Derek's Story

Derek* talks about how unexpected ill-health turned his world upside down...

I’m hoping to be allowed medically to go back to work soon.

I’ve always been busy, and all of a sudden when you’re struggling to make ends meet, and you haven’t really got anything to get up for, it starts to get really heavy.

I’d been working abroad in Asian sports TV for Sky. I’ve always paid my taxes in the UK, kept my bank here, I’m based here but I’ve come and gone. I got very sick and had to go into hospital and then I was diagnosed with a very serious heart condition. I knew I’d have to come back.

When I came back to the UK I had always stayed with a friend, but 10 days after I got back they decided to move him somewhere else – and his house came with the job. I was going to be made homeless while I was in hospital.

"It’s an incredible series of events"

I had no money because I’ve spent my life’s savings in Asia on hospital costs. I was now having serious coronary surgery. It’s an incredible series of events.

It was at that point that I got in touch with the job centre in Chesham and they recommended that I get in touch with P3. They think an awful lot of the local P3 team here.

Will contacted me back at the beginning of the year and he’s been unbelievably good for me ever since, as regards to understanding the whole system of being out of work, how it relates to the council and how it relates to what I’m entitled to and what I need to do.

"I could sit and talk to you all day about working yields, but I haven’t got the faintest idea how councils work!"

I could sit and talk to you all day about working yields, how you work the market in the city because that’s what I did, I was in financial services, but I haven’t got the faintest idea how councils work! Will’s been top rate as far as I’m concerned, in navigating the minefield.

I’ve never been in this situation in my life, I’ve worked all my life, until I was divorced this would have been unimaginable. If that’s me at one end of the scale, then for someone who’s never worked for example, or has other issues…how on earth they negotiate this system I do not know.

I’ve moved into a permanent flat now, it’s just an empty shell, nothing in there, but within a few days of moving in here Will had organised a cooker, a fridge and a washing machine.

It’s important to have someone to fight your corner who knows what he’s doing, who knows the system. I don’t really know, to be truthful with you, where I would be and how it would be now, if I’d hadn’t.

*name changed to preserve anonymity