When she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Lin Winters felt like her life was on the road to ruin. With no choice but to leave her job as a checkout assistant at a local supermarket due to her ill health, she found it increasingly hard to budget.

One of the symptoms of Lin’s condition is erratic spending, and for the 27-year-old, it began to spiral out of control. So when her mum saw an advert for Park, she decided to sign up in order to help her daughter regain control of her finances.

Lin said: “I had heard of Park but never thought to give it a go. It was only when my mum had applied for appointee-ship over my finances that she said ‘we need to find a way to have a decent Christmas’.

“After seeing the Park advert, we went onto the website set up an Account in my name as a way of me gaining a little independence.

“Before we joined, we struggled by because my spending was so out of control. It’s since given me a goal to focus on. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. There are no fees and you can even earn commission based on how much you budget. We pay by Direct Debit, which makes things much easier. We find it really hassle free.”

Lin’s Mum, 55-year-old Susan Sharp also feels that budgeting with Park has helped her daughter develop her own financial independence.

Lin and her mum Susan on her graduation day

Lin and her mum Susan on her graduation day

“I found it very hard to find ways to help Lin,” said Susan “It has been an uphill struggle. Some may say it sounds strange that something as simple as budgeting for Christmas could help someone with a mental disorder. But the routine of budgeting has found its way into other aspects of Lin’s life and given her the independence that she needs.”

Lin admits that their first ‘Park’ Christmas really gave her a sense of achievement: “Being able to look forward to Christmas knowing it was all going to be sorted was great.

“We spent some of our vouchers in Marks and Spencer for some special food which we wouldn’t usually buy, it was a real treat! We love shopping in Boots too, because with our vouchers we can pick up great Christmas presents for everyone, as well as getting some ordinary stuff for the house like toothpaste and shower gels.”

Lin is now in her third year as a Park Agent, and says she would recommend it to anyone. “Just being able to look forward to Christmas without any stress or hassle is such a great feeling,” she said.

“It feels good to be able to buy my family presents, something I never could have done before I joined Park. Many of my friends are surprised when I tell them that they get back exactly what they put in, so you know exactly how much you are budgeting towards.

“I’d like to thank you for this wonderful service which enables anyone and everyone to have a brighter Christmas. We’d never go a year without Park now!”