A week-long series of events aimed at helping people get a grip on their finances is being held in Dundee.
Starting today, Talk Money Week will feature a range of free drop-in sessions offering advice on benefit entitlement, fuel poverty, form filling and spending priorities.
The week is an annual celebration of organisations across the country which help people improve their money management and is being co-ordinated locally by Dundee Carers Centre.
New figures provided by Citizens Advice Bureau Dundee show the average level of unsecured debt held by those seeking advice is £14,834.
“Unsecured” debts refer to bills built up on credit cards, overdrafts, bank loans and money borrowed from payday lending firms.
Carol O’Neill, welfare rights co-ordinator at the carers centre, said many people in the city may be unaware of how much help they are entitled to.
She said: “Nowadays, whether you’re in work or out of work, you can be affected by money worries.
“A lot of the events taking place next week are things we put on frequently. But the problem is people often don’t know about these services until they find they really need them.
“The week is about highlighting the ways you can save and lifting the stigma of debt.
“It’s been a few years since all the advice agencies came together and we thought this was an opportunity for us all to raise awareness about the services on offer in the city.”
Talk Money Week is being backed by Dundee City Council, Dundee Money Action, Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter, Faith in the Community and Blackadders Solicitors.
Among the events will be two all-agency advice stands – one at Ninewells Hospital on Monday and the other at the Welllgate Centre on Wednesday, both from 10am-2pm.
Age Scotland will also host a “Warm and Well” session at Dundee Carers Centre on Tuesday, when experts will give advice on how to stay warm while also reducing your fuel bills during the winter months.
Recent figures provided by the insolvency agency CreditFix show the average level of personal debt last year was similar to the most recent figures from Citizens Advice – £14,210.60.
Five years ago, average personal debt in Dundee among those seeking help was £17,025.09, and a decade ago it was as high as £19,270.78.
However, with the Christmas shopping season approaching, families could soon be feeling the pinch again, according to Stephanie Chapman, managing director at debt agency Carrington Dean.
For a timetable of events for Talk Money Week, visit Dundee Carers Centre’s Facebook page.