“During the first lockdown, I was furloughed and told my job might be at risk. Eventually I was made redundant with one month’s notice. Panic set in, but I knew I had to be proactive. I applied for as many jobs as I could and had interviews lined up but one month went very quickly.
I had gone through my finances and paused all payments I was able to, including my car payment but was extremely worried about housing costs. I immediately applied for Universal Credit but unfortunately, I had applied too soon following my employment and therefore I was not entitled to any financial support at that point. It was a very stressful time.
I had seen an advert for ABS on the Landscape Institute’s website and while I wasn’t sure if they would be able to help me, I also thought the worst they could say was no, so I gave them a call. I spoke with Aidan [ABS Welfare Caseworker] and he immediately helped me feel at ease. He was able to talk through the options available to me, such as reaching out to the council to reduce tax payments and other helpful advice. ABS was also able to help me with a grant while I waited to become eligible for Universal Credit payments. The financial support they were able to offer was immediate – it came through within a week. Most importantly it was non-judgmental and kind. It took a lot of stress away. If ABS had not been able to help, I would have spiraled into debt and experienced the worry that comes with that – I was already trying not to think about Bailiffs. However, because of ABS support I was able to remain positive and continue my efforts to find a new job – which I did within a couple of months.
I was very stressed throughout this time, even before I was made redundant, and Aidan did explain the mental health support available to me [through their partnership with Anxiety UK]. I had managed to get an appointment through my GP so did not need it, but just knowing the support was and is available to me has been an immense relief.
Having experienced support from ABS and knowing how much it helped me, I am now an ABS Ambassador. I want as many people as possible to be aware of the support available to them should they ever be in a similar situation or otherwise.”