Today was a brilliant day for Cohort 4 in terms of being able to promote what we represent. That is, women supporting and empowering other women to be safe, and to achieve their potential.
One of our new women is 24 years old with complex issues. She is socially isolated and experiences severe mental health issues. I will refer to her as Chris *not her real name
Chris attended the Cohort 4 women’s group today with her mental health support worker and disclosed to us that she is very unhappy with her current house share. The owner of the property is behaving in a way that is causing Chris to experience increasing levels of distress, anxiety and a lack of sleep. All of this is having a significant impact on her mental health and a crisis point could happen at any time. The solution to this problem is to move out and create a safe place for her to live in. Unfortunately Chris had already been to the Housing Department at her Local Authority and was turned away. The housing assistant advised her that there is no help to fund the two months rent that she needs to pay before taking on a one bedroom flat as she has few links to the area. Chris was left feeling desperate and worried that her mental health will soon be at breaking point.
As Project Lead at Cohort 4 I discussed this with Chris today and offered to go to the Local Authority with her. Just having someone with previous and extensive knowledge of housing and benefits was so helpfully empowering for Chris. She readily agreed, and when we got there Chris was very nervous. However, after the I explain her situation to reception, a very helpful assessor spoke to us and said that Chris would get discretionary help as she fully meets their criteria. Chris was delighted and armed with the necessary confirmation paperwork; she went to view the flat to secure it
This to me epitomises what we do at Cohort 4, we empower our women, enable them to tackle statutory agencies and other organisations through sharing our own experience and professional knowledge. This today was a good example of ‘Women Supporting Women’ and demonstrates how community groups like Cohort 4 really make the difference, immediately, with little fuss, and offer advice, practical help and peer mentoring to our women.
Sarah, Cohort 4 Project Lead