Leeds: Money Buddies are true financial friends

The Money Buddies team at  Ebor Gardens Advice Centre.
The Money Buddies team at Ebor Gardens Advice Centre.
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They are the extra helping hands to keep residents on the straight and narrow with their finances.

For the last five months a team of Money Buddies has been offering support and advice in east Leeds to help keep people out of the red.

The Money Buddy scheme was launched at Ebor Gardens Advice Centre in a bid to help people stay out of debt and manage their finances.

But now debt forums across Leeds are hoping to follow their lead and start up their own Money Buddy scheme.

The dedicated team of volunteers offers support to switch utility providers, budgeting help and advice to set up savings schemes.

Sylvia Simpson, project manager, said: “We found that we had clients coming back to the advice centre who needed more than just advice. They needed someone to help them follow the debt advice they were given and that is where Money Buddies started.

“We have got 14 volunteers from the local community and we are interviewing two volunteers a week who want to become Money Buddies. It just shows us there is a real demand for this.”

The project was launched in April after the centre secured money from Jimbo’s Fund.

The cash will last until next year and the group is already on the search for ways to secure more funding to extend the Money Buddies scheme.

Sylvia added: “The Money Buddies will help you make savings and maximise your income.

“They will also look at how you can make savings in relation to getting the cheapest deals on your utilities as well as write to creditors.

“They really are your friend and it’s about that one-to-one confidential support.

“We are finding that it does work and the people that take up the service are often more vulnerable so it is someone there to help them through.

“The real success stories are when clients come in crying but when they leave they are smiling.

“It’s because they are in control and know what their rights are.

“It’s all about communities pulling together and they don’t feel as though they are on their own any more.”