MONEY advice and guidance on how to deal with issues such as bad debt will be available to foodbank users thanks to a new partnership.
The Money Matters team, part of faith-based organisation Saltbox, has secured funding to provide consultations for clients, helping them to keep on top of their budgets.
The grant from the Severn Trent Community Fund will mean volunteers working in Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank’s six centres will be able to refer clients directly to the debt counsellors for support.
The Money Matters service offers people the chance to talk in confidence about their financial situations.
Consultations can focus on a wide number of areas such as benefits advice or debt management services.
It is hoped that with the additional support, clients will be given access to the tools they need to deal with money issues that may be troubling them.
Jane Baker, project lead at Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank, said: “We are committed to providing compassionate, practical help with dignity.
“Our emergency food parcels relieve the immediate pressure of putting a meal on the table, but through our signposting work we hope clients can access the tailored support they need to find a way out of their crisis.
“Being able to talk to Money Matters advisers will make a very positive difference to many of our clients and we look forward to working in partnership with the team from Saltbox.”
Traditionally, people referred to the foodbank for help are invited in to chat to volunteers about their situations while their food parcel is packed and prepared. Volunteers are encouraged to listen and signpost clients to organisations best placed to offer specialist support suited to each individual’s needs.
Through the Money Matters partnership, advice will initially be provided to foodbank clients over the telephone and via email while social distancing restrictions remain in place at centres. Plans are also being drawn up to provide Covid-secure face-to-face sessions in the near future.
Money Matters already works with Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank and is now able to extend the service to the wider North Staffordshire area, including Newcastle.
A spokesman for Money Matters said: “Thank you to Severn Trent Community Fund for their kind donation of £16,769 towards our service.
“The funding has been used to employ a new money adviser who will be providing debt advice to users of Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank.”
If you are unable to afford food, please call 0808 2082138 (for free) in the first instance. This will connect you to a trained CAB adviser who can issue a foodbank voucher.
To contact Money Matters direct, email [email protected] or call 07880 795304.
To make a donation to Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank, please visit our Give Help pages at newcastlestaffs.foodbank.org.uk.