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Aston’s Story

Published 28/05/2024

Nishkam Civic Association

Discover Aston’s story of suffering from falls and difficulty in carrying out his daily activities to receiving support that he didn’t know he could get through the wraparound approach of our Community Safety Net and South Asian Family Support Hub teams.

Aston Hariot, 85, received a letter from Midland Heart notifying him that his rent would increase. Already behind on his bills due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, Aston came to the Nishkam Centre drop-in, which takes place every Wednesday from 9:30am – 12:30pm and serves to register new clients who live within 2 miles of the centre.

A CSN (Community Safety Net) caseworker, who supports people with issues regarding welfare benefits, debt & housing, saw Aston at the drop-in, where he explained his current situation with his bills. Aston needed to complete a change of circumstance online to notify Housing Benefit of his rent arrears (debt). By completing this change of circumstances he would receive his full housing benefit entitlement, allowing him to pay his rent fully. The caseworker supported Aston in doing this as he wasn’t digitally literate and would struggle to do this himself.

The caseworker also assisted Aston in applying for the Household Support Fund, a one-time payment of £200 to help those facing financial hardship, and the Birmingham Fuel Voucher Scheme, a voucher of £99 to help those on a pre-payment meter pay their bills, to give Aston some additional financial support.

Aston also couldn’t afford credit for his mobile phone. Fortunately, as part of the Good Things Foundation’s National Digital Inclusion Network, our caseworker gave Aston a SIM card and applied for a data package, providing him with a free data plan.

Following this support, a member of the SAFSH team (South Asian Family Support Hub) team which supports marginalised ethnic families to overcome barriers through culturally appropriate person-centred support, spoke with Aston to see if he needed any additional support.

Aston explained how he is finding it difficult to carry out his daily activities such as cleaning, showering, and preparing his meals as he is finding it hard to stand and keeps falling, going on to say that he has to hold onto walls when walking and getting up from a seated position.

After hearing this, the SAFSH team booked another appointment with Aston to identify the potential aids and adaptations that could be made to Aston’s home to improve his quality of life. At this appointment, the team explained the process of getting his aids and adaptations and empowered Aston to go to the nearest OT (Occupational Therapy) drop-in centre if he could make the journey, which he said he was able to do. Although a telephone call could have been made to have an Occupational Therapist come out to see Aston and have the assessment done at his home, this could take up to 3 months, prolonging Aston’s struggle.

Before attending the OT drop-in, the team informed Aston about the evidence he would have to bring with him, such as medical documents and photos of the areas he struggles with, such as his shower. Upon his successful assessment at the Spring House OT drop-in, Aston received most of his aids within 2-3 weeks. Items such as a shower chair, kitchen chair, railings in the bath, stairs, and outside the entrance to his house improved Aston’s quality of life tremendously.

While this process was going on, the SAFSH team also made an appointment with the GP so Aston could get a walking stick so that he could walk more easily; where he was successfully placed on the waiting list. The team also requested a deep clean of his house as he was finding it difficult to clean, which he is also waiting for.

In addition to Aston’s physical wellbeing, the team also took his mental wellbeing into account. Aston expressed the desire to go out and make friends; to aid Aston with this, he was told about Lodge Road Community Church so that he was aware of a place he could go to socialise.

Although Aston’s case is still ongoing, as the team eagerly tries to get the deep clean of his completed, he came into the centre to offer his thanks to the team as he has already felt the improvement; see what Aston had to say below:

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