The cost-of-living crisis is a real threat to the financial sustainability of households and the long term prosperity of Broxtowe. It’s important that the local community improves its financial resilience to economic shocks like the current cost-of-living crisis.

Whilst Citizens Advice Broxtowe has limited influence on the economy we are always here to help struggling households. We and our partners in the community provide a range of services that support local people struggling financially. We offer a hand up towards improved financial well-being through our Financial Resilience Broxtowe project. This project is part funded by Broxtowe Borough Council’s Shared Prosperity Funding.

We have categorised financial resilience or well-being under the themes of Income, Spending and Assets.

We know from our clients’ experiences that financial difficulties can put a strain on mental wellbeing. This in itself can prevent people from taking the next step towards financial resilience. If you are struggling with the stress of money worries help is at hand from Nottinghamshire Mind.

For updates on the #FinancialResilience_Broxtowe project check our webpage or Twitter account (@BroxtoweCAB) on a regular basis.

In order to take financial resilience support into the community we are organising monthly events at locations across Broxtowe. The Days of Action are published on a month by month basis. Keep up to date with your local events here.

Get help from #FinancialResilience_Broxtowe

Click on the link to access Citizens Advice Broxtowe‘s services.

Citizens Advice Broxtowe now offer a service dedicated to improving the financial well-being of local people. We call this our Financial Resilience Team and if you are struggling to make ends meet or fear that the next bill may throw your household budget off-course we can help. To access this support contact our core service and we will assess your suitability for the project or find other services that are more suited to you needs.

The Financial Resilience Team work in a structured way that has been tested and proven to improve the financial well-being of households in Broxtowe. The project started in April 2022 and helps over 400 people each year, putting them in control of their finances.

It’s not just about money, when surveyed beneficiaries who had been helped by the Team tell is that they are better able to manage their finances, feel more supported and optimistic about the future.

The project helps participants stabilise their budgets, improve financial capability and helps people access support with careers, skills and training advice that could increase their earnings potential.

We are strong believers that support needs to be tailored to the individual and that generic leaflets and websites can be useful but not suitable for everyone. We are a person centred service.

Each participant is given an action plan that aims to increase income, reduce spending and supports people to protect their assets or build a safety net for the future. Below we explain more.

Income

It’s important to ensure you maximise your income. This might be through claiming all the benefits and grants you are entitled to, accessing support schemes and looking to increase your household’s earning potential. When helping our clients we usually find that a combination of work and benefits is essential to balance the household books.

We work with carefully selected partners who can provide the support you need with areas of financial resilience that are not covered by the Citizens Advice service. This includes help with improving your employability or increasing earnings potential. Our main partner for employment and skills advice is Futures

Whatever your circumstances, whether you are looking to increase your income through earnings or have a long-term health condition that means you are not able to work we will help you with an income action plan that is suitable for your situation.

Spending & Debt

If you are struggling to pay your bills the first rule is to get help early. The sooner we can assist you the less complicated it will be to sort things out. You don’t have to be in debt to get help from us with balancing your finances.

Whatever stage of financial crisis you are at it is never too late and you should not feel that you are the only person in this situation. Nationally Citizens Advice know that 50% of people contacting them do so with a negative household budget. Debt is not inevitable but it is also not a cause for blaming or judgement.

To help you manage your spending we will consider the following:

Put a debt plan in place. This may include prioritising your debts, reducing repayments, writing off debts if possible and helping you understand different types of credit and what they cost. We may refer you to one of our specialist debt team.

Provide consumer advice to make sure you are not paying over market value for goods and services and help you to obtain refunds when you have been overcharged.

Help you access preferential tariffs for people on low incomes.

Help you with your ability to budget (financial capability)

Help with digital exclusion, often people pay much more for goods and services because they are digitally excluded or do not have access to the internet. We can help.

Housing affordability. We can discuss your housing situation and see what options you might have if your housing is unaffordable or unsuitable. This may also include an appointment with our housing specialist.

We will ask you about how much it costs to keep your home warm and pay for electricity. We will ask about the construction of the home you live in. There may be a number of options, including referral to a specialist partner who can talk to you about the energy efficiency of your home, what grants are available and provide guidance on a range of energy and cost saving measures.

We often find that people who experience financial exclusion are also at risk of fraud and scams. We will help you become more aware for scams and how to protect yourself.

Assets and building a safety net

It may sound impossible to think about building a safety net of savings at this moment in time but this is something that we should all plan for. There are a number of resources to help with savings and pension planning as well as incentives to help people wishing to buy a home for the first time or preferential saving schemes for people on certain benefits.

We will talk these through with you. It may sound surprising but a number for our financial resilience clients have told us that with our support they are able to save for the first time.

It is also important that you protect any assets you may already have, things like pension schemes, home equity and credits that will allow you to claim a full state pension or other contributory based benefits.

Summary

The list above is not exhaustive, if referred to a Financial Resilience Team we will take an holistic approach to making sure your financial resilience improves. We will create an action plan for you and support you to achieve the objectives when appropriate.

If you live in Broxtowe and think this project sounds right for you? Get in touch with one of our local offices.

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