Help at hand for Derbyshire families struggling with debt

Families struggling with debt problems and other worries can find a helping hand in Derbyshire’s children’s centres.

By News Reporter
Monday, 19th May 2014, 7:30 pm

Derbyshire County Council has opened advice sessions across Derbyshire, offering free help on a wide range of issues including housing, debt management, welfare rights and getting back to work.

The sessions are run by experts from the Citizens Advice Bureau and were launched as a report came out about how debt is putting stress on family relationships, damaging children and trapping families in a downward spiral of borrowing.

The report was produced by the Children’s Society and a debt charity and calls for earlier and wider access to support and advice so families can put the brakes on a cycle of debt and reduce the impact on children.

Coun Kevin Gillott, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said it was vital the authority helped ease stress on families trying to make ends meet.

He said: “Research shows that debt and poverty can have a very serious impact on health and can cause stress and family breakdown. It’s often the children who suffer most as they end up worried or getting bullied at school.

“Debt problems are hitting people across the board, including families in work who are struggling financially. This report reminds us how important it is for us as an authority to do what we can to help all struggling families.”

“For every £1 the council spends on advice, families are helped to manage £32 of their debt. They also gain an extra £10 of income, such as free school meals or tax credits.

The investment in advice sessions is part of a raft of measures introduced by the county council to tackle health inequalities and improve the life chances of children and families.

Other recent measures include giving £126,000 to the growing number of food banks in Derbyshire and spending £360,000 to support Derbyshire’s Credit Unions which offer safe and affordable loans to people on low incomes who may be tempted by payday loan companies.

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