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Spotlight on: tailored holistic support

Kidney Care UK is a charity providing holistic support to those suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD). Since June 2023, the British Gas Energy Trust has been funding a Kidney Care UK money and energy project and it has fast become a staple part of their patient support service.

Kate has worked as a money and energy advisor since the project’s inception, offering in-depth advice and support to empower clients moving forward.

About the integration of this project into the wider support team, Kate said:

“The role of a Money and Energy Advisor has become an integral part of patient support services at Kidney Care UK and ensures that a client receives holistic support. Clients are referred to us by the Patient Support and Advocacy Officers who gain an initial insight into the client’s situation. This means that when we talk to them, they do not repeat themselves. Some of our clients come to us with complex issues covering a range of advice areas so it is invaluable with these cases that we can liaise with our colleagues to ensure a joined-up approach.”

One person to receive holistic support from Kate was Mr B. Mr B was a bus driver but had to stop working due to kidney failure. He receives haemodialysis three times a week and has had one leg amputated below the knee due to diabetes complications, with the possibility of the other foot having to be amputated too. His wife has been caring for her husband and working overtime to ensure their mortgage and bills are paid.

Kate was able to adapt her approach to provide the best possible support for Mr B’s complex needs. Spending time with Mr and Mrs B and building a rapport helped them understand all the areas in which Kate could help. Not only has she been able to support them with a successful enhanced PIP application, the carers element of Universal Credit, council tax reduction, tariff switching and a home energy efficiency survey, she has also worked closely with the wider support team resulting in Mr B receiving a mobility scooter grant to help with his independence and both him and his wife have been offered counselling services to support their mental health. Kate continues to work with Mr B, applying for a grant for an adapted chair and supporting him as anything new arises.

About the role, Kate said:

“Although this role has its challenges, these are totally outweighed by the positives.
A major part of my role is supporting clients with applying for disability benefits. Although there are long waits until a decision is made, which is a challenge, finding out that a client has been successful is a positive and one which we celebrate as a team.
I have lived experience of disability and know how hard a system to navigate it is, I also know the feeling of relief that comes with a successful outcome.

“The positive aspects of the role are not all linked to financial gains. Being able to build a rapport with a client and walk alongside them as they navigate this difficult chapter of their lives is a privilege. I feel a sense of pride when clients who have required intense support tell me that they feel able to phone an outside agency by themselves.

“There are challenges in this role but what better feeling is there at the end of the day than knowing that because of the advice given, a client is able to eat a hot meal and heat their home.”

To find money and energy support local to you, please click here.

The Trust currently has two energy debt support funds open. To check your eligibility and apply, please click here.