Skip to main content
dealing with debt

Debt – a fact of life for many families

Launch of a partnership with debt charity StepChange and a parents newsletter to support more people in the Foothold community

Debt is a word many would dare not speak. But it’s a fact of life — never more so than now. Personal finances have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic and many people are borrowing money to cope. So, what happens when we start talking honestly and empathetically about debt?

The thought of debt sends many into a spiral of shame. We don’t want to think about it, let alone talk about it. People might feel that it reflects their moral standing and consider it a failure but that’s an incredibly outdated notion. Debt isn’t a reflection of a person’s character, it’s a reflection of modern life. As a society, we need to listen without judgement and talk without fear when it comes to money. It’s okay to be in debt. It’s normal to be in debt. And there is support for those facing financial difficulty.

Debt can happen to anyone for any reason. Redundancy is a prevailing issue, likely to contribute to incurring debt as time goes on. But unexpected costs are also a factor — things break down, funerals must be planned, relationships end. The sooner we can accept that debt is a fact of life, the easier it will be to talk about.

The family in debt

Families falling below the minimum income standard  (MIS) are already facing the pressure of making ends meet. They might fall below MIS because they don’t receive a living wage, work part-time, or aren’t able to work at all. And with the effects of the pandemic on people’s ability to keep a job, it isn’t unusual for families to be struggling financially. Many parents have had to home-school their children and this comes with its own costs. The price of internet, lunches and perhaps of a computer add up quickly.

(Lunches + internet + computer) – wages = debt?

On top of that, not being able to work to support their kids’ education is an added strain on the family budget. Times are tougher now than ever before for many families in our community and it’s no wonder why so many are facing debt.

This is just one of the reasons why we’re launching a community newsletter for parents. This quarterly update will form part of our support for parents in the engineering community through the challenges they might be facing in life.

Talking about debt is the first step to getting out of it. One way to encourage people to talk more openly is through our partnership with national debt charity StepChange. A new, streamlined referral process allows Foothold community members to access free expert advice on the phone, text or e-mail at a convenient time. According to StepChange research, this new process increases the likelihood of someone completing the debt advice process from 5% to 50%.

Our Services and Development manager Denice Houslin said: “We’ve always pointed community members in the direction of StepChange when they needed help with financial difficulties. However, having financial difficulties can cause a lot of anxiety and stress for people and it is often hard to reach out for support. This new partnership will make it easier for us to support members to overcome any initial concerns about contacting StepChange and hopefully reassure them, that by allowing us to help them make the first step, difficulties can start to be managed in a way that reduces the anxiety they may be feeling.”

 

About StepChange

StepChange Debt Charity is the UK’s leading debt advice charity. They help over 630,000 people each year deal with their money worries and take back control of their lives. Their service is free, impartial and they never judge. Every client receives expert personalised advice to help them deal with their debts. Whether you need debt advice, a way to get back on track after the financial effects of coronavirus, or support with budgeting or managing persistent debt, StepChange can help. They’ll look at your individual circumstances and recommend a course of action.

You can read more about our debt and benefits advice and sign up to our parents newsletter here.

Other blogs

Header graphic for Learn how to manage your money better in our free webinar

Learn how to manage your money better in our free webinar

Find out about our upcoming webinar, Managing Your Money, taking place on Thursday 13 January 2022 in partnership with Secondsight.

View post
Helen Wright, author of Knowing your rights as a private tenant

Knowing your rights as a private tenant

Learn more about your rights as a private tenant and how they can help you in this blog by the housing experts at Shelter.

View post
Madeleine Hunter, author of Your guide to Covid-19 repossessions and evictions

Your guide to Covid-19 repossessions and evictions

Your guide to Covid-19 mortgage repossessions and evictions from Madeleine Hunter, Helpline Plus Caseworker at the housing experts Shelter

View post

Your stories

Simons story support in coronavirus pandemic image
This money will cover all our everyday expenses until the government funding kicks in or we can start working again. I think it’s just brilliant that there is somebody giving this kind of support. Simon Gaze View story
Alan overcoming illness
The financial support has alleviated so many problems for us. I can’t express how much it helped - it’s enabled us to live a life. Alan Monelle View story
molly counselling support
I feel like I have a safety net which reassures me massively. We still have stressful days, but I can manage them so much better than before. View story
sharon becoming a carer
The way we have dealt with the last 12 months is with a positive attitude, laughter and not being afraid to ask for help. Sharon Monelle View story