During the pandemic, many of us will have experienced times when we are talking on the phone with someone who is distressed or anxious, and we just want to be with them, physically present alongside them, to comfort and support. It’s a very sad and tough part of what everyone is going through.
Caring For Life’s ministry is very much impacted by this issue, with so much of its work needing to be remote just now. Yet we really need to walk alongside people through the tough times in their lives. A lot of creativity is involved in finding ways to do this.
Our recently formed, small Benefits and Tenancies Team, led by Erin, seeks to support people who are dependent, for many different reasons, on various benefits and who are really struggling to cope alone. Receiving a letter saying that your benefits are to be reassessed, or that a claim has not been allowed can be deeply distressing and cause considerable mental distress. Some are anxiously awaiting outcomes from appeals and need support through this time.
When face-to-face meetings are not possible, the team use zoom meetings. It’s not easy to make three-way phone calls between the Dept of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the person being supported. But it has enabled the team to call the relevant benefits department “alongside” people, to follow up decisions or start new claims. This has also enabled them to spend some time chatting with folks and even writing songs with them over the phone whilst they wait for the DWP to answer!
It is a very different way of walking alongside someone through tough times, but we are thankful that our Benefits and Tenancies Team is able to provide this life-changing support.