THE PLIGHT of a Tavistock family which has been supported by a community partnership has highlighted the devastating impact of debt.

The escalating rise in the cost of living continues to hit people of all backgrounds, situations and incomes, but there is a safety net provided by a network of experts.

Those facing imminent or current financial problems are offered help through the Navigate Charity, of the Wisermoney partnership, and part of the Tavistock Health and Wellbeing Alliance, a coalition of voluntary and community sector groups working in the Tavistock area.

Julie, of Navigate, said: “Wisermoney is a free service helping people with debt and money issues struggling to cope and get help. The cost of living crisis makes bad situations worse. One of our clients, James, was put in touch with us by Devon Carers because he was having problems as he cared for his dad who had dementia.”

James said: “I moved back home because I could see Dad wasn’t coping. Dad was going downhill, not eating properly or looking after himself or maintaining the bungalow. The best option was to give up work to care for him. He had letters and was hiding them. He’d taken out a bank loan but not paid it back and signed the bungalow away to equity release.

“The bank would ring the house. I was worried when the doorbell rang, Bailiffs would turn up at the door. And every time I thought I’d sorted it out they’d pile more pressure. It took a toll on my health.

“I had a kind of breakdown. I could see a little light at the end of the tunnel but I couldn’t get near it. I worried about everything. Couldn’t concentrate. Didn’t eat or sleep properly.”

Julie continued: “Our adviser worked with James to help him sort out his debts. This stopped the bailiff visits. She advocated with energy and water companies and made sure James had the correct benefits. She helped him organise his bank account and learn how to budget.

“Together, they dealt with all the paperwork, and then we supported him to find a new home.”

James said: “I could rely on the advisor. Every time something was sorted, it was like another block off my back. It was such a relief. If I had not got Wisermoney’s help, I would not be in the place I am now. Now I budget. I’ve got a folder with all my paperwork in, and it’s in a format I can understand. I am a lot more in control. I haven’t got the pressure. I can sleep at night. I can smile now.”

Julie added: “The cost of living makes everything harder for people, but no-one needs to struggle on their own.”

To contact Navigate and Wisermoney or call 01823 299050.