A new Kent Money Advice Hub is being launched today, 28 November 2022, to support people who are struggling financially or need help to manage the increasing cost of living.
The service is available for anyone who is worried about money and aims to encourage those who may be reluctant to come forward for money advice to take the first step.
Research* from Citizens Advice shows that in the three months to September 2022, the number of people needing debt advice grew by 16%. The pressing debt issues** concerning people in the past year have centred on fuel debts, council tax arrears, rent arrears and credit and store card debts.
The Money Advice Hub is a pilot led by Citizens Advice in North and West Kent, in partnership with a network of Citizens Advice offices in Kent, Debt Free London and funded by Kent County Council’s Helping Hands Scheme.
Free and confidential, advice is accessed via a range of digital channels including WhatsApp, video calling and messaging, on top of the traditional phone service plus Hub kiosks have been located within a number of communities.
People can access the Kent Money Advice Hub by visiting www.kentmoneyadvicehub.com or calling 0800 808 5622 or from kiosks which have been installed in the following locations:
- Gravesend Civic Centre, Windmill St, Gravesend. Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
- Cliftonville Community Centre, St. Paul’s Rd, Margate. Open Mon, Wed, Fri 9.30am-3.30pm and Tue 9.30-1pm
- Aylesham BeChange at Ackholt Rd, Aylesham. Open Mon-Fri 9.30am-3.30pm
- Ramsgate Salvation Army Centre, 167A High St. Open Mon, Wed, Fri 9am to 12 noon and Tue 8am to 12 noon. Thurs closed
- The Willow Children’s Centre, Brookfield Rd, Ashford. Open 9am to 4.30pm Mon, Wed and Fri and 8.30am to 4.30pm Tue and Thu.
Most are in private spaces, but where kiosks are located in public spaces, there is an option to arrange an appointment by visiting www.kentmoneyadvicehub.com, or contacting the Money Advice Hub on 0800 808 5622 by phone or WhatsApp.
Money advice is not just about dealing with debt, it includes looking at the causes of money issues and can help people if they lack sufficient income to meet household costs, have difficulty budgeting effectively, are threatened with homelessness or have had a family breakdown. All money-related worries can be raised at the Hub.
Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, said:
“The cost of living crisis means more people than ever before need help, advice and support regarding money.
“We know concerns over financial circumstances can lead to stress, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. This excellent non-judgmental service is about finding a practical way forward.
“By utilising a range of digital resources, people can access the new Money Advice Hub in a way that works for them. We’re confident people in Kent will benefit from this free community-based service, a lifeline which makes the most of technology to help tackle money issues.”
Connie, Debt Advisor, Citizens Advice, added:
“More and more people in Kent are facing significant financial challenges because of the rising cost of living. We know that the poorest and more vulnerable people in society are being hit hardest, but we are also seeing those on low and middle incomes struggling to adapt to the need to budget. People have used their savings to cope during the pandemic and now don’t have the financial cushion to cope with rising costs.”
Angela Newey, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice in North and West Kent, commented:
“We’re pleased to be leading this new project in Kent. It will support people before they get into debt as well as helping those who are already unable to meet day to day costs. We’re urging anyone who is even slightly worried about money to look for help sooner rather than later. Taking that first step and asking for help is often the hardest part, but by acting now and getting in touch, many people could avoid going into crisis.”
For more cost of living support visit https://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/cost-of-living-support
For further information and interview requests please contact Alessandra McKenna on 07967 976652 or via email on email@example.com
Notes to editor
Citizens Advice in North and West Kent (CANWK) is leading the Kent Money Advice Hub pilot project, funded by Kent County Council’s Helping Hands Scheme, working alongside Citizens Advice Thanet, Citizens Advice Canterbury, Citizens Advice Maidstone, Citizens Advice Swale and Citizens Advice Shepway, Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham, Paddock Wood Advice Centre and Debt Free London.
The pilot will run from 28 November 2022 until 28 February 2023.
The funding for this pilot project has been secured through the Helping Hands Scheme which was set up to help families and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. The Helping Hands Scheme is £10m programme funded from government Covid Emergency Grants.
* Over the last 3 months, local Citizens Advice have seen a 16% increase in the number of clients needing debt advice. (Source: Citizens Advice client records (Casebook database). ‘Topline Figures’ report, 3 months to September 2022.)
* * Citizens Advice have supported over 4,500 Kent residents with debt issues in the last 12 months. Of these, the top debt issues were:
- Fuel Debts
- Council Tax Arrears
- Rent Arrears
- Credit Card and Store Card debts
(Source: Citizens Advice client records (Casebook database). ‘CL6 – Key Stats’ 1/10/21 to 31/10/22)