusion  

Macmillan Cancer Support. Change Lives at Grenfell with the world's biggest coffee morning. Come along on Friday 30th September at our Worsfold House site in Mitcham from 10 - 12 pm. Together we can make sure that no one faces cancer alone

Margaret's story

Margaret explains how Grenfell's floating support service helped her get back on her feet

My name is Margaret and I am married with three children. I first approached Grenfell's floating support service in 2011 because I was having difficulty in getting benefits.
I was working for a few years before I met my partner and due to low income I was receiving tax credits and housing benefit. We then decided to get married; however I became unemployed and had to apply for Job Seekers Allowance.

Delayed benefits
Because my husband is a non-European, applying for the benefit became very difficult and six months down the line the benefit still had not come through. At the same time, child tax credit, and housing benefit stopped and we ended up living on the child benefit for all that time.
I tried really hard to find a job but could not find anything and we were all suffering. We got into rent arrears, debt and unable to buy clothes for the children, we could not even afford to feed ourselves.
My husband and I were so depressed and stressed, we just did not know what to do or who to turn to for help. Many nights we just cried together.

Parenting course
To fill my time I went on a parenting course in Merton and feeling totally demoralised and down I approached my tutor and explained our situation. She then referred me to Grenfell where I met Sandra. I was just so relieved that someone could help me because by then things were so bad

Grenfell floating support
Sandra immediately contacted Christian Care and arranged for us to receive food parcels and vouchers. The Organisation also helped us with furniture. Sandra went with me to the Job Centre to find out why it was taking so long to receive JSA and to make sure that something was done about it. She then helped me apply for a crisis loan and within a couple of weeks I received JSA and a back dated payment. She also dealt with housing benefit and I received a back dated claim.
Eventually Sandra spoke to Grenfell’s facilities manager and the training department to see if I could do volunteering here as a security person and get additional training.
This was agreed and here is a picture of me at my desk.
I really love what I am doing at Grenfell everyone is so nice and helpful and I am learning a lot. My confidence is increasing and I am taking on more responsibility

Thank you Grenfell for everything.