If you need advice about money, debt or council services, the nearest free and independent advice could be no farther than your local South Gloucestershire Council One Stop Shop (OSS). Many customers at the One Stop Shops in Kingswood and Yate have already received help to increase their income and manage debt. Debt, benefits and housing issues can cause a lot of worry and anxiety and it can be difficult to know who you can trust and go to for help.
As part of a partnership, Talking Money and South Gloucestershire Council have teamed up to help members of the community by providing advice to tackle issues including benefits, debt and housing. With more than 70,000 visitors seeking help at the One Stop Shops each year it has proven a popular resource, one where you can ask for help in a more informal and relaxed setting.
Councillor John Goddard, Chair of South Gloucestershire’s Resources Sub-Committee, said: “The dedicated staff at our One Stop Shops help tens of thousands of people with access to council services every year; they are the experts on what we do to support people to live and work in South Gloucestershire. By working with Talking Money and training our staff, we are able to refer the people who need it to more expert advice and it is clear that the help and support they offer can make a huge impact on people’s lives.”
One Stop staff are trained to identify those who could benefit from additional specialist help, which is where Talking Money can step in. Talking Money is a charity that provides free independent money advice including debt, maximising income, bill payments, budgeting and energy advice. They are one of a number of partner agencies who aim to help One Stop customers get extra help. Their advice has helped increase income for some customers of nearly £10,000 and helped these customers to manage debt totalling almost £1 million.
Tamra Mannin, Services Manager at Talking Money, said, “We are pleased to be able to provide a much needed money advice service to South Gloucestershire residents. This service helps the most vulnerable citizens maximise their incomes and manage priority payments such as rent, council tax and utilities, keeping people in their homes and building financial resilience and stability in families and communities.”
For more information about One Stop drop-in sessions visit www.southglos.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/customer-services/one-stop-shop-clinics-and-surgeries