Laura, from King’s Norton, has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. She fled domestic violence so now lives in social housing, which is unsuitable for her physical disabilities.
She has been unable to move to appropriate accommodation or to get the necessary adaptations made to her current house by her landlord.
Laura has tried other agencies, support services, and the council for help, but they have been unable to give her any answers or have placed her on a long waiting list.
On top of this, she is also going through a serious neighbour dispute which has been compounded because of lockdown. Laura’s mental and physical health are suffering as a result of what she has been going through for the past two years.
“I’ve been in the situation I’ve been in now for two years. It is really dragging. The longer it goes on the more of a toll it takes on you. My physical health is deteriorating.
You do get to the stage where you wonder, ‘are you carrying on?’”
Laura was on the waiting list for a counselling service, which was stretched because of Covid, so they put her in contact with us. We were able to provide a safe space for Laura to talk about what she was going through.
“It was nice to talk to someone who was non-judgmental given the situation I am in. I am being told I don’t have rights and I have to suck it up and get on with it. This was a more balanced approach to my situation.”
We provided Laura with information including around disability rights and connected her to advocacy groups. This helped Laura to arm herself with useful knowledge to get the support she needs. The advocacy groups have given her reassurance; she has realised that other people have gone through similar things and that what happened to her wasn’t her fault.
“Just getting more information and knowledge so I can speak to the local authority. It was also nice to have that support. It was somebody who was involved on my side. I felt nobody had my back, nobody had my corner, I was being attacked from all sides with no light at the end of the tunnel and no way of getting out.”
Laura had previously used listening services but hadn’t found them helpful on their own because nothing was being actioned. It was Listen and Connect’s combination of listening alongside practical action that was what she needed.
“The nice thing about this, they weren’t just listening but nothing was being actioned, there were positive things coming out of it. Even just a morale booster “to get myself back on the horse.”
Because of the information and advice we gave to Laura, alongside a listening ear, she’s made progress with her landlord, is increasingly confident she can get the outcomes she needs, and feels more positive generally. Most importantly, Listen and Connect meant Laura had someone on her side who was there for her.