Nicola was made redundant on her one-year work anniversary at Westwood Travel’s shop in Alton, Hampshire, in March. It was her friend and agency owner Emma Westwood who delivered the devastating news to her.

Former sales consultant Nicola said: “I am a 38-year-old. I have never been made redundant before. My heart goes out to Emma - she was crying and in bits. She said that she was struggling to pay wages. I baby-sat her daughters when they were young.” 

Emma allowed Nicola to stay at her desk until the end of the day so she could update her CV and LinkedIn profile. 

Nicola, who has a five-year-old son called Freddie, said: “My first thoughts were ‘I am a single mum’, I need to temp’.” 

She added that she faced “huge problems” applying for Universal Credit, struggled to get through to speak to anyone at first and was three months behind on her rent.

She said: “It has been very stressful and there have been a lot of sleepless nights.” 

Abta Lifeline put Nicola in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau after she reached out to the industry charity in April. She has also been sent Tesco vouchers to cover food bills.  

“I just felt that there was no way out,” she explained. “Without Abta LifeLine I don’t know what I would have done. I lost the job I loved doing but I could not afford to pay bills or afford to pay for food shopping.

“Thanks to Abta LifeLine, I’ve been able to eat during lockdown.”