Debt Awareness Week takes place from 21-27 March this year. Started by StepChange debt charity, the week aims to start people talking about debt.

Debt is very much in the news at the moment. The cost of oil and gas are rising. Our energy bills are set to increase and the costs of filling up your car and even your average supermarket shop are set to go up. All this can add to your financial burden, but how often do you talk honestly about money?

There are organisations that can support you with your financial worries. You do not need to worry alone. Be open with people about your situation and get support.

Where to start if you are concerned about your debt

A great place to start if you have concerns over how much you owe is Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice give you the information you need to make the right choices, including help to deal with your debt problems, how to avoid losing your home and how to get your finances back into shape. They can also advise you on which benefits you could be entitled to.

Turn2us also has lots of information and advice on which benefits and support you could be entitled to. Their benefit calculator is a useful tool for calculating what you could be eligible for.

There are some handy budgeting tools available which may help you plan where you spend your money and potentially identify ways to save some too. Citizens Advice have a free budget planner or others can be found by searching the internet.

Energy advice

LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership) is a free home visit scheme to assist residents throughout Dorset with free energy advice, energy saving devices, along with access to other improvements like heating upgrades and insulation. Eligibility criteria does apply, although at time of writing, anyone in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, and/or various other benefits qualifies for this service.

Another way in which you can receive advice about your energy costs is via your gas or electric company directly. British Gas, for example, have a dedicated area of their website for helping with debt and fuel poverty, as do many other energy suppliers.

Food banks

With fuel costs rising, this is having an impact on costs of food. If you are struggling to put food on the table for yourself, or your family, then there are several food banks found across Dorset.

Practical help

You may also be struggling if one of your household appliances has broken, if so, there are grants that may be available to you. Contact us today to discuss the support that might be about such as grants from Dorset-based organisation, The Leonardo Trust.

For further information

If you would like further information on anything raised in this article, or would like to discuss your caring situation, please contact us. We can signpost you to organisations who can help, you do not need to struggle alone.