Retail, catering, cleaning – you name it, Theresa has done it.
Living in a quiet part of Northwich, Theresa has grafted all her life to support the family.
However, Theresa’s world came crashing down after being diagnosed with a rare and debilitating illness. No longer able to work and worried about the future, Theresa felt she had nowhere to turn.
But she found support in the caring shape of Kelly Worthington and our Money Matters Team.
This is her story:
“My husband and I have worked all our lives. We have never been rich, but we have always worked hard to look after our family.
“I am dyslexic as well which has made things difficult – you feel like you need to work twice has hard as everyone else because things take a little longer.
“I first started working with Kelly and the Money Matters Team in 2015. It’s at that time when I became very ill – to the point that I couldn’t move. I underwent a lot of tests and I was diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatism (PR) – a rare form of arthritis. It came as a total shock – I thought I was fit as a fiddle.
“I was determined to keep working, but I was struggling to come to terms with not being well.
“I couldn’t stop crying all the time. Everything that we had planned for the future wasn’t on the cards anymore. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I went through all the emotions – anger, frustration, depression, anxiety.
“I found it extremely difficult to get help. I’d come out of meetings in tears. I was lost – I had never had to go on sick before so I didn’t know what to do. The only people who really understood what was going on was Kelly and the Money Matters team.
“Work didn’t really understand my condition. I felt like I wasn’t believed which was upsetting. I was working 46 hours a week and I wanted to reduce my hours so I could focus on getting better. They didn’t want that and I was made to feel very uncomfortable. Gradually my arthritis got worse and I could no longer work.
“I was so worried about money and keeping the roof over our heads, but Kelly and the Money Matters team were brilliant. Kelly was getting to hear about what was going on at work and she couldn’t have done enough to help me. She was one of the few people who seemed genuine and wanted to help.
“Kelly was able to help me get things I never knew I was entitled to - such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and help towards the cost of my prescriptions. Kelly came along to all of my assessments as well – she literally held my hands throughout the process.
“Kelly bonds with you straight away – I felt like I knew her all my life. Kelly listened to what was going on in my life and she got the full picture of what was going on. I struggled to get my head around all the paperwork but Kelly went through everything and explained things in plain English. Kelly was the only person who had the patience to go through things with me.
“All that support has allowed me to focus on my health. I’m getting better and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to return to work one day.
“You can really trust the Money Matters Team, they never judged me – they genuinely care.”
Kelly Worthington is the Weaver Vale Housing Trust Money Advisor who supported Theresa
She said “It was heart-breaking to see Theresa struggling. She was clearly in a lot of pain and she was frustrated by the lack of understanding shown by her employer and other organisations.
“Her arthritis was clearly getting her down and due to her dyslexia, Theresa felt a bit overwhelmed by all the different forms she had to fill out. We worked together to ensure Theresa received everything that she was entitled too. With our help, Theresa now has over £16k a year coming in and is able to live comfortably.
“Being forced to stop working has meant Theresa has had to make some major adjustments in her life, but she can now fully focus on treating her illness. Not only is Theresa in a better place financially, but it has been encouraging to see a real improvement in her health as well.”
To speak to Kelly or another member of our Money Matters team please call 01606 813341/813470 or email money firstname.lastname@example.org