At least three in every 20 adults in Fenland have got into debt or plunged deeper into debt to pay for Christmas, leaving many facing a miserable new year.
If you’re one of the seven million nationwide who borrowed to cover presents, food, drink and fuel bills and you don’t know how you’re ever going to get clear, read on.
The worst thing you can do is ignore it because arrears will mount (particularly if you went to a high-interest payday or doorstep lender) until you face the bailiffs, or even eviction.
Rural Cambs CAB can help you learn to manage your debt and stay out of money trouble in future – you can access its help online through your computer, by phoning the Advice Line, or face to face by dropping into the New Horizons bus when it’s in your town or village (see below) or by calling in to a regular CAB session.
First step is to go through all bills and demands and work out how much you owe and who You’ll need to draw up a budget to measure what you spend regularly against your income and see what surplus there is to pay debts.
Go to www.adviceguide.org.uk for details. This CAB website will identify the priority debts which put you most at risk if you don’t pay. Then you must contact your creditors and tell them you’re having problems and that you’re seeking CAB advice. If you don’t contact them, they’ll assume you don’t intend to pay.
Then visit the green and yellow New Horizons (Making Money Count) bus which has a CAB advisor and laptop computers you can use on board.
The bus will be at Chatteris Furrrowfields on January 8(10am–1pm); on January 15 at March Broad Street (10am-1pm) and March Children’s Centre, Cavalry Drive, (1.30pm-2.30pm); on January 17 at Wisbech Oasis Centre (8.30am-11am) and Elm Road (12-2pm); on January 28 at March Tesco, Hostmoor Avenue (10am-1pm) or on January 29 at Wisbech Market.
Find details of CAB centres or sessions in your local town on www.ruralcambscab.org.uk or phone the advice line, 0844-2451292.
Making Money Count is a £1m Big Lottery project helping local people develop their skills and confidence in managing their money at home, online and out in the community.
The project is delivered by a partnership of Roddons Housing Association, Fenland District Council, Rural Cambs Citizens Advice Bureau and CHS Group. The project offers a wide range of services designed to overcome some of the particular challenges of the Fenland area – particularly rural isolation, limited Internet access, unemployment and access.