Stepping up to support customers

Posted on 21st March 2014 | in Community

Northumbrian Water has launched a new partnership with StepChange, a debt charity, to help support customers who may be facing financial difficulties.

The partnership, an industry first, will help customers access free, confidential debt advice and solutions. It started during National Debt Awareness Week in January 2014.
Northumbria Water recognises that water arrears may be a sign of a wider problem and can make a referral when StepChange may be able to help.

Ian Donald, Northumbrian Water Customer Services Director, said: “Having seen the brilliant work that StepChange does and the incredible life changing difference they make to those they help, we are really proud to be working in partnership with them to support our customers.”

Andrea Cook, Chair of the Water Northern Consumer Council, said: “By working with an independent charity that is expert about debt matters, the water company is taking a very positive step forward in supporting customers who may be facing financial difficulties.”

StepChange previously known as Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), has over 20 years’ experience of helping people become debt free. They have helped over two million people deal with problem debt and offers a range of services and solutions to suit every situation.

The number of people seeking help for debt problems in the North East has increased by 39% in a year, according to StepChange. Last year, 6,464 North East residents contacted the charity’s helpline, up from 4,658 in 2012.

The charity’s figures show people contacting the charity from the North East are struggling to make ends meet, and have, on average, just £9 left each month after covering their essential household bills. Last year, people from the North East who contacted the charity’s helpline owed an average of £13,354 in unsecured debt.

For more information contact Mike Chipchase on 0191 301 6720.

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