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I want to help.

(68 Posts)
Dawn22 Wed 15-May-19 08:15:53

Hi all
I would be very glad of some advice. I do some voluntary work for an organisation that gives food vouchers to people in need..
On and off a woman has asked for our help but because she has been with us long term the organisation is what l call at best very slow to help her. I think this is very unfair and l have batted for her several times but to no avail..
I am thinking of helping her personally with a gift from me of something like £200. This woman is in very bad health and has a very dysfunctional family and l know she is not in good shape. Unfortunately the organisation is not willing to help, that is so sad and dispiriting for her and for me. Charities can have power mad people running them too and that is not right either.
Last night l could not sleep thinking of her and l want my own conscience to be clear. So do l go for it and help her out myself on a personal basis. It is probably irregular to help her out in this way but then should l care when the organisation is treating her so badly. Terrible dilemma for me but l want my conscience clear that l at least helped her out. I am a good judge of character to trust her that this money will go on her outstanding bills.
Thank you for any solid advice.

kittylester Wed 15-May-19 08:19:10

I think that would be a bad idea and would counsel against it.

gillybob Wed 15-May-19 08:22:40

Without going into the ins and outs as to how this poor lady is in the position she is Dawn22 ..... would it be possible for you to help her in other ways rather than handing her £200 that at worst night not be spent In the way you would hope ( you did say she has a dysfunctional family) . Perhaps buy her some much needed groceries , clothing, or pay an overdue bill for her but I really wouldn’t hand over cash .

You are clearly a very kind person Dawn22 smile and this lady is lucky to know you .

sodapop Wed 15-May-19 08:32:12

I agree with Kitty and gillybob it would not be a good idea to give cash to the lady. I would also advise against getting personally involved with people using your charity organization.
This may seem harsh but there are rules around this for very good reasons. I'm sure your charity has these guidelines in place. You obviously have a kind heart and want to help but this is not the way.

BlueBelle Wed 15-May-19 08:37:57

I don’t think this would be a good idea at all and totally agree with Sodapop there is a reason there are limits You might think you are a good judge of character but absolutely no one can be sure of another I thought I was, but have had my good nature abused
This would not be the right way to go I m afraid

Bathsheba Wed 15-May-19 09:03:06

Oh gosh no, please don't get personally involved. There are very good reasons why charities and welfare organisations keep a formal 'distance' between the volunteers/workers and their customers. Do you honestly believe that giving her a cash gift would be the end of it? That she'd pay her outstanding bills and thereafter be solvent and need no further help? No, of course not. And she would come to you again and again.

What these organisations are hoping to do is to help people take control of their lives and responsibilities. Giving her money is doing the exact opposite. And on a more personal note for you, if the charity found out you'd done this, you would be 'let go' from your voluntary post.

Please don't do it.

Charleygirl5 Wed 15-May-19 09:06:59

I am afraid I also agree with everybody- as BlueBelle stated, you will end up having your good nature abused. That is far too much money to hand over and it would never end- she and her family would know where to go if they had more problems.

My first thought was maybe extra groceries but again, I think not. You should not get so personally involved and this woman has recognised that.

Missfoodlove Wed 15-May-19 09:10:48

No, no and no.
By helping her you will cross many boundaries that are there to protect you.
The golden rule is never to get involved.
Has this woman manipulated you because you’re a soft touch?
What if after an initial payment she started to ask for more? What if she found out where you lived? Is she involved with criminal activity/drugs?
I am sure your intentions are good but the consequences could be dreadful.
Please do not get involved any further.

polnan Wed 15-May-19 09:46:21

I agree , no,, it is very hard, I can understand how you feel, in the past I have had situations like this.. it hurts, but no.

is there no way you can go to someone at the charity and get them sorted? I so hate it when people abuse power like this.. Charity Commissioners if they are not behaving properly?

Rosina Wed 15-May-19 09:49:37

How kind you are. Could you perhaps give her , as gillybob suggested, something that might help out with an immediate need, like enough food for a complete meal so that at least she has eaten properly on that day? Handing over cash is probably not the best idea as she could lose it, and/or the dysfunctional family could decide on a use for it far removed from your good intentions.

Oldwoman70 Wed 15-May-19 09:49:42

I have to agree with everyone else. I don't think it would be a one off - but possibly she would come back again and again and would you be able to say no? As has been said charities aim to help people achieve independence, if you give her money you would be undoing that work. Why do you feel the charity is treating her badly? Are there other charities you could point her towards who you think may be more sympathetic towards her?

Blackcat3 Wed 15-May-19 09:50:33

Absolutely no! You could open a big can of all means support and help her but giving her cash is a terrible idea. As someone else her some groceries....take her out for a meal....but not cash and certainly not large sums....would you be prepared or able to continue hand outs if she came back for more??

luluaugust Wed 15-May-19 09:51:58

I am afraid I agree with the others, handing over what would be a large cash sum to her is not a good idea. I am sorry but I don't think you should get too involved. Could you have another go at getting her the help she clearly needs. Are they refusing help because she keeps running up debts however much help she has had? What would you feel if you handed over the money and she came to you for more?

