Since the Prime Minister announced the country was going into lockdown on 18 March, life has been different for all of us as we are asked to stay at home to try and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The financial and social implications of life in this new world thrown all manner of uncertainties up into the air. On top of concerns for the wellbeing of loved ones, for many of us, daily life has become a struggle.

“These are worrying and uncertain times for many of us as we try to navigate our way through the changes and challenges we’re now facing,” says Welfare Services Lead Carrie Pearce. “Finding the relevant information and support can be daunting, not to mention confusing with so much information available.”

Luckily, our Welfare Services Team is here to help. From providing a listening ear to signposting to local services, our wonderful Welfare Caseworkers are still working to help beneficiaries find their way through these uncertain times. Every single household, family and person are being impacted differently, so our Welfare team takes the time to listen and offer support that is as unique as you are.

Here are just some of the ways the Welfare Team has been supporting people in recent weeks. All names have been changed for confidentiality, but their stories are all real.

Retained firefighter Kevin is not eligible for furlough but is experiencing financial hardship due to a loss of income. We offered advice on statutory Welfare benefits, signposted him to money management advice and gave him some financial support.

Frances is the widow of a firefighter and is self-isolating. She has been struggling to purchase food or collect her prescriptions, so we referred her to a support hub in her local area that could help her to organise both.

Control room manager Simon contacted us for bereavement support, asking if we could cover funeral costs. While this isn’t something we’re able to provide, we did give him with information on how to meet funeral costs and seek bereavement benefits. We’re also giving him regular telephone support as well.

Firefighter Dan’s partner has just been told to take unpaid leave for eight weeks and they are concerned about his job security, for what job he’ll be able to go back to after lockdown. We helped them to find local support hubs and signposted to Welfare benefit information and employment support.

Support staff member Sarah is worried about feeding her family. We’ve given her some financial support to be able to buy essentials such as food and toiletries and pointed her in the direction of a local support hub and money management arrangements.

Since his wife died, retired Watch Manager George has been feeling very lonely. The couple had no children and he is currently unable to visit his friends or the local support groups he relies on, so is struggling with self-isolation. We are regularly in contact with him by telephone call and have referred him to the Charity’s Living Well Group coordinator in his area to see if he could take part in a virtual meeting we’re hosting.

If you want to know more about the help that is available to you during this time of national crisis, get in touch with us. Call our Support Line today on 0800 389 8820 and ask to speak to a member of the Welfare Services Team, or complete an enquiry online.

You’re not alone. We may not be with you in person, but we are with you in spirit.