Deborah moved in to a new flat in January of this year. She had the most possessions I’ve ever seen one person accrue. When I say possessions, I mean ornaments, knick-knacks, teddy bears and pound shop products by the tonne. All these items were immensely personal and important to Deborah. I was essential that ubu help her find somewhere safe for them in her new house.
Deborah had been financially abused in the past, and this had resulted in her having to have an appointee in charge of her finances with an extremely tight budget.
On the day of moving, Deborah had very little furnishings and her new flat looked incredibly sparse. She had only a bed, a table with chairs, and a television. There was no money to get Deborah the essentials she needed, such as curtains for her windows, nothing to make the flat comfortable and functional, and nowhere to store her special possessions.
I called the care manager asking for funds to help Deborah furnish the flat properly -- if even on a shoestring budget. The care manager informed me that there simply was no cash available; Deborah would have to learn how to save in order to purchase the items she needed. I couldn’t believe that this was the case and pleaded with the care manager that any small amount would be appreciated. Unfortunately, no money was forthcoming.The ubu team and I had to think of what else we could do to support Deborah through this predicament. The staff team came together and donated items of furniture that they were no longer using. This provided a base for us with which to work and get the ball moving. At the same time, we knew that another support was closing down. So, we asked if we could take good quality items of furniture from there, and this was granted. Although all this was free, we then had the added issue of how we were going to get the larger items to Deborah. The team found volunteers with the appropriate vehicles to help transport the furniture across. We also spread the word to other services & the Hub on behalf of Deborah, to see if there was anyone able to help turn her flat into a home. We were surprised by the results! Staff at the Hub donated some beautiful items of furniture along with aesthetic components to help decorate. Even the curtains were donated and expertly hung by the Progress Care handyman, at a massively reduced rate.
A few months on, and Deborah’s flat looks like a palace. Deborah has never had the opportunity to live on her own before, and she has realised that she is fantastically house proud. Deborah keeps her flat immaculately tidy. To her this is never a chore. Deborah loves to keep her flat looking beautiful, and this, itself, helps her to feel good about herself.
It’s a true testament to the staff at ubu that this story has been so successful. It would have been easy to give up along the way – when financial obstacles seemed insurmountable or it became logistically difficult. Instead, we came together to help someone in need. Many didn’t personally know Deborah, yet they fought hard to get anything they could, by hook or by crook to make her life better. They all went the extra mile to support our consumer.