Last year, after celebrating his 46th birthday, Freemason and plumber Pete, suddenly found himself redundant as his company struggled to make it through the pandemic.
As a single father to Sophie, nine, and Kye, 12, his family was completely reliant on his income. When the bad news broke, their future suddenly seemed insecure.
“Like a lot of small businesses, the one I worked for was really struggling after the pandemic. When they said they were going to have to let me go, it wasn’t a shock, but even so it did make me panic. Having two kids certainly isn’t cheap, so money was already tight, but finding myself without an income suddenly added so much more stress and I was facing a real crisis.”
UK unemployment reached almost five per cent in 2021, with many of the hardest-hit being single- parent households.
“I got down to the last £19 in my bank account and had absolutely no idea how I was going to pay the rent or feed my kids. My friends at my lodge didn’t know exactly how hard redundancy had hit me, but they could see I was stressed. John, my Almoner, sat me down and the floodgates opened. I told him everything while he listened and nodded. Together, we came up with an action plan, and started the ball rolling that night.”
Pete and John checked our online 24-hour eligibility checker to see what help he could get. Having confirmed that he and his family were likely to qualify for our support, he called our enquiries line the next morning.
“They were absolutely great. I was a mess but they were incredibly patient and helped me feel so much calmer about the situation. In fact, they were able to make a payment to my landlord less than 24 hours after I originally got in touch, so my immediate worries about the rent just disappeared!”
After the short-term threat of eviction was lifted, Pete spent more time talking with our Enquiries team to find out other ways we could support his family.
“Kye is a football fanatic, and loves his after- school football club. It’s these little luxuries that are the first to go when things get tough, so he was devastated when I told him it would have to stop. Sacrifices like that are really sad because things like clubs are what you remember about your childhood and give you skills for life. Thankfully, the MCF gave us a grant so he could continue with that, and that same grant meant that Sophie could still go ahead with her school trip to London that she’d been looking forward to.”