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Debt Free South West expands access to service in response to Covid-19

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Drew Huskisson

In response to the unfolding crisis around personal finances, from 22 March, Debt Free South West are expanding the way people can access their debt advice service to make it easier to get support during and after the pandemic.

A growing number of people in the South West facing problem debt and financial insecurity due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic now have more ways to access support from Debt Free South West. In partnership with Ciptex who use Twilio technology, Debt Free South West can provide clients with access to advice through a channel of their choice, including: 

  • WhatsApp message on 0800 138 3422 

  • Text Message on 07445 124 284 

  • Starting a live web chat online at 

  • Calling 0800 138 3422 

Debt Free South West’s expansion of ways to access the service supports research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which was founded by Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis.  The Institute found people experiencing mental health problems are three and a half times more likely to be in problem debt and common symptoms of mental health problems can make engaging with debt advice a challenge, including problems communicating or concentrating making it harder to navigate certain channels. The recommendations include offering multiple channels for clients to choose how to access debt advice.  

The expansion of access from Debt Free South West will allow for members of society to have more ways to access debt advice. 

The secure video service, the newest feature, allows advisers to return to a face-to-face service during the pandemic, providing communication on a personal level that may have been missing through phone calls and messages. The video chat is both mobile and web enabled through a one button click and does not require an app and an adviser can easily upgrade a client to video during their other methods of communications.  

The expansion of services to also include Webchat, WhatsApp and Text Message advice allows for advice to be received in a bitesize way as well as updating existing clients quickly and in an inclusive way. 

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With a limit on the in-person service able to be offered during the pandemic, we are pleased to be working with Ciptex to offer a wider selection of ways to access our service which will help clients during the pandemic and beyond. Nearly half of our clients who are in problem debt also have a mental health problem so debt advice must be accessible.

The offer of advice through more channels allows for the client to be the one who decides how they want to receive their advice. This is just the start of improving our offer to clients over the next few months as we try to build back better in the face of the aftereffects of the pandemic.

Drew Huskisson: Debt Free South West Project Manager

Our collaboration with Debt Free South West and other debt advice providers is an opportunity to use technology to deliver a benefit to some of the most vulnerable in society. I hope that the ability to easily access advice over a variety of channels enables more people to benefit from the advice and assistance Debt Free South West can provide.

Steve Walker: Ciptex Ltd Managing Director

Flexing its offering from what was previously a largely face to face service to one which now provides secure video advice sessions, WhatsApp, text, live web chat and helpline options, will ensure that more people in the South West can get the advice they need during the current challenging climate.

All of these excellent initiatives supports MaPS UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing goal to get 2 million more people receiving debt advice by 2030.

Caroline Siarkiewicz: Money and Pensions Service Chief Executive Officer