What we've done so far

Here are some stories about some of you, our residents, who we've helped to grow in confidence and achieve your goals. We've changed some of the names for confidentiality.

Christine - Top of the class

Christine first started to receive support from our Individual Empowerment Team in November 2012.

Due to depression, Christine found it difficult to motivate herself and had a large amount of debt.

Christine’s Individual Empowerment Officer, Ami, worked closely with her, helping to build her confidence and looking at ways she could address her debt issues. Christine visited Bristol Debt Advice Centre and Pennywise who both gave her advice around reducing her debts. Christine learnt how to budget her income and has successfully cleared all her debt and rent arrears.

Christine wanted to go back to college, but found this difficult as she didn't have much confidence. With encouragement and advice from Ami, Christine was able to find a course that she was interested in and has now gone on to train as a Phlebotomist and qualified top of her class! 

Christine is really eager to find employment and her positive attitude now gives her the confidence to walk into job fairs, GPs and other agencies and leave her CV in case a position becomes available. 

She said: “I’m really happy with the service that I’ve received and all that I’ve achieved over the last year”

Christine has a new approach to life. She’s succeeded in empowering herself and improving her life.

Mr and Mrs Tremlitt - Positive steps

Mr and Mrs Tremlitt have been married for 30 years and have been our residents since May 1993.

They have had to overcome many challenges, including ongoing mental health issues. Mr Tremlitt also has severe learning difficulties, and spends four days a week at the Enterprise Resource Centre in Frome, which supports adults with learning difficulties.

Our Individual Empowerment Service started to support Mr and Mrs Tremlitt when their Housing Benefit was suspended after they failed to return some information to their local council.

Our Individual Empowerment Officer, Agata, started working with Mrs Tremlitt and they quickly built a bond. Mrs Tremlitt felt able to openly discuss her personal life and feelings and got a lot out of the support.

She revealed that she was lonely and unhappy when her husband was out, so Agata arranged for her to meet a worker from the Elim Project, which supports people who are isolated and helps them to meet others in their community. This went really well and the Project agreed to support Mrs Tremlitt to access and join in with community events in her local area.

Agata has also supported Mr and Mrs Tremlitt with their budgeting and benefit claims, and has worked closely with Mr Tremlitt’s support worker to look into other accommodation, including supported housing, which could be better suited to Mr Tremlitt’s needs.

Successful joint working has meant that Mr and Mrs Tremlitt can improve their lives and take positive steps towards a brighter future.


Darren - Not isolated any more

Darren started to receive support from our Individual Empowerment Team in August 2013. Darren spent a lot of time alone. He felt isolated and really wanted to get out and about, but due to his lack of confidence he found this quite difficult.

Darren decided that he’d like to try to start accessing his community and with support from his Individual Empowerment Officer, Joe, they started to meet at the local coffee shop. Darren felt more and more comfortable doing this and his confidence grew.

At Darren’s request, Joe looked into befriending services in the Bath area and Darren found something that he thought he may be interested in. Joe also looked into Julian House, an organisation that holds activities in a number of different areas.

Darren's now registered with the befriending service and has gone to a number of activity groups at Julian House, including cooking classes, a resilience group, ‘50-strong’ group and a bike maintenance class.

Darren’s confidence has increased so much that he’s bought a bike and joined a local gym, which means he continues to get out and about without support, meeting people and getting fit too.

Darren said: “I feel so much happier now and really enjoy going out and about in my community”.


Mrs Lovell - Positive about the future

Mrs Lovell faced various challenges over recent years, which resulted in her battling depression and finding day to day living very difficult.

This is what she had to say about the support that she received from our Individual Empowerment Team:

“Individual Empowerment has been second to none. I didn’t know the service existed until my Housing Officer came round to help me with the trees in my garden.

The service has been informative and I’d never have found out about the cooking group or computer group without it. I’ve been going to  the cookery group with the support of Kim, my Individual Empowerment Officer, which has given me confidence in social situations and new skills to try in the kitchen to help me eat healthier.

Kim is knowledgeable and supportive which made me feel comfortable and, with support, I’ve been able to sort out my paperwork, debts and the TV license. I also got support to apply for help with the bedroom tax which was a great success and will help me to manage my debts and get control back in my life.

Most of all, I now feel positive about the future and I know there's always help available if I need it again.”

Miss Barber - Learning to cope again

Miss Barber was referred to our Individual Empowerment Team by her Income and Recovery Officer.

She had to give up her job because of illness and she fell into debt and got depression. She started to suffer from panic attacks whenever she left her home and even when she got a phone call. Miss Barber was finding it increasingly difficult to deal with her problems.

Our Individual Empowerment Officer, Jo, started working with Miss Barber on a weekly basis, to look at prioritising issues and build on her confidence. Jo supported Miss Barber to sort out her benefit claims and work out payment plans to manage her debt.

This is what Miss Barber had to say about the support she received:

"Jo's been very helpful in the time that I’ve been seeing her. She’s helped me sort out my anxiety problems. It got to the stage that I couldn’t leave my house and found it extremely difficult just talking to people on the phone.

She helped me to sort out my rent problems and council tax debts. I just couldn’t get my head around all the letters and forms that I needed to complete and deal with. I’m now confident in dealing with my money and going out and about.

My confidence has grown over the last few months and I’m grateful for all the help and support that the Individual Empowerment Team has shown me. I’m happy that I can go places on my own and deal with things without having to suffer a panic attacks. I no longer ignore any issues that may pop up.”

Miss Barber still struggles at times but is able to manage and cope with things a lot better now.

Dorota – New home, new life

My name's Dorota and I’ve lived in the UK for several years. I came with my two children to join my husband and find a better life for all of us. Things didn't go as planned last year and I was the victim of domestic abuse.

I was very lucky to find a home with Knightstone.

When I first signed my tenancy my Housing Officer, Lizzie, referred me to the ICE team for support. I met with my Individual Empowerment Officer, Denise, and we sat and chatted about everything I wanted help with and what I wanted to do.

I used to live in a block which had laundry facilities on site and so I didn't have a washing machine and some other essentials for my new home. With support and advice I managed to budget and save for most of the items I needed. I also had support to apply for a fridge/freezer from Bristol City Council, which was successful.

I painted and decorated my new home and spent many days searching free websites and many car boot sales. I bought lamp shades for 20 pence, pictures for £1 and other items to make my home a warm and welcoming place for me and my children.

I wasn’t eligible for dual housing benefit, but with support from Denise, as well as the Income Team in Knightstone, I set up a payment plan to pay back the rent arrears each week at a sum I could afford.

I work every day at a school as a lunch time supervisor and I also volunteer two days a week helping the children with their classroom tasks, but really wanted to find a job where I could work with children. 

With support and encouragement from Denise, I telephoned the local college to arrange an interview to enrol on a Teaching Assistant course. I had an interview at the City of Bristol College, where I’m now studying the NVQ course to become a Teaching Assistant. I’m really looking forward to completing this course and hope that it'll help me get a job in the future.

The support I've received from Knightstone’s Individual Empowerment Team has helped me to find out what opportunities are out there and how to access them. The support has been really good at a time when I really needed it.