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Candi's story

Through the Lightning Reach portal Darren received support from:

Through the Lightning Reach portal Darren received support from:


*stock image

Through the Lightning Reach portal Candi received support from:


Candi's Story

Ipswich, England

“When you can't provide for your children it can be a very stressful and lonely situation. We are genuinely so much happier now. They (Teaching Staff Trust) have helped with so much…it has taken so much stress off, the place now feels like a home for me and my children.”


Navigating financial challenges whilst balancing family, work and studies


Candi, a mother of three, confronted financial constraints while on Universal Credit (UC), grappling with the challenge of augmenting her income to provide for her family. Balancing the demands of family care, a new part-time job, and studies took a toll. 


Recently transitioning from private renting to social housing, she faced a lack of furnishings for the home, particularly beds for her children. The impact of the cost of living crisis added to the struggles of feeding her children and covering household bills. 


Despite landing a new part-time job, Candi found herself needing additional support as her Universal Credit and Carer's Allowance were reduced.


Discovering a new way to find and apply for support 


In her previous search for support, Candi encountered a significant challenge when reaching out to various support organisations, specifically facing issues related to staffing, a lack of continuity and personal connections in seeking assistance, and a limited awareness of available support resources.


Upon conducting a Google search for grants, Candi stumbled upon the Lightning Reach portal. Initially unfamiliar with it, she hesitated but ultimately opted to create an account, approaching it with no expectations.


“It's very easy, safe and secure. The ease of the website and not feeling overwhelmed with things to do and remember was great. I was able to do this [complete profile] with a two year old teething so that's how easy it was”

Discovering and applying for new support via the portal


After completing her profile, Candi was initially struck at the number of support options that were available to her: 


“I thought, in all honesty, that I filled [my profile] in wrong to get so many matches. I thought the outcome would've been 10 at most. I thought to myself, oh lovely, I’m happily surprised with how many options there are.”


Two of Candi’s matches were to Lightning Reach support partners, Teaching Staff Trust (TST) and Royal British Legion. Candi was matched with this support as she had previously worked within the teaching industry for 6 years, whilst her grandfather and ex-husband had both served in the British Army and Royal Marines respectively. Candi went on to apply for support via Teaching Staff Trust:


“The process was quick, pleasantly quick. I couldn't believe how quick it was to do and then get a reply. So manageable and easy to do. I was able to do this with an iPhone 6 which was great. All straightforward. All nice and easy, uploading additional supporting documents etc” 


Once submitted, Candi couldn’t speak more highly of the personable experience she received: 


“I can't rate them enough, especially Judith, she was great; so clear and direct. I would send an email, she got back so quickly, the emails felt like Whatsapp it was so quick.”

The ability to create a warm and safe family home


Candi received an award of £3000 to use at one of TST’s preferred providers to help adequately furnish her home. This support has enabled her to purchase beds and furnishings making the home feel safer and more appropriate for her family. 


“When you can't provide for your children it can be a very stressful and lonely situation. We are genuinely so much happier. They (TST) have helped with bunk beds; I had always promised the kids that they would get new beds but couldn't afford it. The house doesn't feel as cold as there are things in it now. It has taken the stress off me. The place now feels like a home.” 


Since this award, Candi continues to recommend the Lighting Reach portal to her friends and colleagues alongside regularly checking what new support options are available. 

“I log back in frequently to check on new support and to show new work friends. I can't fault the system. If things get low again then the portal is there to help when and if I need it; it's comfortable knowing it's there.”

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