Leslee turns his life around with the help of Wrekin
Last year, Wrekin tenant Leslee hit rock-bottom. Drinking heavily, unable to work, struggling with mounting debts and cut off from his family, Leslee thought he had nowhere to turn.
Less than 12 months on – Leslee is sober and has reconnected with his family. He’s also now debt free – thanks to the support of our Money Matters Team.
The team offer free financial advice and support for Wrekin residents - everything from benefits, managing your money and help with paying your rent.
In the last year alone, the team dealt with 2,306 referrals and secured nearly £5m in additional income for tenants.
Leslee’s struggled with his mental health after his son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. His issues were made worse when he split from his wife.
“I struggled to cope with everything and I turned to drink. It led to me running up a series amount of debt – everything from unpaid utility bills to owing over £7,000 on car finance.
“It was one big downward spiral. I also had to stop working due to ill health and I lost contact with my family. It was a horrible time and I didn’t see a way out.”
Leslee’s debts ran close to £17,000 – including £2,500 of rent arrears.
He added: “My drinking was also getting out of control and my mum and dad ended up taking me to hospital. It was a wake-up call and I knew I needed to get a grip on both my health and finances.”
Leslee also reached out to Dan Bebbington, Wrekin’s Debt & Energy Manager, and Sue Palin, Welfare Benefits Advisor, for further support.
Dan said: “Leslee was in a really bad way. He had so much going on in his life and his financial worries were adding to the stress he was under, but he clearly wanted to work with us to get everything in order. I worked closely with our Welfare Benefits Advisor Sue Palin to make sure Leslee had the support he needed.
“We started by going through his finances with a fine-tooth comb.
“An application for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) was made to help with his rent and we checked over his council tax bill to ensure he was receiving any eligible support. We were also able to get Leslee support from his local food bank.
“The big thing for me was tackling Leslee’s debt.
“We talked about options and decided to go with debt relief order (DRO).
“Leslee has previously worked in the construction industry and we were able to secure grants from B&CE the People’s Partnership and The Lighthouse Club. This was used to clear his rent arrears and pay for his DRO.”
“Dan and Sue always treated me with respect and dignity. They broke everything down for me and explained everything. Clearing my debt was a huge weight off my shoulders, it allowed me to focus on getting better.”
Leslee is now in debt-free and managing his finances well. Sue continues to work with Leslee - and have recently made a succesful application for Personal Independent Payments (PIP) to help with his living costs.
Dan added: “The difference I’ve seen in Leslee has been remarkable – he’s like a new man. Once we were able to tackle his debt issues he was able to focus on his health – and It’s great to see him doing so well after a challenging few years.”
Leslee added: “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Dan and Sue. They picked me up when I was at my lowest and never gave up on me.
“I’m now nearly a year sober and see my sons’ on a regular basis. I know I still have a long way to go health wise – but reaching out to the Money Matters Team has allowed me to get my life back on track.”
We're here to help
We know that it can be hard to take the first steps to talk about money or get advice, and we’re here to help. We want to make it easier for our tenants to ask for support, whether it’s for budgeting advice or full on debt management. Our friendly Money Matters team are here for you. They offer a confidential, non-judgemental service to support all tenants. Call 01952 217234 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
16th May 2023