CABA with you for life

Your wellbeing. Your way.

The real stories behind our impact in 2016

2016 marked 130 years since CABA first started supporting the ICAEW community. We’ve come a long way in that time.

As the lives and needs of the people we support have changed, so have we. And 2016 was no exception. With the development of new services, the expansion of our online support and an increase in our international reach, we’ve continued to evolve. Meeting real needs and making a real difference to the lives and wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members and their families, wherever they are in the world.

It’s the difference we make that matters.
And that’s what success means to us.

Kath Haines, CEO Kath Haines, CEO

“In 2016 CABA made huge strides in terms of its ability to support the real needs of chartered accountants. Focused, in-depth research and close partnership work with relevant, trusted organisations enabled us to develop new flexible services, particularly online and overseas, empowering people to take care of all aspects of their wellbeing, from their career to their physical and mental health. As and when they need to.” Kath Haines
CABA Chief Executive

“If you’re struggling in any way, get in touch with CABA – it will make all the difference. For my family it made an impossible situation possible again.”
Andy

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Andy

Supporting your wellbeing

Online
resources

Webinars, online courses, self-assessment tools and guides offering advice, support and practical help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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With you for life

Supporting your wellbeing, giving you back control, helping you succeed.

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One-to-one
support

Supporting carers. Getting your finances back on track. Helping you back to work. Offering a listening ear. Professional, tailored support, when you need it.

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Courses
and events

Full day courses, workshops and online courses supporting the personal and professional development of ICAEW members and their families around the world.

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Advice and
information

Our advice and information officers are available over the phone and online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you find the right support.

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Wellbeing means different things to different people. For some it’s about improving physical health or feeling more confident about a job interview. For others, it’s being supported as a carer or achieving financial security. That’s why our services come in all different shapes and sizes. So that whatever you need and wherever you are, there’s a way we can help.

Find out how we empowered ACA students, past and present ICAEW members and their families around the world to improve their wellbeing by clicking the image above.

Remember, you don’t need to be working or even still a member of ICAEW to use any of our services. And your husband, wife, life partner and dependent children and young adults up to the age of 25 are all eligible for support too.

Extending our international reach

The ICAEW community is a global one and in 2016 we expanded our international services to reflect this. Developing our international support continues to be a top priority.

Hover over the blue countries on the map below to see where in the world CABA provided tailored advice and information or one-to-one support in 2016.

The blue countries on the map below show where in the world CABA provided tailored advice and information or one-to-one support in 2016.

The blue countries on the map below show where in the world CABA provided tailored advice and information or one-to-one support in 2016.

CABA countries

Find out here how CABA is set up to support you, wherever you are in the world.

Last year we saw a significant increase in the number of people using our online services in several countries around the world. A variety of online resources including webinars, self-assessment tools and guides empowered past and present ICAEW members and their families around the world to take care of their own wellbeing.

We helped more people make the most of their career and plan for the future they want with our new online courses and career adaptability tool .

We made it easier for people to understand their own emotional wellbeing and how to look after it. Our improved online counselling programme helped people work through mental ill health such as depression and anxiety, at their own pace. And our new online booklets , developed in partnership with Mind, offered practical advice and information about maintaining emotional wellbeing at work, building resilience and much more.

A series of webinars covering topics such as the importance of nutrition , tackling problem debt , paying for care and a UK pension update for people living in Australia enabled over 400 people around the world to learn more about the aspects of wellbeing that were most relevant to them.

Find out here how CABA is set up to support you, wherever you are in the world.

We also know what a difference it can make to talk to someone face-to-face. So in 2016 we worked with our partners to set up local services in over 30 countries across the world.

Face-to-face sessions with trained counsellors helped individuals, couples and families find positive, practical ways to cope with depression, reduce anxiety, cope with bereavement and much more.

One-to-one sessions with local professional career coaches helped people move back into work in several countries including Germany, Indonesia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

And we were able to resolve the legal queries of individuals and businesses based in Europe and Australia.

We also took our courses directly to overseas members, delivering workshops across Europe, helping nearly 300 people focus on their personal and professional development .

