John moved back to the UK from Germany in 2019 after being diagnosed with cancer. At first he lived with his brother, who looked after him while he underwent operations and chemotherapy. However, he now lives on his own after his brother moved down south to be cared for by his girlfriend when his health deteriorated.

Since then, John has found the cost of living a real struggle. He ended up £3,000 in debt as a result of having to travel regularly to Leicester for essential medical treatment as well as the growing everyday costs of living alone. He was told about our Money Advice Service during an assessment visit from Louise, an Intensive Support Caseworker from Futures.

"She visited me to see how Futures could support me just before Christmas last year. She's been amazing and has done so much for me since then."

"When I was really sick during my chemotherapy she helped me to access food banks, which I still use now. She's helped me get financial support with my gas and electricity bills and a reduction in my Council Tax. She also sought a grant that cleared all my Council Tax arrears from 2021-22.

"She successfully applied for a discretionary housing payment which removed the bedroom tax that I had been paying. This put my rent account in credit so I got a refund. 

"Before I had Louise's help, I used to apply for support and everything used to progress so slowly. But with her knowledge of how all the different processes work and who to approach and what to say, getting help is so much easier and quicker now.

"Because I'd been out of the UK in Germany for more than a year, I wasn't entitled to any financial support when I first came back, even though I'd lived here since I was nine. With Louise's guidance, I got access to a solicitor through Citizens Advice and managed to get a full Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which was backdated too.

"I wouldn't have known what to do or how to go about fighting for my PIP if it hadn't been for Louise. She has stood by me for three years and still helps me now. I'm so grateful to her for everything she has done. I don't know how I would have coped without her.”

An image of the words 'I cancer vive' arranged to make you want to read it as 'I can survive'