Money Sorted case study: Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum

Posted 13.05.2021

When Joseph was first referred into the Money Sorted in D2N2 project it very quickly became clear that he was struggling with a self-perpetuating cycle of money worries and poor mental health.

As a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo  Joseph had been separated from his family and was struggling to come to terms with a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which could be traced back to some adverse experiences with the Congolese authorities.  These issues were compounded by the seemingly insurmountable costs to bring his family to safety in the UK through the expensive family reunion process.  Whilst Joseph is a qualified Chemical Engineer by background it became evident that he was overwhelmed by the current challenge of managing his finances in an unfamiliar environment full of systems and processes that he did not understand.

Given Joseph’s specific circumstances he was supported by a Personal Navigator affiliated with Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum.  From the outset of this support a decision was made that Joseph would be supported to engage with mental health services whilst receiving support from his Personal Navigator.

Throughout the process of continual contact with his Personal Navigator and a Mental Health practitioner Joseph’s mental wellbeing began to stabilise as a pathway emerged to help him manage his finances and navigate the family reunion process.

As this support continued it became clear that Joseph’s financial capability skills were increasing exponentially. These gains included the development of budgeting skills and understanding of the UK banking system. In his own words Joseph provided insights into some of his struggles with the UK banking system.

“In the Democratic Republic of Congo we use cash money mostly and bargain a lot, we only really have one type of bank account if at all, so in the UK its really confusing and you get into lots of problems because you don’t understand it all, it’s a new country.”

As Joseph continued to engage with his Personal Navigator his outlook improved to the extent that he was eager to engage with an ESOL course to improve his English.  Most encouragingly the early successes on his journey empowered Joseph to develop an appetite to continue to build the financial capability skills necessary for life in the UK.

Through the on-going support of his Personal Navigator Joseph is supported to effectively navigate the UK benefits system and apply for wider support from the Red Cross to support the family reunion process.  This support ultimately culminates in the award of funds to help meet family reunion costs.

By the end of his time on the project Joseph had this to say about the support he received through the Money Sorted project.

“It saved my life, with my mental health issues including PTSD (due to torture), I was lost and I had no money to bring my family to safety. I cried every night and thought about suicide until I went to the Refugee Form and they give me my caseworker. He knew about how to help me with my mental problems and how to solve my finance problem with family reunion, as it was going to cost thousands of pounds. We worked on a plan and did all the actions, it was long but my family are very close to being in the UK. I also learned many skills on money management in the UK. I now feel good about my finance knowledge in the UK and feel calmer, I also know where I need to go if I have any issues. “

BBO is having a significant impact on individual lives, supporting people to increase their confidence, independence and achieve their employment aspirations.

See what our participants have to say in these case studies …

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