Mayor appeals to those in financial crisis to seek advice
21 January 2021
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, today appealed to anyone struggling with debt or anxiety due to the impact of Covid19 to please pick up the phone and seek assistance from the network of support services available locally.
Local advice services have now been extended to meet the increasing demand for information and advice through the Covid-19 Financial Inclusion Partnership Fund. Council's advice service partners at Advice North West, Dove House and the Resource Centre have all stepped up to deliver a specially tailored programme of support through the Financial Inclusion Project, supported by the Department for Communities, to meet the immediate financial and debt needs of local people who are juggling finances to keep families afloat.
The services are now available out of hours to meet additional demand during evenings and weekends, as well as operating during regular opening hours.
Urging people to avail of the support that's now available, Mayor Tierney stressed that help is there for those who need it. "There are a lot of people across the City and District who have been furloughed, lost their jobs or been forced to shut down their businesses due to Covid-19. For some it's the first time they've found themselves under extreme financial pressure, possibly in debt and having to navigate an increasingly complex benefit system to ask for help. It can be extremely daunting for many people, and with the extra pressures of trying to support a family and keep up with bill payments it can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety during these already challenging times.
"But I want to reassure people that support is there – advice services are just at the end of the phone and they can help anyone experiencing an unexpected change in circumstances due to redundancy, sickness, reduction of income or insecure income. Council is also committed to ensuring that people are aware of their employment rights at this time, and advice providers can assist anyone who feels they have been unfairly treated or are just unsure about their rights and entitlements. Don't be reluctant to ask for help – there could be a simple solution to your problem with the right advice."
The Financial Inclusion Partnership aims to assist and facilitate greater financial resilience helping people get back on their feet as quickly as possible. It's just one of a raft of interventions being delivered by Council and its community partners including Local Community Growth Partnerships, Neighbourhood Partnership Boards, Advice Services, local Food Banks and charities, with support from Department for Communities, to address poverty and the wider impacts of Covid-19.
Services offered by the partnership include benefit maximisation, debt advice, financial health checks, advice on setting up a bank account, budgeting advice, advice on savings and affordable credit. Advice and guidance is also available to employees and individuals about rights and entitlements in the workplace and related issues such as redundancy, furlough, job insecurity and a reduction in working hours.
The extended Service will run from Monday- Thursday from 5pm to 9pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.