Supporting you if you need help with debt: Debt Awareness Week 2021


20/03/2021

We’re getting behind Debt Awareness Week 22-28 March and reminding you that if you need advice about managing money, tackling debt, or are worried about your ability to pay your rent we are here for you.

If you’re struggling financially our specialist teams can help you get on top of what you owe and make the money you have go further.

We can provide:

  • Tailored support and advice to help you pay your rent and charges
  • Advice on making the most of your money, reducing debt and accessing benefits
  • Access to The Bread and Butter Thing affordable food offer so you have more money to spend on other necessities like paying rent and bills.
  • Support if you’re looking for work and advice to move your career forward if you’re in employment

Carol* is among our customers who has received help with debt and money management from our teams over the last year and says she is in a much better place financially and emotionally thanks to them.

She says: “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my advisor, and what she did for me. She is my angel. My benefits had been stopped, I couldn’t afford to eat and with my mental and physical health conditions it was all too much for me. I couldn’t see a way out of the debt but she helped me so much. Today I have more money in my pocket and I’m in a better place all round.”

Carol was referred to our Community Impact team after struggling to cope with her £7,000 debt, and her dedicated advisor, Annarosa put together a package of support to help her find a way forward. This included setting up an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), to reduce the cost of her debt to a single, more affordable, monthly repayment. Annarosa also supported Carol to apply for and secure more than £3,500 of backdated Personal Independence Payments. To help our customer get back on her feet, Annarosa also helped her apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to go towards the cost of her rent and she arranged access to our partnership with affordable food service, The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT), to make sure she didn’t go hungry.

Kelly Webb, Operations Director Customer First, said: “We know money worries can turn into debt problems, and these can be scary and confusing to deal with. Last year our teams provided money management support to hundreds of customers every month, helping them take back control and move on with their lives.

“Customers who have been supported by our Community Impact Team have seen their disposable income increase by an average of £190 per person and we’ve helped reduce individual debts by an average of over £400 per person.

“Our Income Collection team also works with customers who are struggling to pay their rent and charges to help stop any debts from escalating.

“We want to open up the conversation around debt and encourage customers who need advice or assistance to get in touch with us so we can help.”

Contact us on 0161 393 7117, or email ServiceCentre@fcho.co.uk.

We’re also taking this opportunity to highlight the dangers of using loan sharks to borrow money. They charge extortionate interest rates and often intimidate and trap their victims in a cycle of fear and violence.

Tell-tale signs of illegal money lending that you should be aware of include cash loans without paperwork, use of benefit or bank cards as security, and threatening behaviour to get money. If you do need to borrow money, Credit Unions are recommended as a safe option. To find out about Oldham Credit Union’s ethical financial products visit www.oldhamcreditunion.co.uk.

More sources of debt and money management advice:

*Name has been changed.