Debt advisers trained to help families facing financial difficulty

Advice NI scheme supported by Ulster Bank’s Community Impact Fund.

Advice NI is training debt advisors to deliver financial education to its clients and others experiencing financial pressure in Northern Ireland with the support of funding from Ulster Bank’s Community Impact Fund.

This is part of an initiative to support those in debt, at risk of debt, or struggling with finances, to resolve their financial difficulties. It is intervention-based, with the view of preventing people from getting into debt or re-occurring debt.

The initiative is one of eight Northern Ireland projects funded by Ulster Bank’s Community Impact Fund. The £250,000 Fund was introduced by the bank this year to support community organisations to deliver financial education and enterprise creation projects in a local community setting. In partnership with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and the Community Foundation for Ireland, Ulster Bank has funded 25 financial capability and enterprise support projects island-wide so far this year.

Fiona Magee, Deputy Chief Executive at Advice NI said: “Advice NI has wanted for some time to be involved in an information awareness programme to reduce the cycle of debt and to benefit people who are struggling financially and/or are in debt. The Ulster Bank Community Impact Award has allowed us to offer and test such a programme.

We are at the early stages but the response to date has been positive and we are confident that we will be able to make a real difference to the knowledge, behaviour and attitudes of those who are having real difficulties managing their money and finances.”

Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch and Private Banking for Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, stated:

“We are delighted to support Advice NI in this project through our Community Impact Fund. Advice NI has a proven capability in debt advice and is well placed to deliver this wider financial education support at a time when people need extra help with budgeting and managing their money to transition to the new single household payment.

The funding we provide for community organisations is an important part of Ulster Bank’s long-term commitment to financial capability. It builds on the work we have been doing for many years with schools through our MoneySense for Schools programme, and more recently with parents and families through MoneySense at Home.”

Advice NI who delivers the Debt Action NI service, Northern Ireland’s leading debt advice service, is using the funding to develop a Money Advice Support Project (MASP). The MASP is a two-stage project, including a Train the Trainer Programme and a Money Advice Support Programme. Initially, people from a financial, generalist advice or debt advice background are undertaking the Train the Trainer programme developed by Advice NI. All potential tutors will have completed this course by the end of January 2014 which will enable them to deliver the MASP efficiently. The course has been extremely successful so far, improving knowledge, skills and confidence of debt advisers to deliver the project as reflected in feedback such as “Great course, inspired confidence. I am looking forward to delivering the training.”

The second part of the project will consist of running money advice sessions across a number of council areas including Ballymena, Newtownabbey, Newtownards, Derry/Londonderry and Newry. It is expected that a four-week programme will run concurrently in council areas across Northern Ireland throughout February and March 2014. The programme involves advice in four key areas:

  • Better budgeting
  • Savvy borrowing
  • Coping with money problems
  • Talking about money at home

For further information including dates visit If you are interested in the programme or would like to participate please contact Michelle at Advice NI or 028 90 645 919.

1. Bob Stronge (Director) can be contacted for further information. Advice NI, 1 Rushfield Avenue, Belfast BT7 3FP
Tel: (028) 9064 5919 or Mob: 07789756954
2. Or contact Emma Murphy (Head of Training) Advice NI, 1 Rushfield Avenue, Belfast BT7 3FP
Tel: (028) 9064 5919 or Mob: 07743496957
3. Advice NI is the umbrella body for the independent advice network in Northern Ireland
4. Advice NI members deal with over 270, 000 enquiries per year, with the majority being social security benefits and debt related
5. For further information please log on to