The Office of Fair Trading is supporting UK initiative Debt Awareness Week.

It is an annual campaign run by the UK charity StepChange that aims to put problem debt on the agenda.

The focus for this week’s campaign is ‘Debt can happen to anyone’ which was sparked by the difficulties faced by people because of the cost-of-living crisis.

Throughout March, trained advisers from the Office of Fair Trading’s debt counselling service have been talking to staff from local organisations and companies about the services on offer.

Office of Fair Trading chairman, John Wannenburgh MHK, said: ‘One of the ways we can help is to make sure our debt counselling service is as easy to access as possible.

‘Some people are experiencing problems for the first time and I urge them to take the first step in getting help to address the matter. Anyone experiencing money worries should not hesitate to contact us.’

Debt counsellor, Ruth Martin, said: ‘We have been raising awareness that debt can happen to anyone and for a wide variety of reasons. People often feel worried about opening up about money worries, but we are here to help and our service is free of charge and completely confidential.

She added: ‘We can help you take control of your finances. To make it easier to get in contact with our advisers, we have a freephone number 08081624080 and dedicated email address [email protected]

‘If you can’t come to us at our base in St John’s, then we have confidential spaces available in various locations around the island, as well as offering telephone or consultations on Microsoft Teams. We also have a drop-in clinic in Peel each Wednesday between 9.30am and 11.30am at the Western Wellbeing Centre and meet regularly with other support agencies.’

If you are experiencing debt problems and would like advice or support, contact the debt counselling service.