Nobody likes being told what to do and when you’ve spent most of your adult life being told to live in a particular way, the last thing you want to hear is somebody else’s advice.
Marie* has been a Bromford customer for the past seven years and it’s safe to say they haven’t been the smoothest for her. Battling with alcohol dependency, in debt, and living in an abusive relationship, Marie’s two daughters had been removed from her care. Her neighbours were complaining about her behaviour and she was no stranger to visits from the local police.
Around 12 months ago Natalie, neighbourhood coach, met Marie for the first time – here she takes up the story:
“When I met Marie she was really struggling. Because her children no longer lived with her, her three bedroom house was too big, meaning that she was subject to the ‘bedroom tax.’ She’d lost her job, there was damage to her home, she was in debt and had rent arrears that were increasing by the week. She hadn’t had the best relationship with Bromford over the years and didn’t trust that I wanted to help her.
“Marie wanted to move but because of the condition of her home and her rent arrears this wasn’t really an option. She was quite hostile towards me whenever I offered any kind of solution. She wanted to move closer to her children but wasn’t willing to work with me to get her arrears down and her home back to a good standard.
“During the time I’d been working with Marie, I’d reminded her that whilst I was here to help, I couldn’t make changes for her. It’s not my job to judge or to tell people what to do – who am I to tell someone how to live their life? Over the months we’d had loads of conversations around the potential consequences of her not reducing her arrears and looking after her home but it wasn’t until I spelled it out that she wouldn’t be able to move closer to her children (and she could even lose her home all together) that things really hit home for her.
Our role is to coach – helping customers make the choices that are right for them at that point in their lives by explaining the options open to them.
“After taking some time to reflect and consider her options Marie got in touch with me. She’d considered the consequences of how she was living her life and decided she wanted to make changes to give her the chance of rebuilding the relationship with her children.
“She made an agreement to pay off her rent arrears and started working with Leanne, one of Bromford’s money advisors, to help get her council tax, water and Provident debts under control. Marie got help from a friend to repair the damage to her home and the complaints from neighbours stopped.
“After a couple of months Marie had cleared her arrears meaning that she was in a position to move from her three bedroom house to somewhere smaller. She’d found a one bedroom flat closer to her children and within a few weeks Marie had moved into her new home.
“Marie is now rebuilding the relationship with her children, who regularly pop in to see her and she has also applied to start an accountancy course which will help her on her way to the career she’s always wanted. Marie now trusts Bromford and can be really honest with us as she knows that we will help her to achieve her best. She knows that she can tell us when she isn’t well and that we won’t judge her.
“Our role is to coach – helping customers make the choices that are right for them at that point in their lives by explaining the options open to them. Marie is a great example of how somebody fed up of being told what to do, just needed to be allowed to make her own decisions – a freedom that we all deserve.”