Daniel, aged 7, lives with his brother and Mum, Andra, a single parent. He was struggling with a range of issues meaning that he was finding it difficult to get to school and concentrate during his lessons.
Daniel first came to my attention due to his insecure housing situation, the family was at risk of being evicted and becoming homeless. Their accommodation was also far too small for their needs and was extremely overcrowded. The family had been housed far away from the school which meant Daniel and his brother had very long journeys to and from school. They had to wake up very early and got home late, not leaving a lot of time for homework.
Andra is from Romania and she was struggling to support her children with their schoolwork as English is not her first language. She also had difficulties understanding the benefits system and was not claiming them, despite being eligible and working part-time. Due to this, the family was living on the poverty line, unable to afford any additional clothing or treats for the children. Daniel’s grandmother had recently passed away – all of these issues combined made it hard for Andra to cope.
First, I referred Daniel’s family to receive support from the local housing office to stop them facing eviction. I accompanied Andra to her housing appointments and wrote emails to follow up with the council housing officers. Their housing situation is now stable, although temporary, and I am looking to find them more permanent accommodation.
I then phoned up various benefit agencies to try and establish why their benefits had not been approved. Andra had been struggling to understand what she was entitled to due to low levels of English comprehension and no access to a computer. After speaking to various officials at the home office, Andra is now currently awaiting approval for her benefits.
Finally, I applied to the SHS Welfare Fund for money to buy Daniel his school uniform and school shoes for the next academic year. This has helped the family enormously while they are waiting for the benefits to be approved.
“I was worried about how I would manage with the children and was worried about the benefits. Having help with school clothes and shoes has really helped”
Andra, Daniel’s mum
I have built a strong relationship with the family and they know that they can come and ask me for support – Daniel and his family no longer need to suffer in silence. Daniel has been asking for more help from his teachers if he doesn’t understand anything and he has much better concentration at school now that things are better at home.
*The names in this case study have been changed