Ed Matthews is a confident young man who has just passed his HGV licence test and is looking forward to finding a well-paid, permanent job as an HGV driver.
Back in December 2014, when he first met with Pennywise mentor John, it was a very different story. Ed had just started a new tenancy and had gone to Bristol Citizens’ Advice Bureau with multiple debts. These were getting worse as he couldn’t afford the bedroom tax on his new property, or the £90 he needed for a Debt Relief Order. His previous tenancy had ended badly due to bullying and he was getting over a nervous breakdown following this.
After taking a look at Ed’s finances, John suggested Ed could reduce his heating bill by applying for a Warm Home Discount. Ed found out that his supplier didn’t take part in this scheme, but on John’s advice he found a different supplier online and was accepted onto the scheme through them.
Ed was struggling to eat a healthy diet as his fridge was broken, which was affecting his recovery from his breakdown and his health in general. John applied to Bristol Charities for a grant to get Ed a new fridge, and also to the St. Martin in the Field Vicars Relief Fund for a £90 grant to cover Ed’s Debt Relief Order, and was delighted when both these applications were successful. Ed now has a fridge-freezer and is able to keep food fresh, and batch cook healthy meals and freeze them. With some advice from John about savvy shopping and meal planning, he’s eating better and his health has improved.
Once Ed’s Debt Relief Order was in place he was able to start thinking about the future and his career. He managed to find some work he enjoyed as a delivery driver, but struggled to make it to the depot in Avonmouth for the 5am start. He also found managing his Housing Benefit claim on a zero-hours contract extremely difficult. He planned to save up enough money to get his car back on the road to make commuting easier each day, but after earning too much one week, his Housing Benefit was stopped. The journey to work was far too expensive without his Housing Benefit in place and Ed felt he had no choice but to resign from his job.
With very little money coming in again, Ed was worried his car would be towed away before he could tax it and get a new MOT, which he needed in order to renew his parking pass. With John’s support, Ed emailed Bristol City Council Parking Services to explain the situation and they agreed to extend his permit. Knowing that getting mobile again would really increase Ed’s chances of finding work, John applied to the Dawes Family Trust for a grant to either get an MOT and tax for Ed’s car, or to pay for some training for him to do his HGV licence.
To both John and Ed’s surprise, the Dawes Family Trust awarded him £500 to get his car back on the road and £1500 to complete his HGV test. Ed has now passed his HGV test, scoring nearly 100% overall. He has interviews lined up, transport to get him to work when he finds a job, and now feels hopeful about his future.
“It’s made such a massive difference to everything; it’s going to change my life completely! I was so stressed at the start but I’m more chilled out now and know where I’m going. You’ve enabled the breakthrough I’ve needed and I can’t thank you enough!”