Jenny's Story | The Salvation Army

Jenny's Story

From Surviving to Thriving

 

Jenny* was working and in the last few years of paying off her mortgage when she suffered a stroke. Unable to work, and with the stroke affecting her abilities, she had lost control of her finances when she came to The Salvation Army.

‘It was scary asking for help,’ she says. ‘But life was going downhill. Everything was happening all at once. And I didn’t know how to get out of it.’

Initially, Jenny was referred to the food bank from work and income and after a few visits, she saw Dave*, a financial mentor for The Salvation Army. It soon became clear that she was facing repossession of her home. Having paid her mortgage for decades, and being within sight of paying it off, this would have been devastating.

‘The money situation was very stressful,’ says Jenny. ‘When I first met Dave, he said I looked lost and I said “yes, I am”.’

‘It’s one of those instances when a health event changes everything,’ says Dave.

‘After the stroke, she didn’t have the capacity to manage her finances in the way she had all her life. She was simply spending until her card declined, unaware that bills were going unpaid. Her mortgage was in arrears, her insurances had lapsed, and her electricity was in arrears too.

‘We went to the bank together and they agreed to refinance the loan. To enable this, we put in place a bill splitter whereby her supported living benefit goes into two accounts. One for bills and saving and one for everyday use via her Eftpos card. This ensures all the bills are paid. Jenny cannot access the bills and savings account unless she goes into the bank, which we do together.’

 

 

‘I’m a lot more confident,’ says Jenny. ‘The Salvation Army has helped with so many things, the money management is a huge part of it, of course, but there’s also the social side and just knowing help is on hand.’

Dave had noticed that Jenny was lonely and suggested she attend a Cameo (come and meet each other) group run by the church. Jenny attends weekly and has found community there. She is also a member of the church.

‘I probably have more of a social life now than when I was working,’ she says.

Once the bill splitter was put in place, it didn’t take long for some savings to build up. The first short term goal was to get some new clothes, a fun outing that Dave shared with Jenny three months after refinancing the mortgage. A year later, Jenny was proud to pay cash for a new lounge suite; a couch and recliner chairs that have transformed the comfort level of her home.

‘It was stressful worrying about money, and all that’s organised now. I can believe in myself again,’ she says.

For the most part, Jenny is now self-sufficient. She doesn’t need to see Dave very often but knows he’s there when needed. When she wants to buy something from her savings account, they will go to the bank together, see what’s available and talk numbers.

For someone like Jenny, the ongoing nature of journeying with The Salvation Army brings a sense of peace that has allowed her to thrive.

 

For Jenny’s protection - we have not used her real name, and used an actor to portray her. Staff name changed.