Avoid the sharks, say help agencies

Graham Wallwork is offering financial management advice and support on behalf of the Citizens' Advice Bureau.
Graham Wallwork is offering financial management advice and support on behalf of the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

DOUBLE help is available for people in Fleetwood who need financial advice and help in the run up to Christmas.

And the message is clear: don’t turn to loan sharks.

Debt crisis advisers fear hard-up residents are turning to high-interest payday loans to get them through tough times.

However, instead of struggling with loans they can’t repay, they are urged to go to the credit union in Fleetwood.

And in addition, a special advice day is being staged in the town by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).

The CAB session is being held at the Wyre Clubhouse mental health centre on Lord Street, Fleetwood, on Thursday November 8, from 2-4pm. The session is being run by Graham Wallwork, a finance adviser working with the CAB.

He said: “There is a bigger issue with debt now than at any time in recent years.

“The first port of call when they have money problems should never be these loan companies who generally charge very large rates of interest. It is only a quick fix solution and often these people spiral into even further debt. People don’t have to do that.”

Graham will be providing a wealth of information on the day about how to manage finances, and for those who have severe problems he can arrange one-to-one visits by an expert CAB adviser.

Those who want to attend the session should make as note in their diaries and simply call in on the day. Meanwhile, the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Credit Union holds two sessions a week at the West View Community Centre on Eden Avenue, Fleetwood. Vice-chairman of West View Community Association Shaun MacNeill, said the not-for-profit credit union was set up to help those in need.

He said: “The credit union comes to our centre twice a week and there is always a queue. There is a definite need. If someone runs out of money late at night and someone says they have a friend who can land you £10 or £20 it can lead to problems.”

Mr MacNeill revealed how community centre bosses had seen first-hand the despair caused by people getting into debt. He added: “We have people who have been in tears. I have seen people very upset because of debt – it’s a big issue. People get to Christmas and borrow money and spend the rest of the year re-paying it.”

The credit union meets potential clients by appointment at the West View Community Centre on Eden Avenue every Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Phone (01253) 478827.