Miep1 Wed 15-May-19 09:53:54

No. It might make you feel better, but there is no guarantee that the 'dysfunctional' family would not appropriate the money and use it in ways you would not wish. I would not get involved on a personal level and it sounds rather that the charity may know more than you do about her circumstances. I suspect your offering - very generous and heartfelt though it is - might be the start of a slippery slope that could end in you losing your position, or worse. Please don't do it.

poshpaws Wed 15-May-19 09:55:03

I totally agree with all the other posters - no, don't give money for all the reasons listed above. Bless you for your kind heart, though.

sazz1 Wed 15-May-19 09:55:48

My granny used to help people anonymously by sending gifts through the post or leaving cash in a kitchen drawer after visiting. She sent a coat and a ton of coal that I know of and probably other things too. Maybe a good way to go then nobody will know it's you

GabriellaG54 Wed 15-May-19 09:59:26

No. Absolutely not, for all the reasons given by other posters.
I think this lady has sussed you out as a soft touch/sympathetic to her plight but you would be walking a dangerous path.
The charity perhaps knows her better than you do and, as she has been receiving help over the long term, it possibly shows that she is not willing to help herself.
They are not there to give long term support but to help over the crisis, whatever that may be.
Don't get personally involved.

grannyactivist Wed 15-May-19 10:04:30

Well, I'm going to disagree with just about everybody else. I would say yes, go ahead and help, but the way you do it is key.

In your shoes I would tell the woman you're working with that someone who wants to remain anonymous has suggested that she would like to help out a client by paying a bill and that you would like to nominate this lady. Then you can make arrangements to pay the bill without handing over any cash at all. I do this frequently in a number of situations and all you need are the recipient company's bank details and a name, address and reference number for the account being paid.

Doing it this way means that you are not setting a precedent for handing over cash, you know the bill will be paid and you can sleep easy knowing that you have alleviated at least the current crisis.

In my role I am in a position to make conditions when I'm administering money and I would strongly suggest to the client that she engages with CAP (Christians Against Poverty) or Stepchange in order to ensure that her financial difficulties are addressed.

jacig Wed 15-May-19 10:05:23

Hi, having worked for a charity I feel for you as I have seen a colleague in a similar situation. Please DO NOT GIVE HER Money it will come back on you big time. You say she has a dysfunctionly family, they may see you as a cash cow and use this to blackmail you into giving more & more money and bigger amounts. I saw a colleague get caught up in this situation and in the end it cost her, her job, her clearance to work with vulnerable people and her reputation. Be her friend and help her to access other places for help but keep records of everything you do for her, always cover your back as this will confirm your actions should she decide to complain about you. I'm sorry I sound so negative but it's very easy to get pulled into a bad situation.

jaylucy Wed 15-May-19 10:05:33

No no no ! Please don't put your hand in your own pocket for this person, however much you feel sorry for her- it may well not stop at just the one time.
There may be reasons that the charity are aware of and you are not as to why they will not help her, that may involve the rest of her family , or maybe they have helped her in the past, financially and she has done nothing to help herself get out of the hole she is in.

Amira15 Wed 15-May-19 10:07:22

We need more Earth Angels like you Dawn. Horrible the way some people have judged this woman without knowing the circumstances. As a child I lived for a while in a homeless hostel with my parents who were perfectly decent human beings. I agree with others who have said perhaps help out with groceries etc. I wouldn’t want to work for a charity that doesn’t help people. I wonder how they would feel if they were in this woman’s position?

olliebeak Wed 15-May-19 10:07:29

Like some others on here, I'd also tell you to 'tread warily' where this lady is concerned.

Recently, I've become quite friendly with a lady who sells the Big Issue. I've bought her a hot drink as well as buying the magazine. Then she asked me for money to pay for some nappies for her baby. A couple of weeks later, it was some nappies, wipes and cream. Then she asked for nappies and soap powder. After that she visited the charity shop where I volunteer, and was seen to take something without paying by one of the other staff members. The last time, she asked for a buggy for her baby. In the meantime, she has had another baby - so now has four children under the age of 8. Her mother lives in her own country, though her boyfriend is living here and so is his family.

On another occasion, I gave a decent, functioning, but unneeded, mobile phone to somebody who said she needed one to keep in touch with her family. A couple of weeks later, she told me that she hadn't been able to get a new 'sim card' for it ........................ but her sister told me that her son takes everything that she has to sell for money for drugs for himself. He claims to be 'her carer' as she has mental health issues, but he's just helping himself continually.

Best to find some other way to help this lady that won't compromise yourself or the organisation that you work with.

Lark21 Wed 15-May-19 10:10:14

No you really shouldn’t give to her individually- as others have said it may well cause far more problems in the long term - if the client tells a friend then what happens if they come to the organization you volunteer for asking for similar help - aren’t they just as in need? Why is one person more in need than the others ? Maybe donate to the food bank instead? Also think about the person - however much they are in need do they want your charity ? I know it’s hard but to survive working in the charity sector you need to leave the clients behind when you leave

vickymeldrew Wed 15-May-19 10:13:03

A friend of mine felt very sorry for a young couple sleeping in doorways over the winter. She rallied friends to donate and paid for them to stay three nights in a hotel over Christmas. Half an hour after they checked in, the couple tried to check out and have a refund of the cash paid to the hotel. This was refused so they trashed the room instead leaving my friend with a bill for damages. In case you are wondering if this is an ‘urban myth’, unfortunately not . I know the people involved. Dawn, don’t do it.

grannyactivist Wed 15-May-19 10:15:42

I should say that I run a charity that works with people who are usually in dire poverty and one reason for this is that many of them are not claiming all the benefits they are entitled to. For many people who are in debt the problem is not that they're unable to manage their money - it's that they literally don't have enough to live on. I have a client who was attempting to live on an income of less than £80 a week and we managed to get him a small Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that has made a massive difference to his ability to pay his bills AND eat. (I should say that he DID pay his bills, but then had to rely on the local food-bank because there was no money left over for food).