Find out here how CABA is set up to support you, wherever you are in the world.

“The words I would use to describe CABA are supportive, helpful and human. I felt that they genuinely cared about my wellbeing and career and they definitely accelerated the process of establishing myself in a new country.”
Maria

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Maria

Real stories

We’d like to thank the individuals and families who have shared their stories with us. Getting in touch is often the hardest part for someone in need of support and these real stories play a large role in encouraging people to take this first step.

From physical health to financial security, we support hundreds of people every year with a wide range of wellbeing issues. Our flexible and varied services mean that each person who contacts us receives the advice, information and support they need, as and when they need it. Click here to read more about the difference CABA made to some of the people we supported in 2016…

Robert, age 40

Robert

“Not only did CABA courses change my attitude to my work, they genuinely made me feel better about my life too.”

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Antigone, age 50

Antigone

“I loved that CABA is interested in supporting clients in a very tailored way. They helped me find what worked for me.”

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Bill, age 76

Bill

“CABA asked me to submit details of the wheelchair accessible vehicle I wanted to buy, and within a very short period of time they agreed to fund it.”

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Ava, age 46

Ava

“The emotional difficulty had really held me back. Seeing a CABA counsellor really unlocked that for me. I honestly can say that the six sessions have changed me.”

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2016

in numbers

Find out exactly how many people we helped and how much we spent doing it. Click the button below to download a summary of our 2016 facts and figures.

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2016 in numbers

Financials

Click the button below to download a copy of our Trustees report and financial statement 2016

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LABEL

Get in touch

CABA is with you and your family for life. From the moment you begin your training, throughout your professional career, into retirement and beyond. If you, or someone you know could benefit from our support, get in touch. Our advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So there’s always someone you can talk to.
Call +44 (0) 1788 556 366 or talk to us online .





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A colleague will contact you within the next few days. If your query is urgent please call +44 (0) 1788 556 366 or talk to us online .

Antigone’s story

Antigone's story

“I qualified as a chartered accountant at 25 and I worked my way up to a good position – middle management level at a multinational. But when I had children I made the decision to stay at home with them. It was an important decision for me and I have no regrets about that. I had 15 years at home, but once my youngest was at secondary school, I thought maybe it’s time to think about reactivating my career.

Re-entering the workforce after 15 years is a big step. You feel that the world has moved on without you. You don’t know what to expect and it’s quite daunting. I felt that the whole computer skills thing would be a hindrance – offices were very paper-based when I was working, so all the software that is now normal was a bit of an unknown for me. Part of you thinks that there’s so much competition, you won’t get a look in.

But I’ve learnt in life that all you can do is give things your best. I started to look at ICAEW and CABA information, and I saw a free event called ‘Returning back to work after a career break.’ Even going to the course felt outside my comfort zone, I needed to present myself in a very different way than I had for years.

“I loved that CABA is interested in supporting clients in a very tailored way. A long term career break is very different to a couple of years out of the work place. They helped me find what worked for me.”

All the long-term returners exchanged numbers and we talked to CABA about accessing their services as a group. CABA was really flexible and seemed to be happy to adjust their usual approach for us. We had Excel training, some well-being courses – some people attended events in future planning and mindfulness. A particularly useful session was one that covered LinkedIn. One of the good things was that if someone couldn’t attend an event others would share the learning by email.

We attended our coaching sessions as a group to maximise our hours. It was much more enjoyable that way. I loved that CABA is interested in supporting clients in a very tailored way. Their support really grew our confidence. We grew to realise that in staying home for so long, we had developed other strengths. I realised that I have a kind of calm assertiveness that I wouldn’t have had in the first half in my career. We were encouraged the think about what we actually wanted, what would fit into the lives we had built. CABA helped me think about what worked for me. By the time I saw a local post I was interested in, I felt confident in my abilities, and I also felt resilient enough to accept my weaknesses and to have strategies in place to overcome them. I was delighted to secure a good position fairly quickly, and I’m enjoying it a great deal. As a group, we didn’t even use all the coaching hours because we all got jobs before we finished the programme.

If you are considering returning to work after a break, contact CABA and see what they can do for you. Things are more enjoyable and a lot less scary with a bit of support.”

