Matthew and Maria's Story

“We first saw Matthew & Maria approximately 18 months ago and they were struggling with repaying an IVA. Matthew had to give up work due to a break down, their rent was approx. £700 and they were struggling big time. Along with emotional support, we helped them begin winding down the IVA into a bankruptcy but all this took time, approx. 15 months. Unfortunately, they were not entitled to housing benefit as their grown up children were working. This meant that the children 'kept their parents' and put a huge strain on the relationship and their depression spiralling downwards.

We also helped them with food from the foodbank during this time, gas & electric via the Warm Homes Healthy People grants, and little monetary gift from Acts 435 so that they could get a tiny bit of respite during the process. They were often so despondent sitting opposite me and not being able to do much to help them apart from emotional support.

Things began to get better when in November they were awarded a one bedroom house of their own, but they didn't have any furniture or any money to make the purchases. We did help them with their essential items through Acts 435  and Suffolk County Council's Local Welfare Assistance fund.

Both Matthew & Maria came to our first ever REACH Boxing Day lunch and bringing the story up to date, their (IVA) creditors met around March/April time and agreed that they were happy to accept the payments that had already been made via the IVA and agreed to wipe the slate for them meaning that they became completely debt free on the 7th June this year.

We invited them in to see us, but didn't tell them why we needed to see them... When we told them, they just melted with tears streaming down their faces, the relief was palpable!”