Mrs D's Story

Mrs D came to the Refugee Centre wanting help and support having recently received permission by the Home Office to stay in the UK. Her husband had left her and taken one of their children with him which was causing her deep distress. She had 3 children remaining with her in Coventry.

Having performed a Needs Assessment we willingly took her on the project. She was allocated a caseworker who signed her onto the project and together they drew up an Individual Support Plan. As a result of all the problems she had suffered in the past and her present difficulties she was very vulnerable, suffering from depression and other illnesses. Her self-confidence had been knocked out of her and she was easily moved to tears.

The caseworker managed to secure a house for the family via a local Housing Association. The caseworker then proceeded to help her to set up utilities and appropriate payment plans because it is difficult to manage and pay bills whilst on very limited benefit payments. The children were assisted to register at local schools and appropriate health facilities were accessed for the whole family. The client was helped to find English classes so that she could improve her language skills and potentially find further training and employment. The caseworker assisted her in setting up a budgeting plan; accessing correct benefits; registering at the library; finding second hand furniture etc. When the support plan was completed and Mrs D felt more independent and able to do things for herself, the family were signed off the project.

Some months later, the eldest child who was 19 years of age came to the Refugee Centre asking for help as his mother had gone back to Africa to visit the son removed by her husband but had not returned to England. There was no contact from her and no knowledge of her whereabouts.

Overnight the 19 year old (Mr A) had become parent to his 2 younger siblings whilst at the same time studying for his 'A' levels. Mr A was taken onto the project so that we could provided support and help. The situation became very complex as the tenancy was in the mother’s name and could not be handed over without consent, however consent could not be obtained. The same applied for Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit payments.

After several months, the caseworker and client managed to solve the problems so that they were able to stay in the family home and get the necessary financial support to prevent destitution. Mr A became a model parent, supporting and encouraging the younger siblings and they all worked together as a team. Mr A attended parent’s evenings whilst still being at school himself; he kept the house clean and tidy; cooked healthy meals; continued with his faith; looked after the youngest sibling when he was ill and helped him to continue with his sporting activities that required regular training sessions in another city.

Eventually, with the help of the Refugee Centre, Mr A had been empowered sufficiently to manage on his own and was subsequently signed off the project.

Contact has been maintained since then. Mr A got his A levels, he achieved a 2:1 degree in mechanical engineering and is now studying for a masters degree. He still manages the home and his family responsibilities at the same time. The next sibling is also now at university and the youngest is still at school and still pursuing a potential sporting career. They have all become British Citizens and are a wonderful example of what can be achieved with support and care at the necessary time.