Engage Foundation helps Liverpool lady with acute food allergies

Posted in: Foundation Last updated: 29 Jul 2014

Liverpool lady gets a financial helping hand to grow her own food.

A Liverpool lady, who suffers extreme reactions to certain types of food, has been awarded a personal grant by the Engage Foundation so that she can grow her own food all year-round, and cater for her restricted dietary condition.

Diane Roberts, 52 from Liverpool, who also battles severe depression, applied for the financial helping hand from the mutual’s Foundation, which has set aside £1m as an exclusive benefit for its customers to make their lives and their communities better.

Diane has suffered from extreme reactions to many types of food for years, causing her unimaginable pain and leading to mental health problems. Home-grown produce is vital to Diane who, as well as suffering from anaemia, must strictly follow the FODMAP diet. Although FODMAP has been hailed as a real breakthrough for those suffering diet-related pain, the diet limits the foods Diane can eat and makes it extremely expensive to fund the organic goods her body requires.

Selected in a monthly draw from more than 700 other worthy personal grant scheme applications, the £500 has allowed Diane to purchase two polytunnels to protect her vital harvest of home grown produce, and a collection of different seeds allowing her to grow her own food all year round.

The polytunnels will enable Diane to protect her crops from both bugs and cold weather which, combined, would usually destroy her much-needed produce.

Diane said: “I had hit a point in my life where I really didn’t know where to turn for help. I’d asked so many different funding bodies and companies for support but nobody fully understood what I was trying to achieve and wouldn’t take me or my plans seriously.

“When I first saw the information about the Engage Foundation I just took a chance and entered. I am completely amazed at their generosity and being able to purchase two polytunnels along with seeds to grow my own crops has had an immensely positive impact on my life. Being on the FODMAP diet isn’t easy, the ingredients needed are very expensive, much more than I can afford. By growing my own produce I have been able to eat the meals I need at a minimal price – I can get a whole summer’s supply of lettuce for just £1! It’s not just me who’s benefitted from this but all of my friends and family too, as I’m able to cook healthy, organic meals for everyone."

“I’m so grateful to the Engage team and couldn’t be happier with the whole process. I’ve been in regular contact with the team since I found out I was chosen to be awarded with the grant and the support I’ve received is incredible, I look forward to updating the team on my latest yield”, Diane added.

Since the launch of its personal grants in January 2014, Engage Mutual has made a significant difference to the lives of 45 deserving customers. In the first three months, the financial assurance company has received an overwhelming 858 applications from customers, like Diane, in need of financial help to make their lives easier.

Customers can apply to help themselves, their family and close friends or their corner of the world (the communities in which they live). All customers need to do to be considered, is apply. The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.

Anna Drabble, Head of Community at Engage said: “We have around half a million customers in the UK and we’re extremely proud to be able to offer them our personal grant customer benefit. At Engage Mutual the welfare and wellbeing of our customers is hugely important to us, and we set up the Foundation with the clear aim of creating a meaningful and lasting impact on their lives.

“We’re extremely pleased to be helping Diane and hope she can cook up all sorts of tasty treats with the help of her new polytunnels. Giving Diane this new lease of life means she will be able to focus her mind on growing her produce from scratch and we’re extremely happy to be able to help and make her everyday life that bit easier.”

Customers can find out more about the Engage Foundation and apply for a Personal Grant at: engagemutual.com/foundation »