A new online resource has been launched to help residents. Monmouthshire County Council has partnered with organisations including Citizens Advice, Mind Monmouthshire, Gateway Credit Union, Monmouthshire’s four foodbanks and housing associations Melin, Pobl and Monmouthshire Housing Association to offer a helpful guide on its website for those who are facing money worries.

‘Help with your Money’, which can be accessed at monmouthshire.gov.uk/money-advice, offers an overview of the organisations who are ready to give advice and support, as well suggesting what additional assistance may be available. From information about housing (whether you have a mortgage or are renting), to managing your utility bills, or seeking emotional support when things are getting too much to handle, there are a wealth of options out there.

The past seven months have seen many people deeply affected by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with jobs being lost, employees being furloughed and businesses struggling to recover from the loss of revenue during and beyond lockdown. Even before these challenges, it was acknowledged that most people could be three pay cheques away from financial troubles – mortgages, rents, bills for essential services can reach crisis point very quickly when your income stops. But there is help available and the sooner it’s sought the better. Struggling with concerns about increasing debt or losing your home can lead to mental health issues, so before things get out of hand it’s worth exploring what support is out there, even if you never need to access it.

Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development, Councillor Sara Jones said: “I know that confronting debt, and the possible consequences of being in financial difficulty, is not always easy. Coming forward and asking for help is not an admission of failure, it is a positive move forward. Any one of us could find ourselves in this situation all too easily but, I must stress, that help is out there. Nobody should feel alone in this situation, there are people on hand to assist.

“If your income is at risk of stopping or becoming significantly reduced, even if you have the slightest of concern, please take the time to look at what support is available. Don’t wait until matters have reached crisis point, when you are feeling at your most stressed and worried, seeking advice now does not mean you have to take it, but it does mean that you are prepared, just in case.”

‘Help with Your Money’ is about much more than money, it covers training and employability assistance, contacts for Monmouthshire’s housing associations, where to learn more about food banks, budgeting for Christmas, and COVID helping groups, set up to bring people together who have been socially isolated as a result of the pandemic.

Visit the website at Monmouthshire.gov.uk/money-advice to explore the support available from the many partner organisations involved or visit one of the Community Hubs for face-to-face support and advice. Hubs are located in Monmouth, Abergavenny, Caldicot, Usk, Chepstow and Gilwern. For more information visit https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/community-hubs-libraries/ or call the council’s Contact Centre on 01633 644644.