Karl*, aged 27, moved to the UK from Poland over 5 years ago, working as a driver in London.
Unfortunately, during the pandemic, he lost his job and was unable to find more work. Karl made an application for Universal Credit but, due to his limited English and lack of access to IT, the process became lengthy, complicated and very frustrating.
Once approved, he submitted a claim for Universal Credit in February but sadly by this time, Karl found himself unable to pay his rent and subsequently lost his home. He spent some time sleeping rough before moving to Cambridge and sofa surfing between friends and family – something that he felt embarrassed to be forced to do.
During this period, Karl’s passport had also expired, leaving him with no documents to allow him to look for work and no funds to pay to have it renewed. Through no fault of his own, Karl was trapped in a situation where he was powerless to rebuild his life.
Upon the advice of a family member, Karl sought help from Wintercomfort in May 2021 where he met Aggie who became his Project Worker.
At this point, Karl had still not received any payment for his Universal Credit claim and felt so demoralised by the continued delays and the lack of response, that he was ready to abandon the process. Aggie persuaded him to continue to pursue his claim and, with relentless persistence, she managed to resolve the issue, finally resulting in a payment in July – some 6 months after his application.
Wintercomfort were also able to pay for his passport to be renewed and to support him in applying for settled status in the UK. With his documents in place, Karl was then able to access work in our social enterprise business Overstream Clean and Garden.
Karl quickly proved himself to be hardworking, reliable and a pleasure to work with. He is a highly valued member of the team. He continues to receive in-work training including e-learning courses and will soon be starting lessons to improve his English – all positive moves to support his personal development and career prospects.
Karl is now able to support himself once again and to access private rental accommodation. He is hoping to be able to find another driving job as soon as possible.
*Name changed to protect identity.