Robert’s story

Robert's story

“I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that the CABA courses I attended had a profound effect on me. Not only did they change my attitude to my work, they genuinely made me feel better about my life too.

About 8 years ago I was working in a small hedge fund. Although my employers were supportive of training in principle, they were simply not big enough to offer much training at a senior level. I was feeling quite stressed at the time, and I’ve always been interested in self-development, so I had a look at the CABA courses.

I was pleased to see that the courses were less about learning particular regulatory details or picking up IT skills, and instead focused on mindset and a person’s ability to challenge their own patterns of behavior. It was exactly what I needed.

I felt that there was quite a bit of stress in my life, I had a lot of weight on my shoulders as I was in the process of building a team. I also felt that perhaps the way I was going about things wasn’t the most time-effective. I was working day and night yet still not achieving what I felt I should be. I kept thinking ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Looking back, I’d say that my inner voice was quite critical – I was focusing on what wasn’t working out and being quite hard on myself about it.

“Not only did CABA courses change my attitude to my work, they genuinely made me feel better about my life too.”

I went on a range of CABA courses and found them to be of a very high standard. One of the things I valued was the other delegates. Because it’s just chartered accountants, we all spoke a common language. There were a lot of people in the same boat as me, and actually, some were struggling more than I was. The courses cover a lot of different topics – from time management to mindfulness. As I moved through the courses I rapidly realised that I had been dealing with a completely unrealistic workload. I learnt to accept that I couldn’t do everything, but I got a lot more adept at prioritising.

I’ve taken a lot from the courses. I’d say that I’ve always been a reasonably confident person, but I have now become more secure not only about what I do know, but what I don’t know. I’m happier dealing with – and expressing – uncertainty. No one can possibly know everything – you just need to have the right attitude to finding out.

The CABA courses have encouraged me to build a solution-focused culture within my team. We treat success and failure in the same way – look at it, learn from it, move onto the next thing.

I’d recommend the CABA courses to anyone who is interested in taking a fresh look at their situation and thinking differently. The course trainers are really interesting, they share a lot of great information but they’re also able to respond to individual needs. And because they’re all free to ICAEW members, they’re very easy to organise. All you’re asking your employer for is time out of the office, and they will see real results. I’d say about half the chartered accountants in my firm have been on at least one CABA course. The value is plain to see.”

Ava’s story

Ava's story

“When I was 18 I went through a really traumatic period. My parents divorced and I had a very serious car accident. My car was so badly wrecked that when my mum arrived at the scene the paramedics told her that, judging by the state of my car, she should assume I hadn’t survived.

Miraculously, I wasn’t hurt – I didn’t even have whiplash - but emotionally it was awful. I never really felt safe again. I was terrified of going in cars, I had flashbacks, insomnia and panic attacks. I lived like that for years. Doctors offered me sleeping tablets, but no one else seemed to be able to help me.

I came up with my own coping strategies – like being really busy all the time so I didn’t have to think. But my boyfriend said that it really was time for me to do something about the anxiety – by then it had been 5 years and I was still having flashbacks when driving, and panic attacks about pretty much anything I wasn’t in control of.

As an ICAEW employee, I know I can access CABA’s services, so I spoke to CABA and they said that all their services are free of charge and that they could put me in touch with a counsellor. I opted for phone counselling rather than face-to-face, and agreed to try 6 sessions.

“The emotional difficulty had really held me back. Seeing a CABA counsellor really unlocked that for me. I honestly can say that the 6 sessions have changed me and because of them, I’m stronger, happier and have more ambitious goals.”

I was nervous, but the counsellor was so good. She didn’t push me to re-live anything scary or go to any dark places. She just listened to me and helped me piece together what was going on. She helped me realise that all my rushing around was a way of avoiding getting in touch with myself. She also helped me to see that all the anxiety I was experiencing was around control. My parents’ divorce was not at all amicable and I was forced into a situation where I was responsible for my younger sisters. The lack of control I felt around that, as well as the crash, was what I was really having difficulties with.

