Jennifer's story

Jennifer always wanted to be a teacher but wasn’t able to join the profession until after she had children. Unfortunately due to ill health she had to retire early. She and her husband have limited income and when she needed a stairlift, they turned to us for help.

Jennifer shares her story:

I always dreamed of being a teacher but could not afford to go to college when I left school as I lost my parents quite young. So I ended up doing a graphic design apprenticeship. I then married and had 2 children.

I felt so lucky when I  was able to go back to university later in life and study to become a primary teacher – a life-long dream . It was a job I absolutely loved and would’ve gladly worked  for nothing.

After working for a few years and having extra responsibilities in the school, I was studying a MA and working towards becoming a deputy head. I was devastated when due to ill health I had to retire.  It was so hard to leave a job I loved and had dreamed of doing for so long.

Mobility issues

I am now in my sixties and have several health problems. Due to these issues I need to sleep sitting up. I am also very unsteady on my feet and unable to walk up and down stairs without becoming breathless.

My GP arranged for an occupational therapist to assess my home and decided that I needed a stairlift to allow me to be mobile in and around the house. We have a small income and were unable to purchase the stair lift.

A lady from Sunderland City Council came to see myself and my husband to discuss our needs. I talked about my situation and how I was forced to retire. When she discovered I was a retired teacher, she told me all about Education Support Partnership and the financial support they provide to current and retired education staff.

I was so happy to hear that this help was available and applied for a grant. Carl Hanser, the Grant Caseworker, was so helpful. He told me that the initial grant I asked for was larger than they would be able to award. However, as my husband formerly worked for BT, Carl worked with the BT Benevolent Fund to share the cost of installing a stairlift.

I also discussed with Carl my mobility issues. My husband is now 80 and is no longer able to push me in my care assisted wheelchair. So Carl also told me about the Schoolmistresses and Governesses Benevolent Institution (now the Teaching Staff Trust) and even talked to them for me. They and my union NASUWT were able to help me pay for a motorised wheelchair. This has been a fantastic help!

I’ve got my freedom back!

I can’t thank Education Support Partnership enough. Carl was so helpful and efficient. Before I knew it a cheque was in the post.

The difference it has made to my life is amazing. I am now able to get around the house much more easily. I’ve got my freedom back and can stay in my home where I have lived for 40 years!

I really wanted to share my story so that more people can find out about the help you provide. I couldn’t recommend you highly enough!

How we can help you

Our confidential grants service is here to help you manage your financial and money worries to get you back on track when you are struggling.

If you are working in or retired from the education sector and are suffering financial problems caused by unemployment, ill health, sudden life events, bereavement or a personal injury we may be able to offer support.

Please visit our grants page to find out more and apply.