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Catherine Poole’s Story- in her own words


Catherine has worked for Royal Mail, at the Cirencester Delivery Office for 12 years……..

I ended up being stood in court one day, holding my baby in her carry seat as I defended my home, the place where she was safe. On this occasion I managed to get a suspended sentence on my rent payments in order that I catch them up. We had two full time wages coming into our tiny flat but only my wages seemed to pay the bills and it just didn’t stretch enough. Nothing got better and I saw no money from my husband’s wages.  After a while I was a single parent and I had to make sure I carried on for my daughter’s sake. I could pay my rent but couldn’t pay the arrears that had built up badly, so I was due to be evicted and I had very little time left.  I tried everywhere I could to get this money to stop the landlord taking the property from me, I needed this flat. Bank loans, credit cards, credit cards for people with bad credit, door caller loans, Wonga etc. etc. Everyone just kept saying no!! I found out about the Rowland Hill Fund from The Courier and my local union rep. Never will they help me I thought, it sounded too good to be true.

Someone who would help me and I didn’t have to pay it back?? There must be a mistake.

I read stories about the fund helping families with disabled children and husbands/wives. That’s what the funds for. I thought.  I gave them a ring and after the phone call and other protocol (sorry it is ten years ago) they said they would help me. Wow!! These people are going to help. They gave me £1000. I got the money and went straight to pay my rent. My home was saved and now safe for my daughter to grow up in. It made me stronger more determined. At the time 10 years ago I had other debt which amounted to some £25,000 including a car on hp which had been repossessed. Now my flat was safe I could move on and sort everything out. I wouldn’t answer the phone and I dreaded opening the post. But one by one I sorted it all out. After a few years of being arrears free the council offered me a beautiful bungalow in the countryside with a garden for my daughter to play. It was such a lovely little rural place just what we needed a fresh start. I built a home while my daughter grew playing in a secure garden, I grew veg too!!

Ten years later after Rowland Hill Fund helped me; I have paid off every last penny of my debt. I have an extended family including two step children and two step grandchildren one only born last Tuesday. A beautiful 3 bedroom house with great gardens, an allotment where I still grow veg, a mortgage and my daughter who will always be by my side as she was the first day I was stood in court.

I can never thank the Rowland Hill Fund enough for helping me, but as I found out you can donate via payroll giving, so now every week from my wages I give a little back to the fund, no one knows who may need it next. I certainly know that it’s a great help.

Why did I want to be an ambassador?

They helped me

We recently had someone sacked from our office for stealing and although that is bad, I am sure that in the beginning before perhaps it turned into an addiction that she too fell on hard times. I wonder if the Rowland Hill Fund could have helped her, through her own fault she is now jobless and will struggle in the years ahead of her. Don’t get me wrong she doesn’t need sympathy because we all get put on the target when things go missing but “what if she had known about the Rowland Hill Fund” would her story be any different today.

After having a chat with Shan the last week about today, I was chatting to a colleague of mine about The Rowland Hill Fund. His immediate reaction what is that? We had a little chatter about what they do and that I had used them before. He shrugged his shoulders and said to me “if only I had known” his wife had cancer while she had her treatment and operations she couldn’t work so he was the only earner for his household.  He said it could have helped him too. Instead he was either at the hospital or working extra hours/schedules attendance 5 nights a week and overtime. Maybe he could have been with his wife more if he had known about the fund.

I hope this has helped you all today to hear about my personal experience of the fund.

Thank you

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