Overcoming language barriers

Catherine caseworkThis guest blog post is written by Z2K volunteer Mustafa

On a daily basis we deal with clients who do not speak English at all or English isn’t their first language. This provides a gap for a wide range of misunderstandings and complications to occur. At Z2K we have experienced an increase in the number of cases where clients do not fully understand what is required from them by authorities, which causes additional confusion. In many cases this has put clients at a disadvantage, with many having their benefit terminated, having a knock-on effect that impacts their day to day lives. Continue reading

Client testimony: from homelessness to secure housing

The following testimony is written by a former resident of the Humanity Homes hostel

Before I came into contact with Z2K in 2015 I was homeless and in desperate need of help with family, housing and drug issues. I was very low within myself and had low self of steam and couldn’t see myself coming out of this black hole I was in. Jamie at Z2K reached out to me a few months later and I had a meeting with him and Sonya.

They had an opportunity for me to clean myself up and help in getting housed. I found this was maybe the best time for me as I was fading away at that particular time in my life which was down to the way I lived.

Since moving to the house in Ealing I have built a close relationship with Sonya at Z2K. She has given me guidance and support in doing the right thing and showing me how keeping on top of my financial issues is always the first priority.

Now I’ve lived in the flat for 6 months I have gained self-esteem, started attending college and done multiple tasks set out by my key worker. Jamie and Sonya have been very good key workers and have treated me with respect from the first day we have met, the house meetings have been beneficial and the house has been keep to high standards.

Now that Sonya and Jamie have help me they have now given me a platform to move forward in life from square one with an opportunity for me to live in society and succeed in what goals I want to achieve in life.

Case study: from 0 to 45 points, by way of an appeal

HMCourts&TribunalsThe following post was written by Z2K social work volunteer Ronique Sylvester

One of the most common casework tasks here at Z2K involves helping clients with benefit appeals by preparing submissions and attending tribunals hearings. I was fortunate enough to represent a lovely client named Rosie. Rosie has been suffering with type 1 diabetes since she was 14, now in her late 40’s, she has developed further complications due to her diabetes. These include peripheral neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, hypertension, glaucoma and urinal incontinence. Continue reading

My experience of a social work placement at Z2K

HMCourts&TribunalsThe following post is written by Z2K volunteer social work student Delayna Samm

Completing my 70 day placement here at Z2K has been a great learning experience. The opportunity to meet and support a diverse client base with a variety housing and welfare issues has helped to develop my intervention skills. Furthermore, working at Z2K has enabled me to directly observe how the effect of changes to welfare policy on vulnerable people.

A normal day at Z2K included answering incoming calls from clients who need immediate advice or an update on their circumstances. Writing emails or letters to other organisations on behalf clients. Chasing the DWP for responses or for updates of a client’s claim and assisting other team members with their casework. Continue reading