Communities Minister visits Advice NI Money & Debt Service as part of Talk Money Week

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey met with the award-winning team providing debt advice at Northern Ireland’s largest advice charity as part of Talk Money Week.

Advice NI’s Money & Debt service, funded by the Department for Communities, helps thousands of clients each year. In 2020/2021 the service dealt with more than £25 million of personal debt alone. 

Talk Money Week encourages everyone to have more open conversations about their finances as this helps lift the taboo around debt and can lead towards better financial resilience. 

During her visit to Advice NI’s new office in Newtownbreda, Minister Hargey met with debt advisers who were recently recognised as Debt Team of the Year in the UK by the Institute of Money Advisers. At the event judges praised the team for their client impact, the standard and quality of training delivered as well as the very many positive outcomes the service achieved for clients. Judges also praised the service for its adaptability during the Covid-19 pandemic in keeping the service going.

Minister Hargey said: “I would like to thank Advice NI and its independent advice services for the work they are doing.

“Independent, community-based advice services have provided crucial support to those struggling during the pandemic.

“I would encourage anyone who finds themselves struggling with problem debt or other financial problems to avail of the support provided by Advice NI and its independent advice service.”

Bob Stronge, Advice NI CEO, who greeted the Minister during her visit, thanked her and the Department for Communities for their continued support for the debt service.

“In Northern Ireland we are facing acute social and economic challenges. The removal of the Universal Credit uplift combined with significant rises in the cost of living are now, more than ever, leaving many households struggling to make ends meet. Advice NI’s free and confidential service is available across Northern Ireland through local independent advice centres as well as our Freephone helpline. I would urge people to act early if they are struggling financially, as taking the first step can greatly improve people’s mental health and overall wellbeing”.