She taught me very simple techniques – like mindfulness, to help me stay in the moment and calm down. It was amazing, it really worked. It was only during the sixth session that I realised I’d stopped having panic attacks.

The emotional difficulty had really held me back. Seeing a CABA counsellor unlocked that for me and I can see changes in every area of my life. I’m driving again now, I can sleep and I spend a lot more time with my boyfriend relaxing. I’ve started to focus on my strengths and be more assertive. I honestly can say that the 6 sessions have changed me and because of them, I am stronger, happier and have more ambitious goals.”

Bill’s story

Bill's story

“I became extremely ill in 2009. My immune system began to attack the nerves in my spinal column. I went into hospital and didn’t come out for 7 months. During that time I lost all feeling from my ribcage down and was told that I would never walk again.

I am separated from my wife, and my children have grown up. I had my own business, but it was a new enterprise so I had quite a bit of debt to service. You can imagine how alarming it was to suddenly not be able to work. I had to put a stop to the business and now rely on the state pension and some disability allowances. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that as a chartered accountant I could end up broke, but life doesn’t always go as you expect it.

For the first 2 years I only had a manual wheelchair, which effectively meant that I was only able to leave the house if a friend would come and get me to push me around. Things got a little better in the third year when I was given an electric wheelchair – that meant I could go out independently if I was going somewhere nearby and the weather was dry.

“CABA asked me to submit details of the wheelchair accessible vehicle I wanted to buy, and within a very short period of time they agreed to fund it. It’s made an enormous difference to my life.”

Unfortunately, that wheelchair was set up incorrectly, which resulted in me developing quite serious bed-soars on my back. It took several years of operations and being in and out of hospitals and nursing homes to deal with that. I wasn’t allowed to sit and had to be turned every few hours. It was very isolating. My daughter and her children visited, but I spent a lot of time alone.

I was determined that once I was able to live in my own home again I would get some independence back. Even though I had a motorised wheelchair I couldn’t go far, and when it rained I was stuck in the house. So, I began researching vehicles that I could put my wheelchair in and drive myself. Being over 65 meant I wasn’t able to get state funding for one. Things were tight financially so I didn’t have many options.

It was then that I contacted CABA. They have a wonderful system. You get allocated a Support Officer and you can tell them everything about your situation. Then you deal with that person every time you call, so you don’t have to keep saying the same things over. They’re terribly efficient.

My Support Officer asked me to submit details of the second-hand vehicle I wanted to buy, and within a very short period of time they agreed to fund it. I was elated – astonished, in fact. It’s made an enormous difference to my life. Just recently I was able to go and see a play my grandson was in – I would have had to miss that if CABA hadn’t funded the vehicle. It’s all the small things like that that really add another dimension to a person’s life.”

Andy’s story

Andy's story

“Like many chartered accountants established in their career, I’m a contractor. That means when I’m not working, I don’t earn anything. Normally I would have built up a bit of a surplus, but it was the start of the recession so our finances were stretched anyway. I wasn’t getting as many jobs as usual, which, as the sole bread-winner in our house was quite worrying. We have 4 school-age children and it costs a fair bit just to keep our household ticking along.

That was when I began to get quite ill. On Christmas day we went to church and I was feeling unwell. My wife said ‘you’ve gone yellow.’ Luckily someone in the congregation was a doctor and he said ‘you’ve got to get to a hospital right now.’ I went into hospital and didn’t come out for 2 months. They told me I had a kind of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and said I would need chemotherapy. It was looking like at least a year before I could work again.

I sold one of our cars, but it wasn’t enough – all our credit cards were maxed out. I felt like there was nowhere to go and I was looking at defaulting on debts. It was then that CABA came to mind. They were very good and did everything they could to be helpful. They allocated a Support Officer and I met with him face-to-face to go through everything.

He didn’t just offer debt management or whatever – he looked at the whole picture and offered support in a really joined-up way. CABA started dealing with the creditors for me – getting in touch, explaining the situation and putting things on hold. They also have specialists that know what benefits you can apply for and they helped me put the applications in. They also worked with me to plan a reasonable household budget and awarded me a grant to cover the shortfall until things got straight.

