Gloucester mum upset after benefits office "berate" her for job loss
OUTRAGED mum Sarah Churchill has won an apology after a Gloucester City Council worker ranted at her because she needed to claim benefits following redundancy.
The 28-year-old former accountant, who has raised more than £1million for the charity Breast Cancer Care, lost her job in July and phoned the council to enquire about support until she could get back into work.
But the Kingsway mum was confronted with a worker in the revenue and benefits office who she claims "berated" her because of her situation.
Miss Churchill, of Northwood Drive, said: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing, I was flabbergasted.
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"I had just lost my job. I am a single parent looking after my two-year-old son Noah and I need to keep a roof over our heads so I merely made a call to ask about the policies surrounding benefits.
"I started chatting to the woman and then she just turned on me and kept referring to me as 'people like you'. When I challenged her she berated me and said that I know nothing. The tone of her voice was horrible.
"She told me I shouldn't have put myself in this position. She obviously got out of the wrong side of bed that day."
Miss Churchill added: "She carried on talking over me, and when I asked to speak to her manager, she slammed down the phone. I rang back and spoke to her manager who dealt with what was a very simple enquiry quickly.
"I was really shocked that they can judge you like that and speak to you so horribly. She doesn't know me or my circumstances."
Pauline Winters, revenues and benefits service delivery manager, wrote to Miss Churchill and said: "I would like to apologise for any distress this matter has caused you. I have spoken to the member of staff in order to prevent this occurring in the future. Please be assured we aim to provide a high level of customer service and I am sorry that we did not achieve this in your case."