Maria's Story

Discover how Maria and her daughter Charlotte got to start a new life on the Easter weekend, thanks to REACH supporters, and how YOU can help other families to do the same!  Jo, our Community Outreach Team Leader, relates the story. 

20220215 145951-Jo-cropped“I first met Maria several years ago after she fled an abusive relationship. She and her small daughter Charlotte had been living in a refuge, and they then moved into social housing. We helped her with a few things – food, carpeting and bits of basic furniture.

“Maria was originally from Nottingham. She had no friends or family in the Haverhill area as her ex had cut her off from the outside world. His abuse had left her with very low self-esteem. Maria was never settled, never happy, haunted by that unhappy episode in her life. More than anything she wanted to move back to Nottingham, to the last place she had lived where her memories had been happy, and to be near family and childhood friends.

“At my suggestion, she applied for social housing in Nottingham and in March she got the offer of a home – and with it, the new hope she so needed. She was quoted £685 for removals, and Universal Credit had told her they would provide an advance towards this. We provided £200 from our supporters which we hoped would cover the rest. Everything was set for Maria to move on Good Friday!

“But when she rang Universal Credit to confirm the amount of the advance, she was told it would be only £26, nowhere near what she’d expected. The day before her move, Maria rang me in absolute panic and floods of tears. She’d given notice on her Suffolk home so couldn’t stay in it, her parents had paid the deposit on the new place in Nottingham and they’re on benefits too so she didn’t feel she could ask for more help. The kind removal man said she could pay him £400 now and pay the rest back in installments. But that still left her needing £200.

“I rang a local church which supports REACH and explained the situation. They agreed to provide the £200 and saved the day! I rang Maria to tell her and she cried again – but this time, tears of ecstatic joy and relief.

“I spoke to Maria last Friday, a week after she and little Charlotte moved. You could just hear the smile in her voice, sense the lightness in her spirit! In five years of knowing her I’ve never heard her so happy and excited as she spoke about taking Charlotte to play in the local park and see her grandparents.

“Now, thanks to our supporters, the removal man and the church, she – and Charlotte – have begun a new life.”