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Salvation Army launches its first debt advice centre in Scotland

10 August 2015 - 3:10pm
| by Joss
|


[From L-R: Claire Buick (project co-ordinator) Alan Montgomery (director of community services), Lt Col Carol Bailey (Scotland secretary), Lorraine Cook (financial inclusion development manager) and Kathy Betteridge (corps officer]

The Salvation Army has opened its first Scottish debt advice centre - in Edinburgh. 

The service at the church and charity’s Gorgie Corps will offer free and practical support to people in desperate financial need. Leaders of The Salvation Army say their decision to offer debt advice is down to the growing number of people coming through their doors with money-related problems.

Speaking at the launch of the centre on Gorgie Road, Lieutenant-Colonel Carol Bailey said: “We’re speaking to more and more people whose lives are being blighted by debt. Citizens Advice Bureau and other agencies are also inundated with people seeking help.

“That’s why we feel it’s the right time for The Salvation Army to get involved in this area. We aim to give people a route out of debt by offering them a hand-up, not a hand-out.

“Our service at Gorgie will give professional advice to people from across Edinburgh and the central belt. Debt is an issue we take seriously and a lot of time and work has gone into making sure the service we offer is of the highest standard.”

Gorgie is the latest addition to The Salvation Army’s debt advice network, which is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Further centres are being lined up in Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and Berwick to add to existing centres in Luton, Dunstable, Bedford, Winton and Peterborough.

Project co-ordinator Claire Buick will run the debt advice service in Edinburgh three days a week. Claire, a former financial crime analyst, said: “We understand that providing a listening ear can be just as important as negotiating with a client’s creditors.

“As a church and charity, we will come alongside people who are vulnerable and offer them practical support. This will typically mean we start by working with people to understand the level and type of debt they are in. From there we will review their financial situation to find ways to raise income and reduce expenditure. Then we’ll develop and a realistic debt management plan and help clients communicate with any creditors. 

“And where we feel it’s necessary, we’ll offer money education to change people’s habits and minimise the chance of them getting into debt again.” 

“First of all we’ll work with service users to understand the level and type of debt they are in. From there we will review their financial situation to find ways to raise income and reduce expenditure.

“Then we’ll develop and a realistic debt management plan and help clients communicate with any creditors.

“And where we feel it’s necessary, we’ll offer money education to change people’s habits and minimise the chance of them getting into debt again.”

To arrange an appointment at The Salvation Army’s debt advice centre in Edinburgh, contact Claire on 0131 297 7585 or email claire.buick@salvationarmy.org.uk

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