Saima’s Story – A Better Life

Age Better in Sheffield is a partnership of individuals and organisations who work together across Sheffield to tackle loneliness and isolation for people aged 50 and over. Read on to find out about one of our clients journeys. 

Saima has recently lost her husband, and since then her health has deteriorated, which has led to frequent attendance at her GP surgery.  Saima never managed the finances or bills for her house and was left with expenses that she didn’t know how to manage.  Due to this, she had to leave her home and move in with her daughter as she could not afford to run her house on her own.

Saima was referred by her GP to a SOAR Health Trainer, who helped her to attend the A Better Life social group to help with social networks and welfare advice. Saima has never felt comfortable attending an advice session at Citizen’s Advice (SCALC), but when their Advice Worker, Khatab, attended the group she felt more comfortable approaching him for advice with the support of Sofeena (Community Development Worker).

SCALC were primarily able to help Saima to clear the debts from her old house.  Khatab contacted the bailiffs and any providers to whom Saima was in arrears to discuss her situation.  Saima was advised that her debts relating to Council Tax, benefits, and utility bill arrears could be cleared via a Debt Relief Order, the cost of which (£90) was covered by Age Better. With the support of Sofeena and a specialist Debt Worker at SCALC, £5,320.70 worth of debt was cleared for Saima.

Breakdown of debts cleared:

  • Sheffield City Council £644.87
  • Npower £364.80
  • Yorkshire water £195.01
  • Sheffield Benefit Service £165.98 and £3347.69
  • Debt Managers Ltd £137.64
  • Moorcroft Debt Recovery £195.01
  • Past Due Credit Solutions £269.70

In addition to this, Khatab advised Saima to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) due to her health issues; he supported her in completing this and the claim was successful. SCALC were also able to support Saima with a claim for her Employment & Support Allowance benefit which had been stopped but has now been reinstated thanks to a successful appeal. Saima is now £700 a month better off because of these benefits.

“Since receiving support from the project, you can see that Saima feels a great sense of relief that her financial situation has improved, and it is visible that her wellbeing has improved and her stress has reduced.” – Sofeena, Community Development Worker

Saima is now a frequent attendee at the social group, where she has also made links with an Energy Saving worker to look at reducing bills for her family, and Age Better’s Better Journeys project who have helped her with Journey Assist cards to help her with her confidence when travelling on buses.

*Client’s name has been changed for confidentiality