What I like about CABA is that if they don’t know something, they go and find out. They know where to get the best advice. And there’s no red-tape. Applying for a grant is so straightforward. Their efficiency really takes the stress away and the relief was enormous. Just to know that there’s someone you can turn to, someone who sympathises and actually cares what happens to you and your family.

“If you’re struggling in any way, get in touch with CABA – it will make all the difference. For my family it made an impossible situation possible again.”

Without CABA it would have been pretty dire. We’d have had to rely on friends and family to give us money, and we’d have had to cut expenditure so radically the kids would have really felt it.

After I recovered from chemotherapy I sold our house and bought something much cheaper. Without CABA I’d have been forced to do that in the middle of treatment which would have been impossible to manage. And they’re really proactive: for example, we had no garden at the new house and the case worker noticed. He suggested we apply for a bit of help to make a simple lawn. These things really improve the whole family’s quality of life.

Since then I’ve had a relapse and I wasn’t able to work for another 6 months. Again CABA helped us get through it. I was hesitant to ask, I thought maybe it would be too much, but they were great again. They seemed really glad to help.

We’re in a better position now though, I have had a stem-cell transplant which has really improved my chances. I now have a 50% chance of staying cancer free, and I feel pretty well in myself. I’m in work again and I’m trying to move on mentally. As a family we feel a lot more stable again.

I would say, if you’re struggling in any way, get in touch with CABA – it will make all the difference. For my family it made an impossible situation possible again.”

Emily’s story

Emily's story

“I worked in London and then moved to Australia soon after I qualified, so most of my career was overseas. When my husband and I moved back to Manchester, England, I had 2 small children and no professional contacts in the area.

I decided to take a career-break and work with my husband who was setting up his own business. He’s an artisan baker so we set up a high-quality commercial bakery. I actually loved it and got very involved in the branding, marketing and business end of things. I learnt a lot of new skills and we won awards – the business really took off.

After I’d been out of industry for about 5 years, I started to think, if I was ever going to return, I’d better do it soon. It was tough. I faced a lot of dead-ends and disappointments. I soon realised that recruitment consultants are the gatekeepers to most jobs and because I had got a slightly unusual CV, they weren’t making room for me. I went to an ICAEW event about returning to work after a career-break and that’s when I came across CABA. When I heard about their career coaching I decided to go for it.

“For me, the main thing I took from the coaching was the space to think strategically about my position and what I wanted to achieve. I felt my coach really cared about me achieving the right outcome and was keen to support me.”

It’s a great service – the career coaching. I was allocated a local coach who worked hard to help me. It was great to have someone to think things through with. He encouraged me to think about my contacts from my days in London and to methodically go through the ones I had on LinkedIn. I went down to London for a day and met as many people as I could and got up to speed with what was going on. It was a real confidence boost - it put me back in that world again.

Not long after that, I approached my local university about Associate Lecturer opportunities and I now teach part-time in the business school. I also do some consulting for a firm made up of my previous contacts. I would also like to pursue some independent freelance opportunities, and I am confident that will happen in time.

For me, the main thing I took from the coaching was the space to think strategically about my position and what I wanted to achieve. I felt my coach really cared about me achieving the right outcome and was keen to support me. I used it as a chance to re-build my professional confidence and work out exactly what I wanted to achieve.”

Maria’s story

Maria's story

“I qualified in Cyprus then worked in the UK for a number of years. I was doing well but when my husband got offered a position in Germany I felt confident I could make that work for me too. I thought some experience in Europe could be an exciting opportunity.

The move happened quite quickly and I contacted everyone – including CABA – to tell them of my change of address. CABA got back to me almost immediately to make me aware that their services are also available overseas. It’s nice to be part of such a supportive community.

After a month in Germany I wasn’t getting the kind of interviews I had hoped for so I did 2 things: I signed up for an intensive language course to improve my German, and I contacted CABA to see how they could help.

CABA told me that they could arrange for me to have high quality face-to-face career coaching, in English, with a coach quite local to me in Germany. They said they could fund me to have 6 sessions, and after meeting with the coach, we agreed I would focus on the coaching once I’d finished my language course.

