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Ben's story

Through the Lightning Reach portal Darren received support from:

Through the Lightning Reach portal Darren received support from:

Through the Lightning Reach portal Candi received support from:


Through the Lightning Reach portal Ben received support from:

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Ben also received further support from:

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The respite association.png

Ben's Story

Ipswich, England

“It's a brilliant tool! It brings up support specific to your needs. Platforms like Lightning Reach restore belief and trust that there are people out there that genuinely want to help you.”


From stability to uncertainty, manoeuvring through unexpected financial challenges


Ben was a senior manager at a high street bank with 18 years experience when he faced unfair dismissal, leading to the loss of a significant salary. Diagnosed with ADHD and depression, he has since encountered difficulties returning to the workplace. Ben has relied on Universal Credit since September 2023. He grapples with high medication costs, along with rent arrears and the responsibilities of supporting his two children. Despite substantial cuts to living expenses, Ben is trying to navigate through the uncertainty of the coming months, a big change for someone not used to asking for help.

From feeling isolated to a sense of hope 


Ben had never needed to search for support previously, so he felt isolated as he tried to find the support options open to him. He felt low as he faced continued blockers in the journey towards finding support specific to his needs and circumstances.


After seeking help through his bank, TSB, Ben was signposted to the Lightning Reach portal to see what resources were available for living expenses and rent arrears payments. 


“I was very confident using the system. Once you come over the thoughts of asking for help then there are no issues doing something like this; it can help build your resilience.”


Discovering and applying for personalised support via the portal


After completing his profile, Ben was initially struck at the relevance of support options that were available to him: 


“There was a range of matches which was good; it was all new support options to me. [Other search tools] don't offer the same as the Lightning Reach portal which brings out a lot more results in terms of Citizen Advice and local council support etc.” 


One of Ben’s matches was to Lightning Reach support partners, Citizens Advice North & West Kent (CA). This is a support service for individuals living in North & West Kent who are struggling with energy costs or need energy advice. Ben applied for their support: 


“It was really easy! The Lightning Reach portal connectivity part is spot on; it helped me get straight to the right Citizen Advice branch and connected me to the right people.”  


Alongside applying for this support, the portal signposted Ben to further support. He successfully applied to both The 3H Foundation and The Respite Association, Support for Carers.

Finding comfort with the right support and embracing respite 


Ben is currently receiving extended support from his local CA, going beyond initial energy advice. They are actively assisting him with a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) dispute with his council, while also working towards reinstating his cost-of-living payments to alleviate his living expenses.


“CA are dealing with it all now which is brilliant as I have been trying to chase it up with myself and have got nowhere. My experience with CA has been really good!”


Ben further benefited by securing £300 from The Respite Association, Support for Carers, aimed at providing relief for his partner (living separately), who cares for him two days a week, allowing her some well-deserved rest. Additionally, Ben received £400 from The 3H Foundation, in the form of a respite cottage break for his partner and children.


“The experience we are going through as a family, this month especially and with Christmas coming up, that rest bite break has given everyone something to look forward to. There is now motivation to go forward. Once you've been hammered by a big corporate company (work dispute) you lose trust. Things like Lightning Reach restore belief and trust in people that there are people out there that want to help.”


Since receiving support, Ben regularly updates his Lightning Reach profile to ensure he continues being matched with the most up to date support options. 

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