Ashley is a qualified Architect who approached the Society in October 2011 as a last resort. He had been working as an Architect until 2009 when he contracted a neurological disease called myelitis which left him partially paralysed. He had recently been made redundant so he had to cope with the uncertainty of lost income and the effects of a possibly life changing illness.
He spent time in hospital receiving treatment and then rehabilitation. Although his health did gradually improve, Ashley was still unable to work and was faced with increasing financial pressures as a consequence.
After struggling to manage for two years Ashley contacted the Society for support as he realised that he was unable to meet the payments for his increasing mortgage as well as supporting his young teenage son. The benefits he was entitled to from the State were not adequate to meet his basic living needs once he had paid his mortgage and he contacted the ABS out of desperation when he realised that he was at risk of being homeless. Although unable to work, Ashley received no extra money from the State in order to help him cope with the challenges of his illness and additional expenses such as transport and help in the home.
We have been able to help financially with a small regular grant and assistance towards his housing costs. We have also covered the cost of his telephone line rental which he would otherwise have had to cancel but which he needs in case of emergencies. As well as the financial support Ashley maintains regular contact with our Welfare Officers who are always able to help and advise and has said that he does not know what he would have done without the support and assistance from the ABS.
Ashley remains at risk of a relapse as he still has numbness in his lower legs which worsens when he is stressed. With the support of the Society, however he has been able to remain in his own home for the time being and his son stays with him during the week when he attends a nearby college. Ashley continues to depend upon the support of the Society in order to meet his basic needs especially at a time when the cost of living is increasing and there is pressure on the benefits system. He is far from “out of the woods” but feels that the support of the Society, which he has asked to be given as a loan rather than a gift, is a lifeline.