November Member of the month: National Debtline
What geographical area do you serve? England, Scotland and Wales
When was your organisation founded? 1987
How many staff/volunteers do you have? 158
Who are you funded by? Government and credit industry
What’s the average number of clients you help each year? 135,000
Can you tell us about an accomplishment your organisation has achieved in the past?
We recently heard in the Pre-Budget report that we would be receiving £5.85m between 2009 and 2011 from Government, which has allowed us to expand our services to meet the growing demand for debt advice by recruiting an additional 43 advisers. These additional funds, as well as our existing funding streams, will help us to build capacity to help meet the demand for debt advice over the coming year and beyond, as consumers and small businesses continue to feel the effects of the recession
Why is your organisation a member of AdviceUK, and why is being a member important for your centre?
We believe partnership working with other sector providers is key to reducing the level of unmanageable debt in the UK. National Debtline is part of Money Advice Trust, and plays a key role in developing a more 'joined up' strategy that will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our work so we are better placed to help people with unmanageable debt. AdviceUK plays a key role in ensuring that all members are working together.
What do you think the future will bring in general for advice work?
Given the unprecedented economic situation, it is extremely difficult to make a precise assessment of the total demand for debt advice. But it is clear that the advice sector is under more pressure than ever before. When interest rates do rise, as they must eventually, households will be under further pressure.
The current downturn in the economy, and - significantly - the substantial rise in unemployment and reduced work hours are starting to have an impact on demand, and as the year progresses this will only increase.
As providers of frontline debt advice, we need to rise to the challenge of streamlining our service provision to ensure that we are maximising our resources and making debt advice available to those who need it.
What would be your top tip for other advice agencies looking to improve their service or sustainability?
Be clear about what your 'Unique Selling Point' is, and how your activities contribute to meeting your vision. Stay client-centres, no matter what challenges you face.
Member of the month
Offering free debt advice for the west Kent area with over a 100 hundred volunteers.View "West Kent Debt Advice Centre" profile
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