Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country have long since been a port of call for those who are struggling with debt.
Now, a Big Lottery Funded project running in partnership between the Angus and Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau has won plaudits from both its clients and partners.
The ‘Avoid Debt, Act Positively Today’ (ADAPT) project has been running since May 2011, and will continue for another two years. Since May 2011, it has helped over 1,150 clients in group and one-to-one sessions focused on their finances, and has had positive impacts that run far deeper than clients’ bank balances. Help available includes assistance with budgeting, banking, borrowing and benefits.
Kathy Anderson, Head of Service (Development) Angus Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “At this time more and more people are getting into financial difficulty – but it’s important to remember we’re here to help. Credit can be hard to come by, or very expensive, as we see with the unscrupulous payday loans companies who all too often leave our clients in desperate situations. Add to that the economic picture, which has not been healthy for a number of years, and it’s no wonder people need our ADAPT service. Even people in work are finding that their situations are becoming more precarious, as incomes are falling or staying stagnant, while costs continue to rise. It’s vital for people to seek help when they get into this sort of situation so that solutions can be found and they don’t suffer on their own. Being in debt can be scary, and it’s important to remember you’re not alone, help is on hand. Our clients we surveyed all reported feeling physically better once they worked though their issues with us. If this sounds like you – come and see us.”
The interim evaluation surveyed ADAPT clients and reported that the project had brought a raft of benefits to participants. Not only did clients regain control over their finances, with all four of the projects initial ‘outcome aims’ achieved, personal lives were improved too. The interim report found a “significant sustained impact on clients’ mental health, confidence and