Being the Managing Director of a successful company that helps businesses find skilled employees, you might be forgiven in thinking that Lee didn’t need much help to get where he is today. But it may surprise you to learn that when he set up GR8 in 2018, he was still one of our customers receiving financial support.
“Getting me on back on track to where I am now, Community Savings made everything easier from providing an account to supporting me with practical budgeting guidance,” Lee says. “This might sound like a bit of a cliché, but with their help, I realised that it was ok to be not ok. We all go through bad times, so if you need help, ask for it.”
After a successful career in the armed forces and the police, Lee’s dreams of running a hospitality business ended when the business folded. A divorce, various bereavements, mounting debts and having relied on the business for his banking, he was unable to open a personal bank account, this led to a brief period of sofa surfing and relying on social security.
“Being in a dark place is bad and you don’t always want to reach out for support, for fear of stigma and what people would think of me. I felt like a third-class citizen and considered myself a failure.”
At this point nearing rock bottom, he addressed his issues and sought support through a counsellor and reignited his drive that had all but gone, and then a great opportunity arose.
Lee continued, “I applied for a job with the Government, supporting young people through Advance to Work. But I needed a bank account and every bank in Jersey said no because I had a bad credit history and petty debts claims against the business and in turn me, I was in a bad place.”
Having heard about Community Savings, Lee came in to see us despite feeling embarrassed about using our services. As he began to feel more at ease about the help we were able to provide, he began to rebuild his life. Without being able to open an account with us, his story might have been very different.
Lee says, “It was one of those eureka moments. I decided life was going to change and I got involved in positive thinking and from there I went upwards and upwards. I only closed my Community Savings account two years ago. It was a sad day because I’d had an account for years and every Christmas I would go in with a big bag of cakes or chocolates to say thank you to the team. The staff were so friendly and supportive during the dark times. They made it very easy for me.”