HIT Testimonials

The BEN exists to help people of the licensed trade who have fallen upon hard times.  There are a variety of ways in which we can help, including a FREE mental health helpline where we can arrange FREE counselling sessions.

Please find a few case studies below...

Aaron Spillane

This chap is 46 years old, living on his own in Turriff, which is on the north east coast.  He worked in the trade as a barman for six years before becoming ill.

It was five years ago that his health started to deteriorate quite dramatically.  Throughout this period he has regularly struggled to buy food, never mind pay for heating, electricity and general living costs we take for granted.

His first illness was when he developed blood clots on both legs, however it was particularly bad and dangerous on his right leg.  It took some time to diagnose what was causing this and eventually after two years he had a successful operation.

During this time he was receiving Employment Support Allowance of £142.20 per fortnight, at one point this was stopped, without explanation and then reinstated at £24 per week!  The Citizens Advice Bureau came to his rescue fighting his case successfully, although his support was reinstated at £110 per fortnight.

All through this he willingly shared the correspondence from both his GP and Aberdeen hospital.  This clearly showed that he was not fit to work.

Bringing his story up to date, he now has three concurrent illnesses!  A growth on his bladder, two growths in his throat and a lump on his head, which still has to be diagnosed.  He will undergo an operation in January on his bladder and if that is successful, he will have his throat operation late February.  As a result of all of this, he has been attending the Aberdeen hospital every two weeks for the last two months.  He has to rely on his neighbour or good friend to drive him as he cannot sit that long on a bus and the taxi cost would be £100 return.

During this time, he once again was deemed “fit to work” by the employment office, two weeks after his meeting he received a letter informing him that his support was being stopped yet again.  He enlisted the help of the Citizens Advice Bureau and after four weeks his support was reinstated.

The BEN has quite literally kept Aarron sane and possibly alive!  We have supported him as a beneficiary and in times of having literally no income at all, helped with grants to for food, gas and electricity.  It’s hard to believe that in 2017, someone can be seriously ill, therefore not fit to work and for periods to time receive little and at times, no financial support at all.

On our last visit, which was early December, it was colder in his house that it was outside!  He was wearing three layers of clothes just to keep warm.

This is a chap who has no luxuries in his life at all.  No nights out for a meal or going to the cinema, no Skye TV, sometimes not even one full meal a day.  He battles courageously to get his health back on track.  

He told us at our last visit that his neighbour, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the BEN had kept him alive!

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