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Mary is a proud lady who has brought up her children, now adults, often alone and on limited income. More recently and following a number of unfortunate life issues and incidents including redundancy, marriage break-up and debt problems, Mary became more isolated, depressed and completely out of character, attempted to take her own life. Mary had found herself living alone in a rented flat, which was unheated with virtually no money for food. She found reliance on state benefits difficult and had begun to see her future as dark and depressing. 

Mary decided to seek help to change the direction of her life, choosing to focus all her efforts on supporting those more in need than herself. Her ultimate aim was to secure work which she said would give her back her place in society and help her move from state benefits. She had also begun to recognise that to make a change in her life she would need support from outside of her family, turning to Age UK Lancashire’s Age of Opportunity Project, following a referral from her Job Centre Plus worker. 

Mary shared her issues and anxieties with the Age of Opportunity Project, explaining that she needed a significant level of regular support and guidance to help her move from long term unemployed to employment. Assessing her situation identified a number of barriers and vulnerabilities that would need to be overcome if she was to reach her ultimate goal.  Amongst her objectives for change would include; support to re-establish independent living, secure her own flat, the opportunity to develop her confidence and resilience which she said could come through volunteering. Financial advice and debt support would also help her begin to feel more in control of her life, something she had not felt for many years.  

Assessing her needs and supporting her objectives would take 6 months with Mary being supported throughout to secure a new rented home nearer to her family and at the same time begin to volunteer her services within her local community.  Her finances have been assessed, debts addressed, and for the first time in many years she no longer felt the need to look over her shoulder or hide when someone knocked on her door. 

Mary is now ready and able to begin to think about returning to work after an absence of many years. She is already planning what she wants to do, and when she assesses the journey she has travelled, she can’t believe how far she has come. 

For support with cost of living or welfare benefits, visit our help page here.