"I was always on my feet, rushing around. I had a bad fall in 2012 and discovered I had osteoarthritis, which meant I wouldn’t be able to keep working at the hospital. When I retired in 2019, I decided to pursue a new career in commercial casting, something I’d always wanted to do. I registered with an agency, did some auditions and got a few jobs. The future was looking very promising – with the money, I planned to pay off my mortgage.
Then COVID-19 hit. The commercial jobs were all cancelled, my osteoarthritis deteriorated, I developed shingles and my small amount of savings dried up. It was a desperate, desperate time. I was trying to pay the bills with just my State Pension and didn’t know how to make ends meet. When the letters from the bank, energy company and other creditors started coming through saying, ‘You have to pay this much by this month – or else’, I was so frightened. I thought I was going to lose the flat."