Isle of Man Debt Advice Service helps 100 people in first year
published on 27 Sep 2021
A Salvation Army Debt Advice Service has supported more than 100 people experiencing financial problems as it marks its first birthday.
The service, based in Braddan on the Isle of Man, can help draw up repayment plans, negotiate with creditors, offer budgeting advice and signpost to other services.
Debbie White, Debt Advice Co-ordinator, who heads up the project that launched in September 2020, said: “We want people to know they do not have to cope with the burden of debt on their own. We are here to listen and to be a sounding board for those who are struggling. We spend time with people and build trust, so we can get to the root of the problem and help them.”
Some people are falling into debt because their income does not cover the high cost of living on the island, as well as a lack of knowledge on money management and budgeting, and mental health issues, Debbie said.
She explained: “The government has acknowledged that the benefits system is not meeting people’s needs and the pandemic has crystallised this with a review currently underway. People may have to make the choice of whether they feed their children or pay their rent or bills. Often the rent is the last thing and they end up in arrears, meaning the family home is at risk.”
Molly*, a young mum who was taken to the small claims court by her former landlord after falling into debt and leaving her tenancy after she was made redundant, turned to the Debt Advice Service who helped her through the court process as a ‘Mackenzie friend’.
Molly, who has Bipolar disorder, said: “The help I received from Debbie was fundamental for my mental health at a very vulnerable time in my life. Debbie was a shoulder to lean on and a shield against my debtors. She spent hours with me in preparation for my case and gave me the confidence to face my debt head on and to hold my head high in court. I'm forever thankful.”
Lorraine Cook, The Salvation Army’s financial inclusion development manager, said: “We know what an impact the burden of debt can have on people’s physical and mental health. The stress can affect everything such as their relationships.
“Debbie and her team have done a brilliant job launching a new service, which has already helped so many people, and will prove vital as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt.”
The Salvation Army has 22 debt advice centres across the UK. Our debt advice centres saw requests for help increase by 28 per cent last year from 668 clients in 2019 to 852 clients in 2020 as pandemic poverty took hold of many vulnerable households.
For more information on our debt advice service click here
*not her real name