Ivy has overcome her fair share of hardship over the years.
She has lost her mum, husband, stepson and dad. The constant cycle of bereavement took its toll on her mental health, leaving her depressed and reliant on medication.
Ivy said: “I’ve been a carer pretty much my whole adult life – I’ve nursed various family members through illnesses.
“As a carer, I have had to do my fair share of heavy lifting. I’ve suffered three slipped discs and my spine is shot to pieces. I also have arthritis so the pain is excruciating
“Some days, I’m fine, others I can’t physically get out of bed. When I have bad days, I can’t even focus on simple tasks like making a cup of tea.
“I also found myself in debt and struggling with my finances. My head was a mess and I didn’t know where to turn.”
Fortunately, Ivy has support in the shape of Bill, a close friend who gave up his job to become her full time carer.
Bill said: “We were doing our best to live off Employment Support Allowance.
“I was brought up to believe that you had to work for your money.
“The biggest struggle was trying to get to grips with the bills. I had to sell things like my car so we could afford to live. I had always worked throughout my life so this was totally new to me.
“There is nothing worse than lying in bed at night worrying about money.
“We were desperate – it came down to a choosing between eating or paying for electricity and gas. It was degrading - we had neighbours giving us meals and food because we had nothing. We were too ashamed to ask for help.”
Fortunately, help was at hand in the shape of Diane Bond from our Support and Wellbeing Team. Diane and her colleagues support people with everything from mental health issues, to ensuring people receive the benefits they are entitled to.
“Bill and Ivy were managing on practically nothing,” Diane said.
“They were clearly very proud people who didn’t like asking for help. They were a bit overwhelmed by everything and it was heart breaking to see them struggling. My first job was to sort out their benefits and find out exactly what they were entitled to. I also refereed them to a foodbank for extra support.
“We were able to get Bill and Ivy everything they were entitled too – including a Discretionary Housing Payment which helped them to pay the rent. Looking after Ivy is a full time job, so Bill now receives the full carers allowance.
“Bill and Ivy are now in a much better place financially – they are even in credit with their rent”
Ivy added: “I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for Diane. With the tablets I’m on, it would only have taken a few minutes to end it all. Whenever we need help, we know Diane or someone else from Weaver Vale is there to support us.
“The world would be a much better place if there were more people like Diane. She has helped us no end – words can’t express how grateful I am for everything she has done for us.”
If you are struggling and need the support of our Support and Wellbeing Team, get in touch by calling 0300 303 9848 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org