Olivia's story | Education Support Partnership

Olivia's story

A new job and home in London turned into a nightmare for teacher Olivia. A grant from us helped means she can now look forward to a happy and secure Christmas. 

When primary school teacher Olivia, 32, (not her real name) returned from living in the Netherlands,  she needed to find work fast as living out the country for 18 months meant she and her wife were not entitled to benefits or even certain kinds of healthcare.

After living with family for a few months she found a job working in a school in East London. “I really wanted a job in Manchester where I’m from and where most of my family still live but I couldn’t find one. But there were lots of jobs in London so I took one of those. Then I needed somewhere to live. That’s when the nightmare began.”

No savings

To secure a flat in London Olivia and her wife, Chloe, 27, needed a large deposit and the first month’s rent. This came to £2,000. “We looked for the cheapest place we could find. But without enough savings to cover the deposit and advance rent we needed help. I googled ‘help for teachers’ and found the Education Support Partnership. We were awarded £1800 and found a flat in Essex which we were due to move in to just after the New Year with me starting my job the next day.”

However when they turned up at the flat they were horrified to discover the windows had been boarded up. “This was because the upstairs tenant had smashed all the windows! The landlady promised us she’d fix them and we had no choice but to stay the night and hope she did. I had to start my new job the next day so when the upstairs tenant began playing music loudly at 1am I went upstairs to ask her to turn it down, explaining I was starting a new job the next day.

Assaulted by neighbour

“The woman started screaming and yelling at us and threatened to stab us. She pushed us hard and damaged Chloe’s hip and shoulder as she was shoved against a metal gate. We called the police but had to wait all night for them to come. When dawn broke we just packed our things and drove back to Manchester. We couldn’t stay in a place where we were assaulted.”

The landlady refused to return their advance rent and deposit saying they were over dramatising what had happened. The money had been borrowed from family in lieu of receiving a grant from Ed Support. “We’ve had to write that money off and gradually pay our family back. In a way it was a good thing we hadn’t yet received the grant from Ed Support or we wouldn’t have been able to find another flat,” says Olivia.

Safe and happy

Back in Manchester, again living with family in an overcrowded house, having to live in the lounge as there wasn’t anywhere else to sleep, Olivia managed to find a job nearer home. Thanks to our grant, she and Chloe were able to move into another flat, this time only 15 minutes from her work and a house with a garden instead of a flat an hour’s drive from work. It made for a considerably happier Christmas having family around them and being in a home that felt safe and secure.

“We are also now living a five minute walk from Chloe’s mother and we’re close to the city centre. We would never have been able to afford move into this house if it weren’t for Ed Support. We’re much happier than we would’ve been in London and my job is in a better school than the one in London.”

Olivia and Chloe now tell people all about the help Ed Support gave them. “I want everyone to know what amazing work Ed Support does. Thanks to the grant service we were able to escape a nightmare hellhole and find a much better life. I don’t know what we would’ve done without it.”

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.