Larne’s Christians Against Poverty (CAP) group is currently helping 23 families become debt free as part of its debt counselling service.
The town’s CAP Debt Centre is urging people struggling with debt concerns to contact them for support.
The organisation has released a list of five things to help people reassess their finances and recognise if they need help.
Larne CAP Debt Centre Manager Wendy Davison explained: “The clients who come to us for debt help take an average of three years to get in touch, it shouldn’t take this long, and it doesn’t have to take this long.
“There are many reasons for this, with shame and embarrassment being the most common, but a quick phone call and you’ll have set the wheels in motion today.
“We’ve released this list because the New Year is the time when we all re-assess so many things in our lives, from the items in our cupboards to the clothes in our wardrobe, so why not your money too?”
CAP Larne’s Debt Centre team work by visiting every client in their own home, while CAP’s head office negotiates a reduction in each person’s debts and sets up a repayment plan. Local volunteers also offer support to each person until they become debt free.
CAP’s five things which can be used to identify if you need help are:
1. Are you unable to sleep? Are your money worries affecting your health? You’re not alone: eight out of ten clients said debt had caused sleepless nights. Over a third of CAP clients were prescribed medication for debt-related illnesses, with 76 per cent saying debt had negatively affected their health.
2. Money problems often mean more family rows! 74 per cent of those in a relationship said debt caused arguments between them and their partner, and in almost a quarter of cases debt caused complete relationship breakdown. Two-fifths of parents said their money worries affected their children’s emotional wellbeing.
3. Falling behind with bills. Around 40 per cent of CAP clients seeking debt help have fallen behind with a combination of their gas, water, electricity, council tax, rent or mortgage bills.
4. Borrowing to stay afloat! When you need to pay a bill it’s easy to do this by looking for credit, this can be borrowing from family and friends, or by going to medium or short term lenders that charge higher rates of interest.
5. Threatening letters, telephone calls and bailiffs.
For debt help, call 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org.