Debt can happen to anyone. That’s why Debt Awareness Week 2023 is so important.
Written by Gail Arkle, Director of Client Experience, StepChange Debt Charity
Debt Awareness Week 2023.
What is debt advice? The answer may seem obvious to those of us who work in or close to the sector, however our insight demonstrates that many people don’t understand the term or know that support is out there for those struggling with debt.
In fact, our data shows that there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding debt advice which can be a barrier to people reaching out for help, including:
- One in six people (16%) did not know that debt advice organisations are there to help people in debt
- Nearly a quarter (23%) didn’t think help was available, or that you would have to pay for debt advice
- One in five (21%) thought that contacting a debt advice organisation would negatively impact their credit score
This demonstrates the enormous challenge for StepChange and our partners in engaging with and supporting customers who are in need. This is all the more important as we find ourselves going through one of the most challenging economic situations in memory with the rising costs of living, which is universally impacting people from all corners of society.
And while our data shows that more middle-income households are coming to us for debt advice as a result, we know that shame, stigma, and a simple lack of awareness of the support that is available, are all significant obstacles to people getting the help they need. These obstacles may be even more pronounced for people who have never been in financial difficulty before and may not know where to turn.
This is a challenge we all need to tackle head on and so I am delighted that this Debt Awareness Week we’re working with our partners across all sectors to spread a simple message: Debt can happen to anyone, and if you need support StepChange are here to help.
All week we’ll be raising awareness through social media, press and media activity and online and offline activity of what debt advice is, the support that is available and the amazing work that our partners do to support their customers going through financial difficulty. We also have a number of events planned in conjunction with our partner organisations, including:
- Tuesday March 21st: An Instagram Q&A with Barclays to answer their customers’ questions about money worries and debt
- Thursday March 23rd: A LinkedIn Live roundtable discussion with NewDay exploring the importance of early intervention in supporting customers
- Friday March 24th: A live Q&A with our debt advisor Pedro and Justin Basini, CEO at ClearScore to answer consumer questions about debt and financial wellbeing
It’s not too late to get involved, our partner toolkit is available and full of social media assets and tools so you can you spread the message and help us reach more people who are in need.
Finally, I’d like to thank all our partners for their continued support and for working with us to share our message this Debt Awareness Week. While debt can happen to anyone, we’ll always be here to help those in need.