Helen worked with her partner in a special educational needs school, but had to stop working in January 2022 because of ill health during her pregnancy. Due to increasing risk, her partner also had to stop working to help care for her and their toddler. The reduction in income led the family to financially struggle. Helen had been donating to a food bank near her workplace for a number of years but because she is out of their catchment area they were unable to help- but they told her about Your Store.
Revisiting her initial visit to Your Store, Helen explained “I initially felt so ashamed and embarrassed when I first came to Your Store. But after an initial conversation with my worker, we hit the ground running looking at the support that was available to our family. I quickly felt comfortable and realised there was nothing to be ashamed of”.
Helen went on to explain the support she received, “my worker helped me check that I was getting the correct financial support. My worker helped in so many ways, such as accessing childcare support for my toddler, and managed to get my family a freezer so that we could save money by freezing reduced items”.
Helen’s daughter was born very premature at around 27 weeks. The baby was transferred from Leicester Hospital to Northampton which meant the cost of petrol and hospital parking was far more than they could afford. Helen explained “in the time where we were visiting the hospital, my worker also managed to give us £100 petrol vouchers to help with visiting our daughter”.
Sadly, their daughter died in May. Helen added: “When it came to the time of my daughter’s funeral, my worker helped me to access support with the funeral costs. We also received a clothes voucher which meant our family could all get a new outfit for the funeral. This made me feel like we could do our daughter proud”.
Reflecting on her journey, Helen said: “I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this on my own. It’s hard to know what help is out there, and at the time our daughter was in hospital I didn’t mentally have the capacity to do any of it.
Without the help, we wouldn’t have coped at all; we were already maxed out on our overdraft from trying to keep things afloat”.
Now, Helen’s partner has been made redundant, so their focus is him getting back to work. Helen explained “I would also love to return to teaching as this is what I have always loved doing. I’m hoping in coming months I will be able to get help with our debts, as I’m ready to tackle them now. As soon as we’re in a position to, we want to start giving back to food banks again and pay the kindness forward”.
Helen encourages anyone who needs the support to go for the first time. “You’ll see it’s not as scary or as shameful as anyone would think. Just know how much it will help your mental health - because there is a helping hand waiting for you if you’re struggling. You don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed - as being open takes a huge weight off your shoulders. I am so grateful for all the help and don’t know where we would be without it”.Back To Case Studies