Having a plan in place made me feel a lot more confident – moving countries and starting again can be quite unsettling. It was good to feel I had a structure, and that CABA were behind me.

“Moving countries and starting again can be quite unsettling. It was good to feel I had a structure, and that CABA were behind me.”

The sessions with the coach were very, very useful. So much about job-hunting relies on understanding the culture. For example, in Germany you won’t even get short-listed unless you have a professionally shot photo on your CV. I just wasn’t aware of that. But once the coach told me, and advised me where to get my photo taken, that was another barrier out of the way. Also, she was able to provide insight on the subtleties of the language. Professional conversations in German are very formal, there’s a slight shift in grammar that you need to make. My coach took me through all of that and as the interviews started coming in, she was able to help me identify possible interview questions and appropriate responses.

After nearly 3 months coaching I felt very positive and I was offered an amazing position that will allow me to make the most of my skills and experience with a very well-respected organisation in Luxemburg. I accepted it as the position represents a really good move for my career and will not require me to commute. I am very excited about the prospect of working in a German speaking team.

I recently went to a networking event for accountants from the UK who are based here in Germany. Talking with others made me realise what a head-start CABA has given me. I was in a strong situation compared to many people who had moved out to Germany around the same time as me.

And it was so simple really. I just sent them an email and they called me back. There was no big procedure, they just said ‘Yes, we can help you.’ The words I would use to describe CABA are supportive, helpful and human. I felt that they genuinely cared about my wellbeing and career and they definitely accelerated the process of establishing myself in a new country.”

Rebecca’s story

Rebecca's story

“I dread to think what my situation would be now if I hadn’t got in touch with CABA at the right time.

By the time I started a company I had worked in industry for a number of years. I’d held great positions at several of the big firms and I was pretty confident in terms of my abilities in business. My husband is in construction, so when I was 35 we joined forces and started a construction company. But we grew too fast, we trusted the wrong people, and in no time at all we went from being a very viable company to being in serious financial difficulties.

The stress was unbearable, I needed to find over £5,000 a week just to cover payroll, I had all the staff depending on me, cash flow became more and more impossible. I wasn’t sleeping, I lost weight. It was a nightmare.

By the time we actually went into liquidation, it was actually a relief. But it brought a new round of stressors – we were trying to do the right thing by people we’d made commitments to, so we used credit cards to pay wages and borrowed from our parents. It sounds ridiculous from a qualified accountant, but the truth is, the speed and scale of our situation was impossible.

A lot of organisations were coming after us for money; tax, utility providers, contractors. I’d got to the stage where I didn’t open post and was frightened to answer my phone. My days were just a stream of people saying ‘you have to pay’ and not taking no for an answer. It got to the stage where my 8-year-old daughter was being affected by how unhappy we were and I literally didn’t know how to pay for groceries. There were even times my husband didn’t want to leave the house for fear of the bailiffs coming and taking everything away.

“There is a future for us as a family – a good one. It won’t happen overnight, but things are under control and we’re heading in the right direction.”

Initially I spoke to CABA just because I needed someone to talk to. I thought that my situation was so bad they wouldn’t be able to help much. But what I was going through was so complex, I just needed someone to take the time to listen to the whole thing. They allocated me a Support Officer, and after listening to everything he offered to help me prioritise the debt and said he could negotiate with the creditors on my behalf. I was over the moon that someone was actually going to help me bear the weight of responsibility.

CABA helped me understand the difference between priority and non-priority debts. That was so helpful. When I explained we weren’t covering household expenses, I was told I could apply for some short-term financial assistance. At that point I literally burst into tears with relief.

They provided a 3 month grant which helped me to calm down and see that there were things I could do to help myself. I applied for Job Seekers Allowance, and used the CABA career coaching service to update my CV and sort out my online presence. I also accessed their counselling services, just to process some of the trauma that we’d been through.

The career coach and the counsellor helped me remember that there was more to me than a liquidated company and that, in fact, I am a highly qualified and able person. They gave me the confidence to apply for jobs and in no time at all I took a good position as a financial controller in a local firm. My husband is working again now, and slowly but surely we are rebuilding our life and paying the debts. There is a future for us as a family – a good one. It won’t happen overnight, but things are under control and we’re heading in the right direction.

