Tag Archives: Debt Awareness Week

Dear caller… our advisors write to Helpline callers

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“The greatest lesson I’ve learned from working for StepChange is that the sooner you seek help and speak to someone about your debt, the sooner you’ll start to feel better about the situation.” Helpline advisor

advisor on phone in office

Our advisors are always here to help

We asked our advisors to write to callers they’d just spoken with, or previous clients that had stuck in their mind for one reason or another.

Asking for help can be one of the hardest things to do. So it’s not surprising that they had a few words of encouragement to share with callers old and new.

Our advisors speak to thousands of people each week and are trained to give expert, impartial debt advice. That doesn’t mean they’re not human though, sometimes a caller’s clientstory can hit a nerve or they experience the frustration of knowing someone won’t follow up on the advice offered.

What do you say to someone that’s reached out to you for help?

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Debt Awareness Week 2015: let’s take control of debt!

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Debt Awareness Week logo

Lets help more people take control of debt than ever

Personal debt is an issue for millions, but in no month is the stress of debt more acutely felt than in January. Many people are feeling broke after the festive season, and may have opted to put off seeking debt advice until now.

It’s estimated that some 2.9 million people urgently need debt advice*. The trouble is that many don’t know where to start.

On Monday we launch our second annual Debt Awareness Week, where we highlight the issue and encourage people to get free debt advice. We want to help more people take control of their debt than ever before.

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Know your rights – January’s debt news

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Debt news

What’s this month’s top debt stories?

There was one big debt news story in January – and it was about us!

We ran Debt Awareness Week a couple of weeks ago and we’re dead chuffed that it made such a big splash!

We spent the week highlighting our services in the media and featured in a debt clinic on the Guardian website as well as coverage in The Sun and The Daily Mail among others.

The aim of the week was to help people recognise the danger signs of debt and prompt those who do need assistance to get help sooner. Much of the work that went into the week was inspired by our own client’s experiences which really helped us to spread the word.

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3 final reasons why we’re Running Debt Awareness Week

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The final curtain is about to descend on Debt Awareness Week for 2014, and what have we learned?

For one thing, we’ve learned that so many people in debt are ready and willing to get the help they desperately need – all it takes is that nudge in the right direction.

The debt we’ve dealt with so far this week clocks in at over £200m, and it’s all down to people just like you deciding that enough is enough.

Reason #13

“Our lightbulb moment came via a conversation with our bank who told me to take a loan out to pay off my overdraft and credit card. It didn’t sound right so I contacted StepChange Debt Charity. It was at that point I realised what a mess we were in.”

Reason #14

going into court to fight two companies at the same time was a reality check and one of the lowest points of my life.

Reason #15

I always knew I had a debt problem and had tried to sort it out but was really putting a bandaid over a gaping wound.

When I met my fiance` and fell in love, I realised that my debt problem had massive consequences for our future. I began to see I had to pay back a lot of money and should start really trying to do that. I don’t think it had struck me before what debt really meant.

The relief of having someone to talk to and someone to negotiate with my creditors was immense. thank you.

If you relate to any of the stories above, or any of the others we’ll add during this week, use our Debt Danger Signs test to see if you need debt advice.

Client quotes obtained in debt danger signs survey, Dec 2013. Total debt reported obtained from our Helpline and Debt Remedy service, up to Thursday 23 January 2014 at midnight.

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Borrowing to cover job loss or ill health (debt danger sign #5)

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Mini Graphic 5As part of Debt Awareness Week we’re discussing the five danger signs to help you avoid them, or if you’ve tried to deal with your finances in this way, how to get help sooner.

One of the more unfortunate danger signs is using a debt to cover living costs following unemployment or ill health. Having a sudden drop in income will always be a huge blow but for some it can be worse than others.

Relying on credit to survive can seem like a lifeline but it can actually make things much worse.

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3 more reasons why we’re running Debt Awareness Week

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We’re coming towards the end of Debt Awareness Week, and what a week it’s been. The amount of debt we’ve dealt with this week now weighs in at over £203 million.

