Henry's Blog: How your support will help families with debt

Thanks to your support, there is so much we can do to help defuse debt for the rapidly increasing numbers of families facing financial tragedy. We can:

  • Help with emergency need – food, small grants for essentials e.g. school uniforms
  • Negotiate with creditors to make repayments more affordable
  • Help clients access benefits they may not be aware of, such as Council Tax reductions
  • Help clients to get on top of big debts through payment plans, Debt Relief Orders, bankruptcy
  • Help clients to budget really effectively
  • Negotiate with landlords to put a hold on evictions, help with rent arrears and support clients with accessing social housing

And so much more.

But all the indicators are that, in the coming weeks and months, we’ll need to help more people with debt than ever before in our history. So here’s what we’re planning to do so we can help as many as possible.

How we’re gearing up to defuse debt

We’re piloting new debt and welfare hubs with partners in Newmarket and Sudbury to enable more people over a wider area to be able to access our help.

We’re creating debt/welfare support online tools and resources. Clients with less serious debt are often happy to do the legwork themselves, once we’ve had an initial chat with them. Other clients are reluctant to admit to their debt problems until very late in the day. So for both of these groups, we’re creating online tools and resources where they can learn more about what to do if they have debt, and how we can help (it also has live webchat where they can speak to one of the team.) We’ve already got a few online tools and resources up – you can see them at: www.reachhaverhill.org.uk/selfhelp

We’re improving access to mental health and wellbeing support. Poor mental health can be both a cause and an effect of poverty and debt. So we’re partnering more closely with local mental health and wellbeing charities such as LifeLink, to enable families in need to be more connected to their local community, develop improved self-esteem and confidence. That in turn will mean they are in a better place mentally to deal with their debt issues.

We want to expand our team, by employing an extra staff member to provide debt/welfare advice. We’ll also train volunteers to help with ‘triaging’ new debt clients, taking them through a fact-finding questionnaire and organising immediate support such as foodboxes. This will speed things up for clients, and by the time they are passed on to staff for debt support work, much of the necessary paperwork will have been done.

If you would like to support us to gear up to help more struggling families, you can donate here