Saltbox’s Money Matters service, established in 2009, has provided financial support and debt advice to vulnerable individuals across North Staffordshire for over a decade now. Since 2014 Money Matters has worked in partnership with Trussell Trust, running 35 drop-in sessions a month across 16 Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank centres. From November 2017 to December 2018 the team has helped 1138 individuals access an estimated £109,595 of previously unclaimed benefits and managed c. £295,547 worth of debt.
Over the years, there has been an increased demand for the service, and Saltbox realised it had to find alternative sources of funding to continually support the service. As of November 2017, major utilities provider npower has funded the team as part of their commitment to support people in vulnerable situations. Thanks to npower’s contribution, Money Matters is now securely funded all the way through to October 2020.
Joanne Speed, Saltbox’s Financial Director said “This is a fantastic collaboration between Saltbox, npower and Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank and a real example of great practice. Through the funding received from npower and by working together to provide essential food or fuel support, alongside helping people to maximize their weekly income or resolve their debts, it has meant the service has continued to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city, at a time when they need it most. Our biggest challenge at the moment is the significant growth in numbers of people accessing support, and so we are continually looking at ways we can expand the service, including training more volunteers to help meet this need. Any offer of support is most welcome!”
Mary-anne Rapson, Money Matters Lead Debt Advisor said “The people that we have been able to help have been so grateful to find us available for them in the Foodbank centres at a time when they are most in need. I have even been called ‘an angel’, which of course is nothing to do with me personally, but rather the fact that npower have made it possible for me to be in the Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank centres”
Corrine Boden of Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank commented “Money Matters is such a pivotal part of what we do at Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank. It offers a much-needed and vital service to our guests, enabling them to deal with their monetary problems whilst they wait for their food parcel. The additional support helps to enhance the impact of what Foodbank aims to achieve, leading to valued outcomes for the guest. This would not be possible without npower and Saltbox working in collaboration with us. We have been able to meet the recent increase in foodbank usage, and deliver a unique provision of additional support which has been invaluable for the guest.”
Matthew Cole, npower’s Head of Vulnerability said “Our targeted local partnerships enable us to provide personalised support and advice to customers on a wide variety of energy-related issues. npower is really proud to be part of this collaboration with Stoke on Trent Foodbank and Saltbox: we can see the difference made by providing folk in crisis with fuel and food, as well as the benefits of starting to unpick and resolve some really complex financial issues.”
To find out more information about Money Matters please visit saltbox.org.uk/money-matters
If you need additional support in managing your energy bills please visit npower.com/helpandsupport