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BAB is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol.
At the first meeting with a Community Webs linkworker, Catherine stated she had been feeling stressed, anxious and constantly overwhelmed. She spoke mainly about the condition of her home, particularly her bathroom, which she said was unusable due to a flooding four years ago and subsequent mould and damp issues; she had been using her neighbours bathroom to wash. Her struggle to resolve this issue with her housing provider had been significantly impacting her mental health and ability to cope with day-to-day life (as well as the stress of not having a useable bathroom).
During Catherine’s first two appointments with the linkworker she spoke constantly about this issue and the dealings she had had with various staff at the housing association and tradesman over the last four years. Catherine stated that she had little faith in anyone sorting the issue for her as she had been let down so many times in the past and didn’t know what to do.
The linkworker listened to her story and gathered information about what had happened over the last four years. The linkworker’s first action was to contact CHAS (Bristol) an independent housing advice service. CHAS suggested following the formal complaints procedure for the relevant housing association. In Catherine’s third appointment, the linkworker was able to assist her with the online complaints form that she was unable to do herself due to a lack of computer literacy. 10 days later the linkworker chased the complaint with the housing association who had not responded. The housing association advised the linkworker to take some photos of the bathroom and send these photos to them, which the linkworker did on behalf of Catherine. Further to this, the housing association agreed to attend a joint home visit with Catherine and the linkworker and apologised for their delay in resolving this complaint.
The linkworker was able to support Catherine (who had grown increasingly frustrated) at the meeting with the housing manager. It was agreed at this meeting that the necessary work would carried out on Catherine’s property and also further ‘snags’ within the property would also be resolved. The plan of works was promptly confirmed in writing.
During Catherine’s work with the Community Webs linkworker, Catherines primary goal had been to request that the housing association restore the condition of her property so she could have a useable home and be relieved from this source of stress. Fortunately Catherine and the linkworker were able successfully achieve this. However, an issue that was also raised by Catherine was her struggle to cope emotionally with traumatic events that had happened in her past. Catherine was reluctant to seek further help, as previous help hadn’t benefited her much. However the linkworker had built trust and a relationship with Catherine, and together they were able to action a supported referral to WOMANKIND who offer a free helpline and professional counselling support.
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