All of us may experience financial hardship in our lives but for some of us the consequences of the pandemic hit hard. Many of our sector colleagues who were self-employed or furloughed struggled to make ends meet and with a 20% reduction in wages for some coping day-to-day was difficult. From March- December 2020, the Electrical Industries Charity awarded 1,343 grants to industry members to support them through this trying time. Tim and his two daughters received an emergency financial assistance grant after Tim caught COVID-19 in May 2020.
Tim had worked as a self-employed electrician for five years and continued to work during the pandemic as he was considered an essential worker. Tim was a single father and both his young daughters attended school during the period. Unfortunately, while within school, his eldest daughter contracted COVID-19 which quickly spread throughout the household. Tim had to isolate within the home for 14 days. While at home Tim’s condition worsened. He became increasingly breathless, suffered with relentless coughing fits and struggled to take food or water. Concerned, Tim rang NHS 111 and was hospitalised. Tim’s sister moved into his family home to care for his daughters. After a stint within ICU Tim was discharged after a fortnight’s stay within hospital.
Once home Tim was incredibly weak, and his sister was furloughed so she could continue to care for Tim and her nieces. Tim’s financial resources were significantly depleted. Work had been scarce throughout the pandemic and now he had been unable to work for almost a month. Him and his children were depending on his sister’s reduced wage. Tim’s financial worry was hindering his recovery, so he contacted the Electrical Industries Charity.
The Electrical Industries Charity assigned Tim a caseworker who established Tim’s financial circumstances, income, and expenditure. It was clear Tim needed some financial aid to support his family and safeguard his recovery. Tim completed a financial assistance form provided by the charity and he was awarded a grant to support his income in the short term. His charity case worker also helped Tim to apply for universal credit which would help him get by until his circumstances improved. The Electrical Industry Charity case workers are well versed in the welfare systems in place and can help sector colleagues to understand what benefits they are entitled to and how they can receive them. The charity also encouraged Tim to speak to his bank for a mortgage holiday. Mortgage holidays do not affect your credit score or interest rate but provide a period of respite for those struggling to meet their mortgage payments.
By the Summer of 2020 Tim was ready to return to work and he was able to find a contract role which provided some stability and security for his family. The Electrical Industries Charity had since closed Tim’s case and Tim was grateful for the financial support and guidance provided by the charity team.