The second month of a campaign aimed at showing people where they can get budgeting, debt and benefits advice in the run-up to Christmas and the new year is under way.
The ‘Sometimes we all need a helping hand’ project is the follow-up to last year’s nationally-recognised ‘Say no to high cost borrowing’ campaign and is being run as part of the Lincoln Anti-Poverty Strategy, led by a partnership of organisations, including City of Lincoln Council.
The aim is to show where people can get advice and support at a time when there’s extra pressure on household budgets, not only with the cost of the festive season, but also a time when fuel bills can rise dramatically to cope with the cold weather.
Posters containing the message ‘Twas the month before Christmas and all through the land, people were poised to give a helping hand’, and signposting to Citizens Advice for debt support and the city council for benefits information, will be displayed throughout the month.
They will be at various locations throughout the city and leaflets will be given out by a number of sources, including schools and food banks.
Stuart Dearden, from Lincoln’s Citizens Advice, said: “Many people in our local community are finding it increasingly difficult to manage the rising cost of living and are finding that they are falling into arrears with their key household bills such as rent, fuel or mortgages.
“For some people small changes can make a big difference to how they feel about their circumstances or debt and there are a range of steps people can take to manage their concerns.
“We at Citizens Advice, along with our partners in the Lincoln Against Poverty group, are here to offer advice and information to help people move forward in managing their debts.
“Our Money Advice specialists are on hand to help people find the right solution for them – we won’t judge, just try to help.
“If anyone feels that they are struggling to cope with their debts or are experiencing difficulties we would urge them to get in touch with us on our Adviceline number or call into our Beaumont Fee offices.”
Martin Walmsley, Head of the Shared Revenues and Benefits Service, said: “Many people do not realise that they are entitled to benefits or miss out because they don’t know that a particular benefit exists.
“Also, people sometimes think because they are working they will not be entitled – but many customers are entitled to benefits as well as their wage.
“Means-tested benefits can increase their rates regularly, and people who didn’t qualify for things such as Council Tax Benefit in the past, may now qualify.
“We are happy to help anyone who needs further information to ensure they’re claiming what they are entitled to. For further information contact us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01522 873382.”
Councillor Rosanne Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion, said: “Lincoln has a number of organisations, such as Citizens Advice and the council, who can help with benefits and debt advice.
“We are in a time when the cost of living is high and people’s incomes don’t always go as far as they need to.
“I’d strongly encourage anyone who needs help with their finances to contact the support agencies as soon as possible, where there are staff trained to support and guide people through whatever circumstances they find themselves in professionally and confidentially.”
Anyone wanting to contact the Citizens Advice can call them on 03444 111 444 and the city council can be contacted on 01522 881188.
Other organisations that can help with budgeting advice include:
- Christians Against Poverty – 0800 328 0006
- Lincolnshire Credit Union – 01522 873550
- City of Lincoln Council – 01522 873382
Helping Hands campaign materials can be downloaded here.