What a difference a small budget makes …

We’ve been meeting with women from the 218 service in Glasgow to hear how having a relatively small amount of money (i.e. a test budget) can help people move forward with their lives. Here are their stories:

Anne is a woman in her fifties with two grown up daughters and several grandchildren. She has convictions for offences committed while under the influence of alcohol. Her younger daughter’s partner is violent and Anne has to avoid him (and her daughter) for fear of being arrested again for confronting him. Her daughter is about to enter the residential unit at Glasgow’s Drug Crisis Centre to deal with her heroin addiction. As a result, Anne’s thirteen year old grandson Stephen will be coming to live with her shortly.

Anne is hoping to move into a two bedroom house by Christmas with Stephen who has experienced bullying at school because of his mother’s drugs issues. However, he is doing well academically. She is also working with other agencies including Lifelinks which offers counselling, group work and stress reduction techniques and Families Addiction Support Service which supports families affected by drugs and alcohol. In particular, she has found cognitive behavioural therapy sessions offered at 218 to be beneficial in helping her process her anger in less harmful ways.

Anne will use her test budget to buy new bedroom furniture for her grandson’s room.  It will be a new start for her and for her grandson. She says that she doesn’t want to make the same mistakes that she made with her daughters and is determined to provide a stable, secure home life for her grandson.

Lisa is a young woman in her twenties with depression and anxiety who uses alcohol to help her cope with the psychological effects of a traumatic event in her past. She finds that exercise helps her to feel better mentally and physically. Initially she had thought about using her test budget for a gym membership but has now decided to get her teeth whitened and has agreed a payment plan with her dentist. At present, she feels that she is too embarrassed to smile and is uncomfortable talking to people in new social situations. In the past she would spend days in bed or drinking. Recently, her mother has noticed that she is taking better care of herself and is trying new activities and groups. Lisa has also said that feeling better about her teeth and appearance will motivate her to give up smoking, be more healthy and to take up volunteering opportunities.