Without CABA I don’t think I’d have got this job. I’d still be being hounded by creditors and constantly worrying. CABA believed in me. They gave me back my peace of mind – for the first time in 18 months I’ve started sleeping again.”

Stan’s story

Stan's story

“I’ve been a chartered accountant since 1965, and as I got older, I started to think about CABA – particularly in terms of my wife. I found comfort in the fact that if I died before her, she would be able to approach them if she needed help and support.

But in 1999 I took early retirement to care for my wife. She had been suffering from emphysema for some time and we had been told it was terminal. They said she probably had 4 or 5 years, but we were actually a lot more fortunate than that. I didn’t lose her until nearly 14 years after I had taken early retirement.

However, becoming a carer had financial consequences. Over the years our savings depleted and this, along with the collapse of my pension fund meant that my income became increasingly restricted.

Gradually my own health started to deteriorate. I avoided having treatment because of needing to be able to look after my wife, but that meant I was in a lot of pain for quite some time.

I lost my wife to cancer in 2013 and I moved to be closer to my daughter. The pain in my joints became unmanageable and in the end I couldn’t put off surgery. I had to have both shoulders and both hips replaced. Medical staff made it clear that it would not be safe for me to use my bath or shower at home for fear of injury.

“The wet room is a tremendous success and I can now bathe safely at home. It has meant that I can continue to live independently in my own home. CABA’s assistance has given me back my independence and my dignity.”

I knew that a wet-room was probably the best option but I couldn’t see how I was going to fund such substantial household adaptations. But I had met a CABA representative at a social event who had said that CABA welcomes contact from ICAEW members in need of assistance, so I gave them a call.

From the very beginning I was made to feel comfortable – they were very sympathetic. I got on well with the Support Officer I was allocated and over time I came to feel that I had made a new friend. It was actually very easy to explain my situation and then to complete a grant application. CABA approved the grant and they helped to find a local contractor to carry out the work. They also supported me in putting together the job specification and managing the adaptations too. It really took the pressure off me – and I was able to deal with the situation without troubling my daughters.

The wet room is a tremendous success and I can now bathe safely at home. It has meant that I can continue to live independently in my own home. CABA’s assistance has given me back my independence and my dignity. I would not hesitate to recommend CABA to others in difficulty.”

Georgina’s story

Georgina's story

“I spoke to our HR manager because I was having a number of problems – frequent headaches, feeling dizzy, anxious and quite unwell. I found myself staring at my screen for long periods of time unable to work and therefore not being as productive as I could have been. These problems had been happening for a while and I felt they had become worse over a 4 year period.

Our HR manager explained that I could apply for some face-to-face counselling with CABA. I was extremely nervous but she encouraged and supported me to make the initial call– I had never thought about counselling before. I felt that I needed to do something so I phoned and I am glad I did as it is a process that changed my life and continues to do so.

After an initial assessment, CABA processed my application and a counsellor called to arrange our first appointment shortly after. When I got there, I was so anxious and almost couldn’t speak but was able to open up and discover some important things about myself. Through gentle questioning about my upbringing, family, work and feelings about my life at the present time I could understand why I worried about peoples’ opinions of me, why I felt that anything that was wrong was my fault and why I was always treading on eggshells for fear of disappointing. My anxiety and fear had stemmed from childhood experiences and I could now put things into context.

“I am now starting to slowly change my behaviour and view. It has been a complicated process but counselling has made me realise that how I feel is important and that other people in my life have problems too and I am not responsible for all of them!”

I understand that I was experiencing stress, and perhaps depression, and I was constantly trying to meet unreasonable expectations so am now realising that I can enjoy a good work/life balance by being more realistic and setting my own reasonable goals.

My life now is so much better, although there is still a long way to go. Having counselling and being able to understand everything has impacted on so many areas of my life; my relationship, friendships and family, work, my social life, but perhaps most importantly, how I view myself and respect myself. I feel more confident as a result of counselling and everything has started to slot into place. My work productivity has improved so much.

