Mai*, aged 10, and her mother, Kim, had experienced years of devastating domestic violence from Mai’s father. To make it worse, even after fleeing the situation they were housed in the same area as Mai’s father and his family, meaning they were often too scared to go out in the local area. Kim felt isolated and lacking in confidence, anxious that the family would come to her house or that the perpetrator would break her injunction.
In addition to this, Kim also has a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis which was affecting her vision. With very limited sight in one eye, she was signed off sick from her low-paying job. This was part of a vicious circle, as her eyesight issues were brought on by stress but losing the small amount of income (Kim receives no financial support from Mai’s father) meant the pressure was even higher. At times, Kim also struggled with her daughter’s behaviour and as a survivor of domestic violence, was also prone to depression. With little support from a wider network, she often seemed down.
It was clear that getting Mai and her mother out of the area was a priority, and we worked together for a long period of time battling with housing services. Finally, she was offered the chance to move away!
Looking forward to moving house and making a fresh start, Kim wanted to be optimistic. However, after supporting her with her issues over a couple of years, I could tell something was wrong and assured her she could speak to me about any problems. Her existing fridge-freezer would not fit into the new kitchen, and she couldn’t afford the expense of replacing it on top of the other costs she was incurring through moving home. It was causing her to worry again.
I applied to the School-Home Support (SHS) Welfare Fund to cover the cost of a new fridge-freezer. I knew from my involvement with Kim over the years that having this expense covered by the Welfare Fund would help to bring some peace of mind, as she was getting very stressed with the thought of moving and having to sort so much out. As I regularly see Kim at school I also have offered one to one support, helping her to set goals and priorities in starting her new life. Kim finds talking through issues as they arise very beneficial.
The application to the Welfare Fund was successful and a new fridge-freezer was delivered to her new address. Kim has said that the support from School-Home Support has been: “…so good. Such a weight of my mind to get these things sorted. I know I can always talk to you and this always helps to get things back in order.” Since moving house, Kim has also got more involved with a parents group that organises school events and is very supportive of the school. She is less isolated and anxious, and Mai’s behaviour has improved as a result of them both feeling more secure.
*Names have been changed