Former Limousine driver Barry (63) lives in South London but gave up his job to be a full-time carer for his father. Over the past few years, Barry has been struggling with his health. His Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) makes it hard for him to breathe and almost impossible for him to carry out daily tasks.
Barry’s limited daily routines have to be planned meticulously, otherwise he might run out of breath, which normally leads to a panic attack.
His declining physical health and his depression made him turn to drugs and alcohol, and slowly but surely his utility bills started piling up.
“I start messing about with drugs again and I didn’t want to pay the gas and electric, and all the other stuff. You just kind of bury your head in the sand, don’t you?”
To make matters worse, Barry suffered from a rare disease called Guillain Barre, which caused him to stop breathing and damaged the nerves in his right eye and ear. After recovering from a 7-week induced coma, Barry felt like he had been given another chance at life, so he decided to turn his life around.
“It’s like I was carrying the flat on my back, but now I’m living in the flat if you can understand. I had all the bills pulling me down. But now I feel more comfortable and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.”
Through his L&Q recovery officer, Barry got referred to the Pound Advice service, which is provided by L&Q partner, We Are Digital. This service has changed his life for the better.
Together with his Case Manager Support Officer, Barry completed an online budget and his online credit report, during this process Barry was provided with a future budget to monitor and manage.
“I found it very easy talking to her, it wasn’t like she was talking down to me. She was there to help me. When I would ring her up, she was always there to help me.”
By developing his digital skills, he discovered he could use digital tools and managed to complete our eConsent using his smartphone. Barry also learned to verify documents over WhatsApp which helped him provide the necessary documents to get him a Debt Relief Order.
After the support of Pound Advice, Barry is now able to keep up his payments and communicate confidently with his creditors. Despite his ongoing health problems, he feels much better because he knows how to be in control of his money and now treats himself to the occasional takeaway.
“I went through drugs and drinking and I’ve stopped all that mostly down to them because they got me out of the financial problems I was in, so without them I don’t know where I’d be.”