I have decided to have some more therapy which CABA is supporting. I feel so fortunate that I have had the support of my HR manager and CABA as it is a difficult process emotionally but can completely change the way you see everything.”

Joseph’s story

Joseph's story

“I consider myself a very fortunate man at 87. My wife and I both have good pensions and we have our children and grandchildren all around us. We’ve always enjoyed the outdoors – walking and watching sports – but as I got older I noticed a real difference in my mobility. I started to realise that I probably needed a motorised scooter. So, I picked up a leaflet for a firm that supplies them.

The problem is, these people promise the earth. They just want to make a sale – and it’s a lot of money that they’re talking about. After I made the initial enquiry, they phoned and phoned – they were very persistent. They keep asking, ’are you ready to make a decision yet?’

The one we ended up buying is fine for nipping about locally, but it was too heavy to pack in the car. That meant I couldn’t go very far. Because it wasn’t transportable, I wasn’t able to go to visit family or do things that required a bit of a car journey.

“We’re very lucky to have the support of family, but still, they don’t have the same expertise as an Occupational Therapist. I think it’s wonderful to have a service where a specialist can advise you.”

That’s when we had the idea of speaking to CABA. They said that whilst I couldn’t access a grant, I could definitely get help from one of their Occupational Therapists. An Occupational Therapist knows all about mobility aids and adaptions, so they can advise you on what would suit your needs most.

A lovely lady came out to the house and took down all my details. She’d heard of the firm that had been pestering us and said that they didn’t have a very good reputation. Instead, she suggested a different kind of scooter and recommended a local shop for us to buy it through.

We were advised to get a lightweight scooter that can be dismantled. Now my wife and I can get it in and out of the car ourselves. We’ve not looked back. We can go to all sorts of family events now. Our weekends have been transformed. We have 2 great-grandchildren that play sport - one football and the other rugby – and we’re off all over the county at weekends supporting them. I’d hate to have to miss things like that just because we didn’t know which bit of kit to buy.

As I said, we’re very lucky to have the support of family, but still, they don’t have the same expertise as an Occupational Therapist. I think it’s wonderful to have a service where a specialist can advise you.”

Melody’s story

Melody's story

Supporting businesses

Chartered accountancy and business advisors PKF Francis Clark approached CABA to help them support the wellbeing of their ACA students and qualified staff. As a result, CABA provided support through mental health training for their health & wellbeing champions, and specialist coaching sessions for new students which focus on adapting to change and moving into the world of work. Together they have raised the awareness of CABA’s other areas of support such as advisory services, counselling and career development.

“As well as being a Regional Human Resources Manager, I am also the health and wellbeing co-ordinator for the firm. I believe in providing staff with the right support and with CABA’s services we’re creating an environment where everyone can achieve their best and enjoy their work.

We trained a number of ‘health and wellbeing champions’ so they could support their colleagues across the organisation. Part of this included awareness training on the support available for our employees.

A Business Development Manager from CABA came to meet us, and together we identified a number of areas where CABA could help the organisation. I was impressed by the quality of the information on their website and I’ve found working with them to be a positive experience. They’re very responsive – for example, I know organising counselling can take months through GP surgeries, but with CABA, referrals to experienced counsellors are made very rapidly. I’ve been able to suggest this kind of help to several of my staff knowing they will receive quality support quickly before issues get worse.

“I believe in providing staff with the right support and with CABA’s services we’re creating an environment where everyone can achieve their best and enjoy their work.”

In addition, CABA have delivered awareness sessions to our champions about mental health issues and dementia so they have the right information and understanding to offer help to other staff when it’s needed.

Entering the workplace is an exciting time, but students often find juggling their workload, studies and personal life difficult. We’ve always supported students when they join us, but CABA helped us improve what we offer at this stage too. Every June, we arrange a lunch for our new student cohort before they join the organisation and encourage them to connect with each other. This year, CABA presented a session at the lunch to raise awareness of the support that’s available to new students - focusing on the skills that will help them to handle change and how to build their own resilience.

I intend to develop the health and wellbeing support further for the staff at PKF Francis Clark and look forward to working with CABA in the future to do that.”

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