“It was easy to access and all the information was very clear to understand. I could see there was a lot of support to access to get help. English is not my first language, this was in simple English which made it really easy to understand.”
Not knowing where to turn when had not needed support before
When Mireille lost her job in March 2023, she struggled to stay on top of rising bills and the cost of living. Her rent and council tax arrears increased significantly, and she was struggling to make ends meet. After suffering two family bereavements the year before, Mireille had spent a large amount of her money caring for a family member overseas, which meant she could not afford her rent payments.
Having always worked before, Mireille did not know where to start looking for support as had never needed it before.
Contact from her local council about Lightning Reach
Fortunately, Mireille had received both an email and a leaflet in the post from her local council, Lambeth, mentioning support available from Lightning Reach.
“It (the information) was there, so I thought why not give it a try.”
After quickly signing up, Mireille discovered there was support available on Lightning Reach that she was eligible to apply for from Lambeth Council to help with her bills, and applied for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) easily in about 10-15 minutes through the Lightning Reach portal.
“I was not aware they (Lambeth Council) offered this type of support and didn’t expect to find Lambeth support on it. I only found out when visiting the Lightning Reach website.”
Mireille had her application approved for DHP, and is now receiving £13.70 per week (around £700 per year) from Lambeth towards her costs. She also received many other matches for additional support she could look at applying for, and was surprised to see all the options for support available to her on the portal.
“My thought was wow - all this! My goodness, why was I neglecting this. It was a good thing that I registered, I was glad that I had found it.”
Mireille found the process of finding and applying for support through Lightning Reach very simple to do.
“It was very, very easy. There were no complicated questions and it just asked for the necessary information that was needed. It’s great to have all that help put in one place so you can go and read about everything available. The portal is easy to access, helpful and informative. You’ve made it in a way that is so simple. With some things it feels like you need a PHD to read it, but I feel anyone could read and understand this.”
Providing a relief from stress and worry
For Mireille, being awarded support through the Lightning Reach portal alleviated her stress hugely in trying to find financial support to help her when she was facing a difficult financial situation, and reduced her worries about how to pay her bills.
“The first feeling for me was relief - that something you have been worrying about has been taken care of. It has taken a bit of anxiety away from me as my rent arrears have been reduced. When you have financial worries, it causes anxiety and you lose sleep over it. With the cost of living, when you do your shopping everything has gone up, so this has provided relief financially.”
Mireille’s positive experience using the portal to find and apply for support means she would recommend it to others who are looking for support during this difficult time.
“I would recommend this portal to anyone that is in need. For me, I had such a positive experience.”