Saturday, 23 October 2010

Debt Advice

Debt and benefit advice is provided free from “Frontline”, a new debt and benefits advice service in Camberley, which is a charity registered with The Office of Fair Trading.

debt adviceGovernment cuts, the cost of living, redundancy, and pay freezes are all concerning. More than that, they impact us all. Every month when it’s time to pay the bills, it’s getting harder to make your money go further. To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, "debt advice" on Google gets 49,500 searches a month in the UK.

Debt can easily creep up on you, and you feel like you’re on your own, with an incredible weight on your shoulders. Final demands, constant phone calls and threatened court action, are all scary things if you have recently got into an unmanageable situation, where you can’t afford the cost of living.

Now, Camberley has “Frontline”. Frontline recognise that often people get into debt through no fault of their own. They aren’t buying fancy cars, Rolex watches, or clubbing every night. They are genuine people, who are finding it hard to manage in the current financial climate we are in right now.

Frontline in Camberley has a team of trained volunteers, who you can make an appointment with, so that they can help you get back on track.

benefits advice I spoke with Charles Bruce, who is one of the advisers at Frontline in Camberley, about the service they provide.

Why is Frontline a free service?

“We are a Christian based organisation. We see a need in the community for help of this sort, and we’re anxious to provide it. By definition, our clients don’t have any money, so trying to charge them for this service  would be counter-productive. We are funded elsewhere, and this service is totally free, and confidential.”

Can you tell me more about what help you can provide people in debt, or on low wages?

“We can help people who can’t manage their debts, who are deeply in debt, who are in trouble. This trouble might take the form of bailiffs, evictions, inability to pay their council tax, all sorts of things. These are just the external symptoms, the real problem is the debt. One of the ways we can do it is by helping them to be sure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to, which quite often can make a big difference to the way they handle their debts. We can get between people and their creditors, and take the load off them. We can take away the constant telephone calls and threats from bailiffs, and give them time, with our help, to organise how they are going to deal with the problem.”

ARE YOU GOING TO TRY AND TURN ME INTO A CHRISTIAN?

“Our service is free, we welcome anyone of any religion, sex, denomination, ability, disability; everybody is welcome. If someone should express an interest in Christian pastoral care, we can provide that, but if they don’t, we won’t. It’s as simple as that.”

free debt advice This might sound like a stupid question, but how do I know when I‘m in debt?

“…Most people get into debt, because like many people in our society today, they live very near the financial edge. That is, their income covers their expenditure each week or month, but only just. This can happen to quite well paid people as low paid people. Expenditure does tend to match income. If anything changes in their circumstances; a redundancy is the biggest… or their partner leaves, or their lease terminates and the rent increases, or even an unexpected baby. All these things can tip someone from their income matching their expenditure, to being insufficient for their expenditure. Unless addressed, the debt grows and grows and becomes a big problem.”

Admitting to having a problem with debt, is very difficult for most people. It’s very embarrassing. They try not to admit to it, to ignore it. Generally you can ignore it for quite some time. You can charge things up on your credit card, take out loans etc.. but eventually it will catch up with you. A big event normally sparks the problem. Someone is threatened with the bailiffs, or they can’t pay their council tax, or the rent. That’s usually when people turn to Frontline. I would advise people to speak to us sooner rather than later, but human nature being what it is, that doesn’t happen often.”

debt

“Whatever questions you might have, we will help you find the answers!”

 

 

You can get in touch with Frontline to make an appointment, for free, confidential advice, in the following ways:-

By Phone: 07880 711730 (24 hour message line)

Email: camberley@FrontlineDebtAdvice.org.uk

Or write to:

Camberley Frontline

St Paul’s Church Centre

Crawley Ridge

Camberley GU15 2AD