A free service to help people deal with credit card debts and other money problems has been launched by Sudbury’s Citizens Advice Bureau.
The number of people contacting the advice centre about debt has increased by 30 per cent, from February to July this year compared with the same period last year, and now CAB volunteers are being trained to help people review their debts and help them to take action before they become unmanageable.
This includes negotiating with creditors to avoid court judgements and bailiffs and using a computer programme to analyse income, outgoings and debt to work out a programme of repayments before providing letter templates for people to send to their creditors making an affordable offer.
Ann Furlonger, manager of Sudbury CAB, said: “Debt can have a devastating impact on people, leading to homelessness, relationship breakdowns, domestic violence and mental health problems.
“Our aim is to help people avoid those scenarios by working with them at an early stage to help them regain control over their debts and improve their budgeting skills for the future.
“The service we provide is free, non-judgemental and completely confidential.
“All you will need is access to a computer with a broadband connection, an email address, printer and reasonable level of IT skills. Unfortunately, the service is not suitable for people who are self-employed.
“We would encourage anyone who meets these criteria and is worried about their finances to drop in and see how we can help.”
The scheme is being run at other citizen advice bureaus in West Suffolk and is being funded by a £60,000 grant from the West Suffolk Partnership, which encompasses a range of public sector, voluntary and community groups.