William* is a self-employed gardener. He has several regular customers but over the winter, bad weather and ill health prevent him from working and as a result his income falls. His wife has a part time job and they have two children at school. They budget carefully, putting money aside to get themselves through the winter period when they have a significantly reduced income. In recent years child benefit and child and working tax credits have been frozen so this income has not been supplemented, however all their bills have increased and despite reducing their expenditure further, after all their essential bills are paid, they have a very small disposable income to live on.
Their son Toby recently started at high school. Perennial helped by awarding a grant to pay for his compulsory school uniform items including the school blazer, sports clothing and tie, which could only be purchased directly from the school.
Toby was soon placed on detention by the school because his homework was not fully completed and had been hand written, when it should be typed. As detention was after the school day had finished, meaning he missed his bus, Toby had to be collected from school by his parents. This incurred additional petrol costs as it is a 30-mile round trip. It transpired that the pupils are instructed to take a photo on their smart phones of the homework from the white board. Toby didn’t feel able to say that his parents couldn’t afford a smart phone for him and instead was attempting to memorise the homework. He also hadn’t felt able to explain that they didn’t have broadband, a laptop or printer at home.
Perennial helped by awarding a regular child education payment from our Children’s Fund which provides the essential equipment Toby needs for school.
* Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality and photo is posed by a model.
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