The support we’ve received for Debt Awareness Week has been nothing short of amazing. There’s still more work to be done, as these three client stories attest.

Client quotes obtained in debt danger signs survey, Dec 2013.

Reason #10

“I’d move debt around between deals offering interest free periods, but all the time the debt amount was steadily rising.  When the interest free period was running, I wouldn’t reduce the principal, so when the incentive period was over, I’d just have a higher debt to repay.

I wish I’d asked for help sooner. If I did, I wouldn’t of been in as much debt as we ended up in and would have been debt free by now.”

Reason #11

My advice? Deal with the problem objectively and don’t put it off.  The longer you leave it the more debt you will get yourself into.  Realise that there are people that can help and it doesn’t matter how much debt you are in – there are ways round it.

In hindsight, I should have taken care of my household budget more than I did. Entering data on a spreadsheet or finance application is not enough if you don’t take ownership of the information and take steps based on it.

Reason #12

We used a secured personal loan with a company that raised the offered interest rate just before we signed.  we were so desperate that we still signed for the loan anyway.

Consolidating our debts seemed like a sensible way out.  It gives you breathing space to kid yourself that the problem is under control when it isn’t. I wish I had made every effort to budget properly.  I also wish that when we had a better income we had put something away for ‘a rainy day’.”

If you relate to any of the stories above, or any of the others we’ll add during this week, use our Debt Danger Signs test to see if you need debt advice.

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3 more reasons why we’re running Debt Awareness Week

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We’re halfway through Debt Awareness Week, and we’re far from running out of steam. Our work will never stop while there are people in need of free debt advice.

Debt Awareness Week has opened a lot of people’s eyes to just how serious the problem of personal debt is. Since the Week started, we’ve helped people from all over the country deal with over £130m of debt, and the running total shows no sign of slowing down.

We believe that, for many people, realising that debt problems can happen to anyone played a major factor in them finally seeking debt advice.

Reason #7

“I tried to ignore the fact that we were getting into debt. I would have sought advice much sooner but was afraid and I didn’t really know who to approach or contact for advice.

I didn’t want to go to the local C.A.B. in case it was run by someone I knew. Also, I didn’t know if i was going to be treated like a criminal or whether I would end up being ‘publicly shamed’.

In the end I had to go to the bank and say I couldn’t pay the mortgage that month.”

Reason #8

“I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security by taking out consolidated loans, and ran up more debt as a result.  The other really bad thing I did was accept unsolicited increases in my credit card limits.

“I should have contacted the credit card companies and asked them to restore my previous limit or even reduce it.  I didn’t exceed my credit limits, so it would have helped.  I told my bank not to increase my credit limit and I won’t ever allow them to do this even once my debts are cleared.”

Reason #9

“I wish I’d gone to StepChange Debt Charity much sooner. As soon as I did, I felt so much better; the relief at being able to talk the whole sorry mess through with someone who was sympathetic and non-judgmental  was enormous.

I felt I was taking back control of my life and getting back on top of things. I became calm again. StepChange made me put everything back into perspective and realize that, yes, I had a problem, but it was a problem that could be dealt with and overcome.

To know there was someone out there who not only understood my problem and offered a solution but believed in me and believed that I could sort the problem out myself was wonderful and so reassuring. It was a problem that COULD be sorted out, and StepChange guided me through every step of the way.

The relief I felt when they dealt with my creditors on my behalf was ENORMOUS. I was finally able to sleep at night again. Thank you StepChange. I was on the verge of a total breakdown (I did have a mini-one, and had to be off work for five weeks – and I never have time off work AT ALL, normally – and I’ve worked full time for over 30 years).

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I tell everyone struggling with debt to use you!”

If you relate to any of the stories above, or any of the others we’ll add during this week, use our Debt Danger Signs test to see if you need debt advice.

Client quotes obtained in debt danger signs survey, Dec 2013. Total debt reported obtained from our Helpline and Debt Remedy service, up to Tuesday 21 January 2014 at midnight.

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