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Stephen's story

Stephen recently described us as his shining light during the darkest time of his life. As part of our Champion Network, he tells his story to reach out to civil service colleagues who may also be struggling
Stephen's story

Every single day, across the United Kingdom, civil servants deliver public services . They are the backbone of our society. And we’re the backbone of civil servants. We need to be because right now civil servants are facing more challenges than ever. There’s more pressure on their services. There’s a downturn in mental health. And the ever-rising cost of living.

Civil servants like Stephen, who works at DWP, need our support.

Stephen's video

The impact of relationship breakdown

Stephen’s marriage had broken down. After the pandemic and due to the cost-of-living crisis, money was tight. Stephen was unable to move out of the family home to make a fresh start. Although things were amicable, he felt stuck. Above everything else, he wanted to minimise the impact on their young daughter’s wellbeing.

It was really challenging. I was sleeping on the couch. I didn’t feel like it was my home anymore. I wanted to move out but I wanted to be with my daughter at the same time. She’s everything to me. I couldn’t see a way out and because it was hanging over us, things were just getting worse. It was such a mix of emotions. I felt like there was no hope

Stephen ended up taking time off work as his mental health took a hit. It was around this time that his line manager recommended getting in touch with us to see if there was anything we could do to help. Stephen took this advice and gave us a call.

Help tailored to someone’s situation

At that moment in time, I was feeling really negative towards myself. Then I spoke to someone on the phone who was warm and helpful. They made the whole process so straightforward. And when my application was accepted, I just felt free. Like someone had given me a chance to rebuild my life again

We look at the whole picture when it comes to helping someone. We consider how one problem can affect another and tailor our services to the unique situation. So, we listened to Stephen and talked about the root cause of his anxiety which was that he just couldn’t see a way forward. We were able to initially provide financial support which empowered Stephen to take the first step.

The support from the Charity for Civil Servants has been invaluable to me. It really has had a massive impact on my quality of life. This enabled me to move out but still live close to my daughter. I now have my own space to rebuild my life. At a time when I was starting from zero, I felt like the charity kept me going.

Help with sleep

Once Stephen was settled in his new place, we had a chat about his insomnia. We funded Stephen’s six-week programme with our partner organisation Sleepstation. This meant that Stephen had a team of sleep coaches on hand to guide him towards a better night’s sleep, tailored to his needs and circumstances. His improved financial stability, new home and a decent rest all meant he had the right tools to start again.

My sleep had suffered from constantly worrying about everything. I was desperate to do something about it but wasn’t in the right mindset to know where to turn for help. It made a huge difference to have the charity’s guidance. It was my saviour.

Part of the Champions team

Stephen recently became one of our Champions. This volunteering role involves telling other civil servants about how we help people when things get tough.

I want every single civil servant, serving, former or retired, to know about the Charity for Civil Servants. For the unexpected, dark times in your life, they can be your shining light, like they were for me. Their support has had a massive impact on my wellbeing. I want to do all I can to raise awareness about their work. I’ll be forever grateful.

Our brilliant Champions Network help us reach people who need a helping hand. We’re hugely proud to call Stephen part of the team.

Get involved

If you are a civil servant, facing a tough time – find out how we can help you.

If you’d like to know more about volunteering and joining our Champion Network, find out how to get involved.

Support people like Stephen by making a single or regular donation, leaving a gift in your Will or by fundraising for us. With you alongside us, we can do even more to support civil servants.