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Jennifer's story


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Jennifer's Story

Lambeth, London

“Thank you, I am just so glad I got this link. Give it a go. It was very helpful, the help I got in the end was worth it. Spending 10 minutes on the portal, what you get out of it is worth so much more than the time you put in.”

Unexpected changes during a challenging time

When Jennifer’s husband was diagnosed with cancer for a second time and could no longer work, she was unsure how she would cope paying rising bills for their family, while being her husband’s sole carer and working full-time as a Teaching Assistant.


With the family and their two children sharing a small, two bedroom home, Jennifer was struggling to pay their increased bills that had gone up due to the cost of living crisis. Jennifer initially tried contacting Macmillan, but as they had previously had a grant from them, they were unable to apply again. Macmillan provided Jennifer with a list of other places she could look at and apply for support, but she was unsure of where to start.


“It was overwhelming having so many things to apply for. Then having to get proof ready, not knowing what they are going to ask you. The support is there, but when working full time it feels overwhelming where to start.”


A surprise email leads to surprising results

Luckily, Jennifer received an email from her local council about support available to Lambeth residents, which also shared details about the Lightning Reach portal, which Jennifer had never heard of before. She quickly filled out her profile, and was matched to a range of support available to her, including support available from the Teaching Staff Trust. After sharing a few more details about herself and her circumstances, Jennifer was able to easily apply for a grant directly through the portal.


“I thought it was quick and easy. Quick and simple questions, I was done in minutes. It was user friendly and welcoming with the words it used, I didn't feel like I was a burden. It almost came at the right time for me, the email dropping into my inbox. It was a nice, clear experience.”


Within just three days of submitting her application, Jennifer received a payment from the Teaching Staff Trust to help towards her bills for her family.


“Within 2-3 days I was all done and dusted and got my payment. It was a miracle! I thought it would take a couple of months. We are so used to things taking so long, it was shocking how quick it was.”

Help finding additional sources of support

Jennifer also matched to other support available from Lambeth Council, plus discounted social tariffs to enable her to look into ways to save money on her energy and internet bills, which she will also be looking into.


“Initially I was thinking I knew all the support for me. I thought this would be nothing new so I was pleasantly surprised.”

Receiving support and knowing what assistance is available to her out there has been immensely helpful for Jennifer.


“It was a complete and utter relief when I got it (the grant), so much so that I have been raving about it (Lightning Reach) to my friends.”

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