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Lauries story financial

David’s story of regaining financial independence after losing his livelihood

Find out how we’ve supported David to cope financially after his business almost went all but bust following the financial crash and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hi, I’m David, I’m 73 and I have a 20-year-old autistic son.

One thing that’s always been a constant in my life is my passion for engineering. I love seeing a grand vision come to life, envisioning how all the different component parts of a project fit together to make the whole work – looking beyond simply the mechanical process behind its construction.

In engineering, you have to work hard to progress, and that’s something that’s always come naturally to me.

Gradually, I worked my way up in the industry, but I had my sights set on one day starting my own business, and using my hard-earned skills and knowledge to make a real difference in the world.

Eventually, this opportunity presented itself and I made the move into self-employment. Over the years I’ve had the chance to work on a multitude of industrial projects across the globe, and as I took on more work and built the business up I hired other people to come and work for me.

For a long time things were going really well. It seemed like I’d reached the peak of my aspiration – here I was, leading my own company, with a fantastic group of people, built around the vocation that had defined me for almost all of my life.

But then, everything changed.

The financial crash struck.

And I lost almost everything I’d built up virtually overnight.

A downward spiral

Suddenly, everything that had been constant in my life was now all but gone. And because the new financial situation meant I could no longer pay off my business debts, all the resources and equipment I needed to keep my business running were taken away. So I essentially lost the business too.

As a result, I lost my income, my employees, and my livelihood. There was even a rumour that one of my now-former colleagues took his own life.

But I couldn’t give up. My state pension wouldn’t have been enough to survive on, and I was incredibly unlikely to be accepted for a regular engineering job because of my age.

So I was forced to try and keep my business ticking over, on my own once again.

To make ends meet, I started looking for projects abroad, but my income was sporadic and work dried up after 2014.

And in 2020, when Covid-19 hit and we were thrust into global lockdown, my situation got even more dire still. It got to the point where I was on the verge of homelessness.

But it’s not just the financial impact that takes its toll. The mental burden it brings with it is enough to drive you to despair.

By this point, I hadn’t slept properly in 10 years, and was suffering from depression which I was struggling to get help for.

On top of this, I also got divorced and was left to care for my young autistic son, who needs special treatment which I was now finding difficult to afford.

Put all this together, and it felt like things really couldn’t get any worse.

Finding the way forward with Foothold

By this point I knew I had no choice but to seek help. Luckily, I’d recently happened across a social media post by Foothold talking about the support they can offer to engineers – it was like they were reaching out to me.

But even so, it was still difficult to muster up the strength to admit I needed support. After all, I’d built my business and career up on my own, so how was it that I was now having to rely on others to get me out of my situation?

But in the end, when you’ve hit rock bottom, any option is tantamount to hope.

So I swallowed my pride, and got in touch with them. And thank God I did.

The process of receiving support was really simple and swift. Foothold has provided me with financial support to keep me going over the last two years – without which I don’t know how my son and I would have been able to carry on. When the first payment came through, it was like I’d found my lucky star.

Foothold’s support has been a godsend to us. They literally saved me from bankruptcy.

The money they provided wouldn’t have made a difference to me all those years ago – but now it means everything.

Thanks to Foothold, I’ve now got some constancy back in my life. I’m hoping that soon enough I’ll be in a position where I can say: give your support to someone who needs it more.

But for now, it’s helping to save me and my son from a life on the streets. And I’ve been able to be a good father, and get my son the support he needs too.

Foothold won’t expect anything in return – they’re just here to help you. So I’d urge anyone like me who’s fallen on hard times to not wait in despair, but to get in touch with them as soon as you can – as they will work to give you the help you need.

When in need, Foothold is the answer. And I will be eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me and my son.

If you’re struggling with your finances and you need someone to turn to, your Foothold is here. We’ll help you get back in control and access the support you need to thrive. Get in touch with us now.

Michael Hargreaves, author of How Foothold’s new Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme can support you to achieve your career goals

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