Bradley – received financial support from Work Avenue during COVID1916th December 2020
Bradley Jacobs from Leeds is a professional carer. His essential work looking after vulnerable people came to an abrupt halt when he became ill with COVID-19 symptoms in early April – which then led to pneumonia and an acute kidney injury. He has also had to shield.
Other than a brief period in August, when he was able to return, Bradley hasn’t been able to work for eight months.
He says the resulting financial impact has “been the worst I’ve ever known” and has taken its toll on his mental health too.
Bradley said: “All my work stopped and it became so tough financially, as it’s impossible to survive on universal credit. Mentally it was even harder – going from a certain income to almost nothing, being ill, being apart from my kids and missing a job I was passionate about.
“It’s been terrible, to be honest. It couldn’t be any worse. I’m not talking about wanting a fancy lifestyle, I’m talking about just being able to live.”
Bradley has a grown-up daughter in London and 13-year-old twins in Chester. Although his ex-partner is very understanding, he says feeling that he is unable to support his family financially has been extremely tough.
The 61-year-old added: “When you feel that you can’t look after your kids, and you can’t look after yourself, it’s dire.
“I have had mental health problems because of it and can get anxious quickly. I’ve never been like this before.
“I’m worried about the future. I love working in the care industry, but am apprehensive about going back into that field – as that’s where I caught COVID. I can’t wait for this vaccine to come along so I can feel more comfortable to return.”
Bradley has had help from the Jewish community, including grants from the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board and the Emergency Community Fund, which was set up by Work Avenue and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) during the first lockdown. He is also speaking to Work Avenue about further help in returning to work once he is well enough.
Bradley added: “The financial support has been a godsend, and I’m now hoping to pick myself up financially and mentally in 2021.”