More help for Londoners facing increasing financial pressures as a result of COVID-19
While charities all over London have been responding to the challenges of Coronavirus and the lockdown, we’re really pleased to announce a new investment of £4.8m from the Money & Pensions Service in sustaining and enhancing advice for 24,000 people with debt and money worries across the capital over the next 12 months.
Across the Debt Free London Partnership, made up of 21 advice charities working together, more than 100 Debt Advisors will be on hand to help support Londoners who are struggling to make ends meet – with enhanced support available from today.
Each year, over 1.3 million adults in the capital struggle with money, and many more will face uncertainty as the wider impact of COVID-19 looms. The Debt Free London Partnership has worked to rapidly transform its face-to-face services and have launched a new digital offer, providing support by phone, WhatsApp and web chat.
Londoners can call or WhatsApp an Advisor for free on 0808 164 2480, alternatively they can visit www.debtfree.london to take advantage of the web chat facility – we are still here to provide vital support to Londoners at a time when so many are struggling.
Despite a number of measures that have been introduced to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19, we know that those who were already struggled with money will be especially hard-hit. Since 2006, our partnership has helped over 250,000 Londoners. We will be here in the coming weeks and months ahead, to support those who need us most.
As our communities come together at this time, we’re all reminded that we’re stronger when we work together.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
“We are in the midst of a major crisis in public health, with all Londoners forced to make substantial changes to their day-to-day lives to protect the NHS and save lives. The coronavirus outbreak is impacting health and livelihoods, and having to worry about debt will only increase distress. That is why it is so important that the Debt Free London Partnership is working together to support Londoners of all backgrounds to navigate their debt concerns during these challenging times.”
Matt Dronfield, Head of Debt Free London said:
“In times like these it’s incredible to see our city come together. In the weeks and months ahead, it’s vital that our communities are supported as we tackle the impact of COVID-19. Since launching, we’ve supported over 250,000 Londoners and we have rapidly adapted our face-to-face services, using WhatsApp and our brand new web chat, to ensure we can continue to support Londoners to get debt free. There are huge challenges ahead, but thanks to the continued support of the Money and Pensions Service, we will be able to support Londoners when they need us most.”
Alex Connolly, Director of Operations at the Money and Pensions Service said:
“We are pleased to confirm another year of funding for the Debt Free London partnership to support vital debt advice services. Given the financial pressures people will face over the coming months due to the pandemic, support with money problems is likely to be more crucial than ever.”
Muna Yassin, Managing Director of Debt Free London partner Fair Money Advice said:
We’re delighted to be able to continue to support our clients – and in times like these our services will be crucial in helping London, and Londoners, recover from this current crisis. We’ve rapidly adapted our services to ensure clients continue to receive the help and support they need and are here to make sure debt doesn’t make the current situation worse for Londoners”
Sukhvidner Kaur-Stubbs, CEO of Debt Free London partner Citizens Advice Lewisham said:
“In Lewisham, our Debt Free London funded Advisors will help around 2,000 people this year. For anyone on a low income struggling to ensure the rent is paid and kids are fed, a series of small but mental debts add to mental strain. It can undermine the confidence to deal with day to day situations and affect health and wellbeing. Debt Free London provides a lifeline to fund this essential work.”
Paula Twigg, Director of Debt Free London partner Mary Ward Legal Centre said:
“Mary Ward Legal Centre is pleased to continue to be part of Debt Free London providing much needed debt advice London-wide, helping people reduce debts, maximise incomes, avoid homelessness, and change lives. Our support is needed more than ever as people face the devastating impact of Coronavirus. Together as a partnership we can help thousands of people in need of debt advice.”
Jim Minton, Chief Executive of Toynbee Hall, which leads the Debt Free London partnership said:
“While everyone is feeling the effects of the crisis, those Londoners who have the least, and already face the biggest challenges are being hit hardest. Large numbers of people are suddenly without steady income; or juggling family and caring responsibilities with homeworking. More are worried that they won’t be able to afford essentials and pay bills, isolated and in fear they don’t have anyone they can turn to. Funds to sustain charities to do vital advice, outreach and community work will be needed more than ever over the coming weeks and months. The new investment into our Debt Free London partnership is hugely welcome, and we echo calls for more resources from government for charities so we can be there for those who need us now and in the future.”