Treated like a VIP
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A customer with Bromford for 18 years, it wasn’t until Michael started receiving support and help that he realised how isolated he had become.
Over the years Michael’s tendency to hoard and his lack of cleaning skills had left him in a property that was in need of a thorough clean and a good clear out to help him to get his life back on track.
Michael lived alone in a two bedroom property when we first started working with him in September 2014. He had been receiving support from us and was receiving discretionary housing payments (DHP) to cover the extra on his rent but this wasn’t a long term solution – he needed to move to smaller accommodation.
Michael applied for a smaller property but when his leaving well coach*, Marian Whatmore, visited him to talk about the move she discovered that the spare bedroom was extremely cluttered and every room needed to be cleaned from top to bottom.
This sparked a conversation around whether it was the right time for Michael to move which resulted in them both agreeing that it would be beneficial for him to get some help to prepare him for the move both financially and mentally. Marian explained that our starting well service could help Michael and he was introduced to Karen Gibbons.
As his starting well coach, one of Karen Gibbon’s jobs was to help with this process and as she worked with Michael to get the property into an acceptable condition it became obvious that he didn’t really know how to clean. Karen says, “He would use scourers the wrong way round, walk across the floor after it had just been mopped and use dirty water to wash the windows.” It took a lot of encouragement but over the next few months Michael started to take pride in his home. Karen encouraged Michael to work through the property room by room and he was so proud of himself after cleaning his bathroom – he even asked her to take a photo to show to his housing manager, Julie Preece.
As the cleaning progressed, the move to a new property came closer and so Michael was encouraged to save towards moving costs – he was advised to set up a credit union account which he regularly paid £5 per week into out of his ESA.
Karen said, “Over the months that we worked with him, we could see him becoming more positive and as he got on top of the cleaning he even talked about volunteering to help others – a massive leap for someone who only weeks before didn’t know how to clean. Our encouragement had sparked something within him and he became motivated to improve his life and get involved with others.”
After moving into his new home on the 6 February 2015, Michael said, “Looking back I can see now that I was isolated and people probably stopped coming round because of the condition of my property. It was definitely affecting my wellbeing but now I feel much happier.
"I feel like I have been treated like a VIP by Bromford and am looking forward to taking a computer course with them soon. Thanks to their help I have definitely changed my ways – there will be no more hoarding and my home is kept clean and tidy and I feel confident that the future looks very rosy for me.”
*The leaving well coach is notified when a customer lets us know that they’re leaving one of our properties or when they are looking to move to another of our homes (as in Michael's case). The coach works alongside the customer during this transition to ensure this move is right for them. Emma O'Sullivan, neighbourhood manager, explains:
"The key to the service, as with all our services, is to see the person rather than the process or policy. Although someone may be leaving one of our homes, we still offer financial and emotional advice and coaching to help them move on as smoothly as possible."