My Week: Jill White advises on debt, depression and car imports

The area service manager at the Charity for Civil Servants, the occupational charity for the civil service, recounts her week

Jill White
Jill White

Monday: It's case-work day. First, I look into the case of a man who is having difficulties at work because he also looks after his terminally ill wife. He's having tough conversations about continuing full-time work while fulfilling his caring responsibilities. Next, I look into the cases of several people with complex debt problems. I do what I can to help find solutions.

Tuesday: I'm working with the Depression Alliance, one of our partner charities, to train Friends in Need champions about our new online community that aims to address the loneliness depression can bring. These champions will go into civil service workplaces to encourage those with the illness to join the community. It's exciting to be part of something so innovative.

Wednesday: This morning I visit a distressed family. When I arrive, I meet a lady whose daughter has recently committed suicide. She's now the sole guardian for three grandchildren, aged five, three and 11 months. My client is 63 and was expecting to retire in two years' time. The issues are complex and emotions intense: there are both financial and practical things to consider. I come home feeling drained and incredibly sad, but confident we can support this lady in the coming months.

Thursday: I head off to a civil service workplace with more than 500 staff. My colleagues who are already there have made 12 appointments for me to see people at 45-minute intervals. People can bring any kind of problem to our door. Usually, it's advice about caring or mental health worries, but sometimes people throw me a curveball: the question about importing and licensing an American car was certainly a challenge.

Friday: I'm back in the office, following up with the people to whom I spoke yesterday. Often I'll make referrals to our partner charities, including Relate, Anxiety UK and the StepChange Debt Charity. Working with such well-known organisations means we know that our clients are getting the best possible advice.

Jill White is area service manager at the Charity for Civil Servants

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