Ben supports man after he gave up his job to care for autistic son

Ben has been supporting a man from Suffolk, after he had to give up work to care for his son with autism, but was left struggling financially and emotionally.

Back in 2015, Darrell Brown discovered that his son’s school wasn’t providing the specialist support that had been promised. Due to the extra pressure this was putting on Darrell’s wife, Steph, he made the tough decision to give up his job as a recovery truck driver to help care for his son four years ago.

Darrell said: “I was working on 24-hour callouts. I loved my work, but caring for my son and working full-time was too much. I was feeling constantly anxious at home and then I had to go out on-call at any time of the day or night for work. I couldn’t do both, so I left my job to help care for my son.”

Darrell’s 11-year-old son, Lewis, has autism and sensory processing disorder so has high care needs, and caring for him has been the main focus of his and his wife’s lives. Darrell’s other two sons have learning disabilities – his middle child has ADHD and dyspraxia, and his eldest has dyslexia.

After leaving his job and taking the school and local authority to court over their failure to provide appropriate support for Lewis, Darrell was left with spiralling legal costs, as well as suffering with anxiety and depression. To pay bills and ongoing court costs, Darrell sold everything of any value that the family owned to raise some money, including all his work tools.

Darrell said: “I got such a small amount for everything we sold, including the tools, but we desperately needed the money.”

After feeling like he couldn’t cope anymore, Darrell contacted Ben for support. The team at Ben arranged counselling for Darrell and his wife who were both struggling emotionally, as well as a much-needed family holiday so they could de-stress.

Ben has also been helping Darrell get ready to return to work, arranging training for him to achieve a CPC driving licence. Additionally, as Darrell had sold his work tools, his caseworker at Ben, Graham Butcher, recently contacted 30 different companies to request donations of tools for him. Commercial Vehicle Workshop magazine responded to the request and put Ben in touch with Draper Tools.

After hearing about Darrell’s situation, Draper Tools jumped at the chance to kindly donate over £2,000 worth of tools to him. The company has generously gifted the ‘New Mechanic’s Mega Kit’ to help Darrell get back to work with everything he needs.

Darrell said: “After years of fighting a battle and feeling so anxious, down and depressed, I can now look to the future. The support from Ben has meant a lot and played a huge part in getting us through this. There are no words I can use to express our sincere thanks for everything that Ben has done for us. I’m also astounded that Draper Tools has so kindly given me such a fantastic toolkit – these were the tools I owned before that I had to sell, so I’m incredibly grateful. Thank you to Ben and Draper Tools!”

After four of years of fighting the legal battle, Darrell’s family won the court case against their son’s school and council. Darrell’s son Lewis now goes to a specialist school for children with autism and the family are already seeing massive improvements.

Darrell is looking forward to returning to work in the future when Lewis is fully settled and is hoping to return to heavy vehicle recovery. He said: “I’m looking forward to the day I can return to work and I’m feeling really positive since the court ruled in our favour. It’s fantastic that I have support from Ben and the tools I need to get back to work, which I enjoy so much.”

Julie Hayes, Head of Support at Ben, said: “Since Darrell approached Ben, we’ve been there every step of the way to help him and his family through such a tough time in their lives. Darrell’s family have been through so much and we couldn’t be happier to see them looking forward to their future now.

“We will continue to be there for Darrell and his family as and when they need us. Now Darrell can focus on getting his career back on track and the future looks a lot brighter for his whole family. We would like to thank Draper Tools for providing such a generous toolkit to Darrell, it really has made such a difference. We wish Darrell and his family all the best for the future.”

Clive Richardson, Marketing Director at Draper Tools, said: “When we heard about Darrell’s ordeal and everything his family had been through, we immediately felt we wanted to do something to help. It’s a desperate situation when a technician has to sell all of his tools and is unable to work. We are very happy to have played a part in supporting Darrell and his family with the provision of a brand new, top of the range Draper ‘Mechanic’s Mega Kit’ – a comprehensive tool chest filled with just about all the tools he’ll need on the job. We’d like to thank Commercial Vehicle Workshop magazine and Ben for highlighting Darrell’s story to us and to wish him and his family all the best for the future.”


Sign up to hear more from Ben