Real Stories

Making a difference to the lives of railway people
I’m finding it really helpful. I sometimes go a long time without anyone to talk to and it’s very hard. I’m 94 and meeting new people is difficult, so check in and chat in my own home with a lovely lady to talk to is fantastic. I still manage to get to town to run my errands, although at my age I don’t run! But the casual conversations I have with shop keepers are nothing like the calls, which are much more personal and involved.

Bill, a retired railway worker, has been using our new Check in and Chat Service. Having worked in rail for most of his life, Bill was struggling with retirement and feelings of isolation, sometimes not speaking to another person for days. Now Bill gets to speak to a friendly volunteer once a week for a relaxed chat.

Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the help and support this charity has given us, before this I felt so hopeless and worried about the future, it has been a really tough, stressful year but I now have some sense of positivity that things will get easier and that wouldn’t have happened without RBF’s support.

Six weeks after giving birth, Hayley lost her partner to suicide. As a first-time mum, her mental health deteriorated, and she soon found herself getting deeper into debt. Hayley lived in a small room with her baby to reduce the cost of living, but still struggled greatly. She was in an incredibly low situation, barely scraping by and worried about giving everything to her daughter that she needed.

RBF were able to support Hayley by covering essential bills and necessities for herself and her daughter whilst she has had time off work due to grieving and her mental health. We also provided new furniture for a new house so that Hayley and her daughter could finally have a proper home.

When I approached the RBF, I felt hopeless and that I had no chance of ever paying off all my debts. I sent in my application asking for support with my council tax and energy bills, and the charity provided me with a grant to finally pay off these debts. Since receiving this support, I feel so happy and relieved.

Earlier this year, Oluwatobi found himself drowning in debt. Whenever he got paid, his salary would all go towards paying off the debts, meaning he had nothing left to carry himself and his family through the month, especially as the cost of living continued to rise. Despite this, the court letters and bailiff threats continued to pile up.

After reading about the Railway Benefit Fund, Oluwatobi decided to give us a call. At first, he thought he would not be eligible, or would have to pay a monthly subscription before he could get support, but his caseworker assured him that we could help.

Having worked in rail for 30 years I’d always known about the RBF, but never thought I would need to use their services. Their support was a lifeline for me when I was discharged from hospital; having a downstairs bathroom fitted means that I can look after myself properly again.

Roheel, a Project Manager, was admitted to hospital following sudden onset of back pain and lower limbs weakness.

He was diagnosed with paralysis from a lumbar spinal cord injury, and when discharged 3 months later, became reliant on a wheelchair. Moving back home was challenging for Roheel, as his house was not equipped for his disability. The hospital was able to provide a bed for him to sleep downstairs, but he urgently needed a downstairs bathroom to be fitted to meet his needs. Roheel turned to RBF for help, and we were able to provide a grant to support him with home adaption costs.

The RBF helped me in my time of crisis. I had just moved 90 miles away to start a new job, I had a relationship breakdown due to domestic violence and that person left me in a lot of debt, I was in arrears with my rent and my life was spiralling downhill. I reached out to RBF reluctantly, I was so relieved to receive support at such a crucial time, I honestly don’t know what I’d have done without them.

Jenny was going through an incredibly difficult time when she reached out to RBF.

Not only was she in long term domestic abusive relationship, but she also found herself spiralling into debt, using loan sharks to keep on top of her payments. Eventually Jenny was able to move away from her abusive partner, but she then found herself behind on rent, council tax, and unable to afford her loan repayments.

At breaking point, Jenny decided to contact the RBF. We were able to help Jenny with a financial grant so that she could get back on her feet.

I didn’t know anything about the RBF until I went to the presentation. It took a lot for me to make that call but I was so desperate and had nowhere else to turn. There was no judgement just support and guidance to turn my situation around.

Jason was a rail apprentice sleeping in his car every night when he turned to RBF.

Circumstances such as a family breakdown and lack of money to put down a deposit on a flat meant that Jason was desperately holding things together during the day to try and complete his rail apprenticeship, going ‘home’ to his car at night to eat sandwiches and crisps for his evening meal. RBF came to his place of work to do a presentation on financial resilience and later that week, Jason got in touch.

I was in a really bad way but thanks to the RBF I now have a room and a safe place to see my children, I have 4 kids so it’s cramped but we manage. It has been a really tough few months but I’m glad to say that things are starting to look better for me.

Jack is a Gateline Assistant on the railways and until recently was living in a van.

Jack found himself homeless following the breakdown of his relationship, which in turn led to mental health issues and time off work. Faced with long waiting lists for housing, he needed to find somewhere to live so he could get back to work and spend time with his children somewhere safe and warm.

The RBF were able to help Jack get back on his feet with a deposit for a flat share, a month’s rent and some money for food.

I am absolutely overwhelmed and feeling very emotional because RBF have literally saved my Christmas! I have been worried over the weekend as to how I was going to buy some Christmas food and top up the electricity so I can switch the heating up (it’s been freezing here for the last few days!) I really don’t know how I would have managed without the £300 you have awarded me for food and electricity – I am very grateful.

Lorraine, a retired railway employee, found herself in a difficult financial situation before Christmas.

She had less than £40 in her account to pay for food and electricity for the month. On top of this, her car had just failed its MOT, her washer dryer had broken down and her electric fire stopped working. Lorraine began to regularly skip meals to ensure she had money for electricity.

Lorraine reached out to the RBF and we were able to replace her washer dryer as well as provide her with a grant to cover her food and heating costs during the Christmas period.

When I first approached RBF, I was physically and mentally spent, homeless, with no family contact or support network. I freely admit that I considered the ultimate option of ending the pain. After contacting RBF I saw an opening, a glimmer of hope. I now have a furnished flat, am in good mental and physical health and back in contact with my family. I feel good about the future for the first time in three years.

Arthur became homeless in December 2019.

He was housed in temporary accommodation, but was moved around several times in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This had a real impact on Arthur’s metal health and led to him feeling hopeless about his situation.

Arthur reached out to the RBF after securing a permanent tenancy for a flat. We provided him help with his deposit, rent, one month’s council tax, and essential items to turn the flat into his home.

I can’t describe how grateful we are for all the help and support from RBF. The RBF has helped us to pay for a private assessment to help guide and understand our daughter’s needs. This will help our family greatly in finding the support for our daughter and our family’s wellbeing.

Richard’s daughter had been experiencing severe sensory problems and stress.

She was struggling to express her emotions and often had meltdowns which significantly impacted her education. This had emotionally affected all family members, who are struggling to understand her needs. Due to Covid-19, the waiting list for her to see an NHS paediatrician has increased, meaning she wouldn’t receive an autism assessment for months.

Richard reached out to the RBF to see if we could help. We were able to provide a grant towards the cost of a private need’s assessment, including sensory and autism, for Richard’s daughter.

When my vision declined I was struggling to complete simple tasks on my own, and felt incredibly isolated from the outside world. Without RBF I never would have been able to afford my new glasses, which have improved my quality of life immensely. I am so very grateful.

Malcolm, a retired Guard, lives alone in sheltered accommodation.

Since Malcolm’s vision declined, he struggled to do the basic things in life, such as online banking, making a phone call or reading a bus timetable. Malcolm was quoted over £500 for a new pair of glasses to help with his condition, but he was already finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Malcolm reached out to RBF to see if we could help. We were able to provide a grant through our Retired Fund that helped Malcolm to get the glasses he needed.

© 2024 Railway Benefit Fund. Founded in 1858 - Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1949.