When Geoff, 55, first visited KCLC, his local Online Centre in the Kensington area of Liverpool, he was unemployed and had been struggling financially for some time. Although he’d inherited the family home from his father, it was in a poor state of repair, and Geoff didn’t have the means to make even the basic general improvements.
When the central heating boiler finally gave out, Geoff really didn’t know where to turn. He tells us: “I was living on a really tight budget, and so the thought of having to fork out for a new boiler was a real worry. I didn’t know what I was going to do, and it was only by chance that I mentioned it in the digital skills class.”
Fortunately, Geoff had been attending digital skills classes at KCLC, to help him find work and the team there knew there were online resources that could help him.
Geoff continues: “Debbie and Patrick recommended the Money My Way pages on the Learn My Way website, they spent some time with me going through them, to see if we could find help in getting the boiler repaired. I knew I would be able to use the internet to find a plumber to get it repaired, but I didn’t see how the internet could help me pay for it!”
The Money My Way programme - funded by Comic Relief and delivered by Good Things Foundation through its Online Centres Network helps people find safe and reliable online advice on all kinds of financial matters by collecting the best available resources on the Learn My Way website.
There’s easy to understand help and guidance on managing debt, budgeting, benefits entitlements and much more.
Patrick Barrett, one of the KCLC volunteers who supported Geoff tells us: “He was soon making the most of Money My Way. He used it to see if he could receive support in the form of a grant or emergency loan. He went onto the Unexpected Events section, and to a number of other linked website and did a great deal of information gathering, over the course of a few weeks. During this time Geoff came across information and guidance on equity release, and what options were available to him, including the possibility of freeing up the value of his property.”
Although equity release in the form of a loan against the property didn’t appear to be the way forward for Geoff, he has realised that he could sell the house and buy somewhere smaller. Geoff explains: “I feel that this could be the way forward for me, and that is something that really makes me feel much more positive and less stressed about my finances in the future.
"Sometimes it takes a setback like this to make you look at your life in a different way. It helped me realise that the emotional attachment I felt for my dad’s house was clouding my judgement in terms of what is best for me financially. I could get somewhere smaller that is in decent nick and then I wouldn’t have as much of a worry.”
Geoff concludes: “Finding help at KCLC has proved to be a wonderful experience. It has given me the opportunity to develop new confidence, skills and peace of mind. I cannot thank the team at KCLC enough for all their support and guidance”.