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We caught up with Clare Charleson from the Agnes Smith Centre in Oxford to find out how these organisations can help you.
‘We won’t judge you. We’re here to help you with your debts before they spiral out of control’ says Clare.
The Agnes Smith Centre can give you advice on benefits, debt, housing, employment, and consumer issues. But their approach is tailored to each individual.
Claire points out: ‘Everybody is different with different circumstances, and situations change all the time. So the advice we give will always be dependent on your personal circumstances at the time.’
But one piece of advice that they do tell everyone is to ‘pay your priority debts first’. This includes your rent or mortgage, council tax, TV licence and utility bills. Only after you’ve tackled these debts, should you try to clear the others.
The role of agencies like the Agnes Smith Centre is to support you and not tell you what to do. Clare says: ‘We’re here to guide you and let you know your options. Ultimately you have to decide what’s best for you and your family’.
When asked what the best thing is about the Agnes Smith Centre, Clare says it’s the fact that they’re completely independent. ‘Anything you tell us is completely confidential and we’ll never tell a third party. That’s our promise to you’ she says.