“When I was put forward for Motiv8 by Citizens Advice I recall, I had not long moved out of supported housing after being there for 16 months to recover from a relapse in substance misuse. I had just moved on to my own flat to start again at the age of 49."
“Due to unforeseen circumstances my benefits were stopped without my knowledge in August of 2020 and I started to receive notice to eviction letters and daily phone calls from various legal representatives from my landlord. I had never been in the benefit system before and even with daily phone calls and emails to countless different people I was getting nowhere and hitting a wall.
“What followed were months of daily contact and threats of eviction. I went into a very dark place, I suffer from fibromyalgia and a few other health issues and the stress was so intense I seemed to be in a constant flare up, couldn't walk at some points and started to lose the will to live. Due to having to pay the missing rent from my benefits I did not have the funds to eat or go anywhere apart from my hospital visits which would leave me without money for milk or even sanitary supplies to help with a womb condition. It was the most demoralising time of my life and thoughts of not being here were frequent.”
What support did you receive?
“With incredible help and support from Jo, my key worker, I received help from many sources. I received furniture, a washing machine and cooker, food parcels delivered, counselling, I was saved from eviction and also my benefits were increased to help bring relief and support my health and physical issues.”
"I have also received support from some wonderful people and organisations, including Shelter, (one of Motiv8's specialist partners) - I would probably have been evicted without their help, Mustard Tree for food and furniture, Citizens Advice and Shelter for benefit advice and support from Jo, my key worker, at my PIP assessment and I was also referred me to TLC (Talk, Listen Change) for 1 to 1 counselling."
“Now, one year on from when I started working with Motiv8, my life has turned around 180 degrees. I feel confident in my life and feel like I'm through the worst of the transition in starting again from scratch. My home, recovery and my mental health feel safe and supported. I cannot emphasise enough how incredible Motiv8 has been for me and would recommend them to anyone and everyone going through difficult times in one form or another. I felt alone, helpless and lost and really could not see a light at the end of the tunnel...now I know that if ever things took a turn for the worse ever again that I am not alone trying to navigate this myself. I may have ended up homeless without the referral and support I received from Shelter.
"I feel sad that my time with my key worker has come to an end but also so very grateful that I had this incredible experience and now someone else can be helped as I have. So thank you to Jo and all the team at Motiv8 for your incredible work that you do. I feel very very blessed. I now look forward to continuing my Motiv8 journey with the employability team.”
What are your hopes for the future?
"My hopes for the future are to be able to find a voluntary role initially where I can teach yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing. Jo has referred me to the Motiv8 Employability Team to support me with this. My long term goal is to return to paid employment.
What advice would you give someone who is in the position you were in?
"I would encourage anyone to pick up the phone to Motiv8, attend the appointments and things will fall into place. I feel so passionate about Motiv8 that I have already given 3 of my friends their number and they are currently going through the sign up process.
Joanne, Maria's key worker said:
"It has been an absolute delight to support Maria. It has been a privilege to watch Maria’s confidence return and I’m sure in the future Maria will achieve all her goals and dreams. She is a very intelligent and kind lady who I know is an inspiration and support to her friends. Maria is now working with Motiv8’s Employability team, part of Motiv8’s holistic step-up/step-down model, and I wish Maria all the very best for the future and I can’t wait to see what amazing things she can achieve."