I have a few hours before I leave for my four day clergy wives conference. It’s a real tonic to spend time in the company of other Christians in similar situations and to hear solid uninterrupted bible teaching without worrying about who’s missing from church or whether the lunch is going to burn.
In the meantime I thought I’d let you in on happenings over the last few days:
- I spent most of Friday morning on the phone to the Benefits Agency on Gone’s behalf. It took two hours to ascertain that Gone had recently made applications for Incapacity Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance but hadn’t managed to actually claim any money. There was a computer foul up that meant that the claim he now needs to make for Employment Support Allowance couldn’t be processed over the phone. Everyone on the phone was very kind and helpful but Gone’s situation is so far gone that he seems to drop out of the bottom of the net. They have sent us an ESA claim form and that project is looming now.
- I did manage to arrange a crisis loan for Gone, and went with him to the local job centre to collect it. The people in there were again very kind and helpful, especially the manager, to whom I’d spoken previously in my negotiation of the system. So Gone had some money on Friday, the first he’d had in about a month. He spent some of it on a copy of his birth certificate. He’s struggled recently with his total lack of id, and he really wanted to have some. I went with him to the registry office – he’s very anxious and struggles to deal with formal situations.
- A local Christian GP came to see Gone at our house and has written to Betel saying that Gone is healthy enough to go there. Now to speak to them, check all is ok and arrange for him to travel there and stay.
I’m back on Thursday. One friend had suggested that I blog from the conference and I might check in if I can. If not I’ll report back later this week.