As part of Learning Disability Awareness week 2017, we have collected good news stories from our members. Here, Wilf Ward Family Trust share the story of Jason who has regained his financial independence after being a victim of mate crime.
Jason lives in York and has been supported by us for around 7 years. Before Jason was supported by us, he lived alone in a hostel. Whilst Jason lived in the hostel he had been financially abused; a victim of mate crime. Jason was too frightened to speak up about what was happening.
Because of this abuse, Jason had lost confidence in managing his finances. He gave us control over his finances, so money was withdrawn from the bank weekly and kept in a tin in the office. Jason could withdraw money whenever he liked and all transactions were logged with receipts and checked against bank statements.
Over the years, Jason showed that he had a good grasp on his money. Slowly we began using less receipts and simply logging out small amounts here and there for general use. Jason’s housemate Ashley is financially independent and it became apparent to us that he was just as able, if not more so, and that asking for money could be holding him back.
We held a staff meeting to discuss how we might go about solving the problem. We knew roughly how much Jason spends in a week so knew how much he would need as a base amount; that way we would notice if he was losing money. We discussed the idea with Jason who was very keen on the idea!
Jason no longer keeps any money in the office, but in his room to spend as he wishes. Every so often a member of the team will ask Jason how much he has left to make sure everything is going well. Jason doesn’t need to worry about overspending as he has his set amount, but if he needs anymore he will go to the bank or pay for things by card.
This change has given Jason greater independence and a confidence boost. It’s reflected in little things, such as Jason telling us he’s going out for coffee rather than waiting to be asked. Overall, Jason now has financial freedom within a very safe set of guidelines and safeguards which, once implemented, offered a way around the strict monitoring that was not befitting someone so able and independent.
When asked what if feels like to have his financial independence back, Jason simply said ‘It feels better’, which we feel encapsulates it all.