New money advice scheme aims to help struggling families in Newcastle

Money Smart Families launch at Castle House in Newcastle town centre

The Money Smart Families scheme has been officially launched to assist families in Newcastle-under-Lyme who need financial help.

It's being run by Potteries Money-Wise (part of Citizens Advice Bureau) and Aspire Housing with funding from Newcastle Borough Council.

The service is available to anyone in the area who has a child under 19 years-old.

It's been set up to help residents with issues such as debt advice, budgeting, what benefits an individual could claim, switching energy providers and assistance with Universal Credit.

The confidential advice given can assist families with things like discounted water rates, benefit checks to ensure all entitlements are being received, and 1-to-1 support and group training on money management and budgeting skills.

Shameem Richardson from Citizens Advice Bureau (who run Potteries Money-Wise) says that Universal Credit is one of the biggest causes of financial issues in the borough.

Shameem said: "A lot of people we see through the Food Banks say that they've got no money until their Universal Credit is in pay.

"Some of these people have been on benefits for many years and have been used to getting payments across the month.

"They've never really had the need to budget on a monthly basis. So imagine having a big pot of money at the beginning of the month and saying 'that's got to last you...'

"If you've never had to do it, it's quite a difficult thing to do."

Help can be found at four different locations, including Castle House, Home Start at Knutton, The Congregational Church in Newcastle and the Food Bank at St. Thomas's Church in Kidsgrove.

More details on the service can be found by emailing moneyadviceteam@aspirehousing.co.uk or by calling 01782 635200.

More from Local