A freephone number has been set up for a local debt advice service to help people who are feeling the strain of rising living costs.

The Salvation Army Debt Advice Service has received a marked increase in calls as individuals and families struggle to cover their outgoings following the hike in energy costs and a rise in interest rates.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant church and charity.

Its freephone number will allow local people to call without worrying about the cost of the call or the need for credit on their phones.

Debbie White, coordinator of the Debt Advice Service, said that for many people who were already in debt, the recent developments have compounded an already precarious financial situation.

She said: ‘We are very busy with appointments right now and we were already at an all-time high whilst helping people through the pandemic.

‘It’s so important not to have any barriers that prevent people getting in touch when they find themselves in a debt situation. For many of our clients, phone calls and mobile credit are the things that go by the wayside when they are in a tight spot so the freephone number from Manx Telecom means that they can still reach out and get in touch.’

The Debt Advice Service is offered free of charge by The Salvation Army as part of its outreach work in the community.

The team of trained volunteers can assist by negotiating new payment plans with creditors and helping people to consolidate their debts into more manageable sums, according to the church.

Ms White added: ‘We are open to everyone and non-judgemental in our work.

‘We offer a very holistic service as frequently debt can be the result of another problem in someone’s life. 0

‘Also, we see that many of our newer clients are suffering more from a budgeting problem than a debt problem.

‘These clients are worried about not being able to afford paying bills in the future so we can help them look at their household expenses and see if any savings can be made.’

Manx Telecom, the telecommunications provider, gave the debt service the freephone number.

Chief executive Gary Lamb said: ‘I know many individuals and families on the Isle of Man are feeling the strain and becoming increasingly worried about their ability to manage their debts.

‘The Salvation Army is doing a great job by providing the Debt Advice Service and helping people to navigate their way in very stressful situations.

‘Manx Telecom is pleased to be able to support the service and those using it by providing the freephone number allowing clients to call free of charge.’

The Debt Advice Service offers free confidential and impartial advice to residents experiencing debt problems on the Isle of Man.

If you are in need of help, call the freephone number on 0808 1624606.