A Christian debt advice charity is urging churches and community organisations to consider launching a debt advice centre to support their local communities amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Community Money Advice is also urging any body that is struggling with debt problems to seek professional help as soon as possible.
The call comes as the charity expressed its concern that that the pandemic has caused a growing personal debt crisis affecting the lowest income households in the UK.
According to ONS data almost 9 million people were forced to increase their borrowing in 2020 with many from the lowest income households.
Community Money Advice is launching new debt advice centres across the UK in partnership with local churches and community organisations. The charity supports a network of 170 debt advice charities, where 1,200 trained advisors give free, confidential, face-to-face advice and support.
Community Money Advice works with churches, community groups and statutory organisations and helps around 19,000 people each year.
As a result of the growing debt crisis in the UK, at one point in 2020 the charity experienced a 400 per cent increase in enquiries from organisations wanting to offer debt advice in their local community. Over the past 12 months 32 new centres were opened through the network.
John Franks, Community Money Advice COO, said: “We encourage churches and community organisations to respond to the need in their local community and consider launching a debt advice centre. It is not fair that face-to-face advice and support is only available in some communities. We are keen to make professional face-to-face debt advice available to all who need it”.
Picture: A debt advisor speaks with a couple about their finances. (Kriangsak Koopattanakij).