I recently received a generous grant from CBS to buy food for myself and my son. We are in temporary accommodation and do not have access to appropriate kitchen facilities to cater to our dietary requirements. Due to an already challenging financial situation I have been unable to buy food for us as all my money goes to pay bills. I have had people non chalantly remark that I should swallow my pride and go to the food bank. Various organisations have offered food bank vouchers. What no one seems to understand, except CBS, is that not going to the food bank has nothing to do with pride and evenrything to do with the fact that both of us would be extremely ill if we ate the food that is available at food banks as we both suffer with severe food allergies and health issues that require a very monitored and specific diet that just isn’t catered for at food banks. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Without CBS’s kindness, generosity and support, we definitely would not have had any access to food which is an awful thing to confess considering we are supposed to be living in the ‘developed world’ yet, we, like so many, are literally starving and have no accommodation to call home through no fault of our own. If it wasn’t for CBS who have been there for us and continue to help us through some seriously challenging times I really don’t know what we would have done without them. If only the world was filled with more organisations like this instead of it being the exception, the world would definitely be in a better place for us all.

Thank you SO much for all that you do. And an extra special thank you for helping me to feed my son. You will never know how much it means.




SW 7/3/19

Hello my name is Shaun for a number of years I have been suffering from Epilepsy and also mental health problems and anxiety disorder.

I have struggled to understand my condition and particularly financial  issues which have caused hardship and poverty.

I had a benefit change that affected my health with devastating consequences unable to cope or communicate I did not feel I was being listened to , and I reached a point where I needed help.

Penta referred me to Counselling and Benefit Support Limited and I did not know what to expect or understand the process and whether I was going to be helped or be put under more pressure because of previous experience.

This process has been what I have needed for many years Rowena listened , explained the process and I felt reassured and comforted and relieved.

Now I can move forward , my mental health has improved , my physical health has also improved I have a better relationship with my GP who has now changed my medication and written a supporting letter.

This service is a vital life line for people in crisis and should be fully supported with funding so they can continue to help others.

Callum Wilkinson – 27th June 2019

I have been meaning to write this testimonial for a very long time , I have been seeing Rowena Koning for at least 4 years for support.

I took my problems down to Counselling and Benefit Support Limited and to be honest I was not expecting anything to be resolved.

My understanding around these issues were very limited and I thought there was not a chance in hell of being able to sort this out.

I could not of been more wrong , to start with Rowena spilt each issue down into manageable segments or as she puts it ” eating the elephant eating one piece at a time”.

Rowena took a massive load off my shoulders and I,m still not sure how she managed it , she spoke with my creditors and helped me put them in priority order and set up a payment plan which incorporated all of them.

On top of this, she helped me put things into perspective and supported me and my family throughout , I have recently been seeing Rowena about my Personal Independence Payment Mandatory Reconsideration while this is ongoing , here is where we have got to.

  1. I would not have been able to get as far as she has helped to reach.
  2. I would not of been able to understand the process and how it works.

I would recommend Rowena Koning and her amazing service to any and all people who need help and support with understanding their financial matters or if they need help with benefits in general.

“What a fantastic FREE service” – 4/6/19

I came across this service by accident, an incidental remark by a worker from Inclusion Cornwall who gave me Rowena’s name, I am so glad that she was able to take me on, I would be dead now if it weren’t for her.

Read more here

I have been using this service for some time and I cannot express enough how invaluable it has been/is to myself and my dependent son. When I say invaluable, what I more accurately mean is that it is the lifeline that I have never had from any other charity or organisation.

What makes CBS different is the level of tenacity and integrity that is upheld at all times. This equates to my being treated as a valid human, my voice is heard and respected; I am not just some statistic or box to tick and my son is always considered. I have never felt dismissed or patronised just because life has dealt us an onslaught of intense challenges which we have struggled with.

Without their support, I know the very possible reality that would have ensued. I can hardly bring myself to think about it. Thank you for keeping us afloat and for your ongoing support to slowly move toward to a better place. CB – Jun 4th 2019

When I first met Rowena I was in trouble both financially and personally.

Rowena and CBS were already involved with my mums finances, helping to keep the debtors under control whilst she was going through a particularly unpleasant divorce. I was struggling trying to fill the gaps between finances that were running out of control, barely making minimum payments despite working full time.

Rowena finally convinced me to let her have a look and within 2 meetings everything was under control. Yes I still owed the debt, but Rowena worked as an intermediary between myself and the debtors to put in place an affordable payment plan for me. She took all of the pressure off so I could focus on what’s important. I wasn’t getting phone calls and letters every other day reminding me of how much I owed and how much I was being charged etc etc. She even managed to get 1 company to remove some of the interest!

She also took another massive weight off my shoulders by giving my mum someone else to talk too about everything. She let my mum rant and rave, then would calm her down, talk her through it and within an hour everything was ok again. She was an external source of information, so my mum actually listened when she was talking. It sounds crazy but I’m pretty sure she saved my life and the lives of my family, between the counselling and financial advice. She was and is fantastic!

Fast forward 18 months, and I have actually got a small amount left over each month for the first time since I can remember. The payments are up to date and some accounts are closed already. I even have enough to consider taking the other half shopping. Haha.

In short, she turned my financial and personal life around in a small amount of time and I cannot ever thank her enough! Gregory Wilkinson – Mar 14th 2019

We had for some time been trying to keep our heads above water with our finances and because of past experiences we felt pretty traumatised and found ourselves struggling rather than ask for help and so this would of gone on with my husbands dread of forms and my fibromyelgia  leaving me in pain and very exhausted but as it happened the support group we attend for fibromyelgia told us about the Cornwall Befriending Service, now called Counselling And Benefit Support, a number of them had been helped by this service.

It has been a lifeline, Rowena Koning our counsellor has been so very kind understanding and supportive we  can`t thank her enough, she has led us through applying and getting Pension Credit which in turn led to a Counsel Tax reduction and this has made so much difference to our income and made us feel like we could finally draw breath, she has also put us in contact with South West  Water Community Energy Plus, this is a charity who help you to get the best value from your energy supplier.

We wish such a service as this had been around before when we needed help after our business burnt down, because this service is invaluable when you are traumatised and faced with a mountain of forms.

There is a lot of people who are in need and need a service like this and could do with this sort of help. Christine & Les Nicholls.

CBS has supported and assisted me no end for almost 4 years now. They have not only understood me and my conditions, but also my struggles and past position. They have helped come back from a domestically violent relationship as well as me endlessly with my Accommodation, Benefits, Bills, Debt, Forms and other Day-to-Day tasks; I find stressful and struggle to complete because of my Asperger’s and other learning difficulties.

If it were not for the support of CBS Limited, I would not be where I am now; back on my feet after some very hard years and moving forward with Life. I am about to start a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship at Falmouth University; which is something I could only of dreamed of. I feel that Counselling and Benefit Support Limited is an invaluable service, which deserves funding in order to help others like me. Thank you doesn’t cover it G Jarvis – 28th January 2019