Tom's story – Maggie's gave us financial breathing space - Maggie's Centres

Tom's story – Maggie's gave us financial breathing space

Sunday 19 January 2020

I turned to Maggie's when my partner Thena was diagnosed with cancer because we didn't know how we'd pay her rent. 

I was a postman until redundancy and my partner Thena was working as a catering assistant in a care home. 

We’d been together three years and just as we were thinking of moving in together, she started to get a bit of trouble swallowing. 

Signed off work

You go to the doctor and think it must be an ulcer, go through all the processes, and finally somebody comes out with the ‘c’ word and your life collapses around you. 

We were told to pop into Maggie’s for a chat and to see if they could help. The first time we went, we were introduced to Anne and told she could help us with Thena’s financial situation. 

As soon as Thena knew she was being signed off work, she knew she couldn’t afford rent. You’re used to getting a couple hundred quid a week, then you’re down to £73.10. That’s a massive drop in your income. 

Help from Maggie's Benefit's Advisor

Finding your way through the benefits system is like trying to walk through mud without breaking any eggshells underneath. It’s an absolute mess, so getting help is really essential. 

When we came in for our appointment we had a plastic bag full of... everything. We’re talking bank statements, credit card statements, wage slips, statutory sick pay...

Anne pointed us in the direction of debt management which we could get through Thena’s housing association. That helped to get her rent sorted, it also helped her get her council tax sorted out.

Maggie's helped us get back to normal life

Having back up for Thena to keep her own place is pretty huge because it gives us breathing space to look at getting her better, getting back to normal life, and then picking up where we were. Without Anne’s help, we would’ve had a great deal of difficulty with getting the claims passed through. 

Having somebody that knows what they’re doing when you’re probably lacking confidence, it’s quite massive.

It’s like a child who’s got to learn to cross the road – you’ve always got that adult holding your hand and showing you how to do it.

I think there will be more difficult times to come health-wise, but financially at least I know that, well, we both know that we’ve got people that we can contact when we need help.