Woman sitting outside in city, talking on phone

Multiple long-term conditions

Creating simple, quick and inclusive access to debt advice

Our partnership hopes to transform debt advice and resolution, offering simple and inclusive ways to access support.  

What we’re doing together

Evidence shows that being in serious debt can cause and worsen our mental and physical health. The stress of being in arrears can lead directly to conditions like high blood pressure and poor sleep, both contributing factors to further chronic health problems. Where we work in Lambeth and Southwark, this is even more pervasive among women with long-term conditions from Black and other minoritised communities.

With consumer debt escalating rapidly against a backdrop of growing economic challenges in 2022, research shows that more than 1 in 6 people needing debt advice do not, or cannot, access the vital help that they need.

We want to help build financial resilience, or ‘the ability to cope financially when faced with a sudden fall in income or unavoidable rise in expenditure’ , and improve health.

To test how we can do this, we are working with ethical fintech platform Elifinty alongside specialist debt charity Rooted Finance to help people on low incomes get tailored, compassionate debt advice. Our partnership hopes to transform debt advice and resolution by offering simple and inclusive ways to access support.

How our project will work

The first step in this process is to create a financial resilience hub; an online platform bringing together debt advice charities who are already working in the community. The project will support people in Lambeth and Southwark with advice on debt, money management, the services available to them, as well as follow-up support to help them continue to build financial resilience. People will be able to access this hub online either using the app on their phones, or by visiting an in-person advice centre.

Depending on the complexity of their needs, users of this service will receive support that could include help with budgeting, understanding financial products like loans, negotiating with their creditors, and finding any additional income they could be entitled to.

We hope to remove some of the barriers people face seeking help for their money problems by creating a quicker, more accessible way to receive advice through user friendly technology. We estimate that debt advisors stand to save 30% of their time through automation of the early stages of the user journey, allowing them to focus their time where it matters most.

Aims of the partnership

Our partnership with Elifinty, and their local partners, will enable us to develop a digital financial wellbeing platform that can also be used by local, charitable debt advice providers already in contract with vulnerable communities. In time, the hub’s reach can be extended to include other London boroughs, and eventually be replicated in other regional urban areas.

Technology platforms for money and debt advice are usually aimed at people in need of simple and straightforward advice. Our partnership utilises technology to offer varying ways for those with complex financial needs to access inclusive, compassionate and connected support.

Connection to our strategy

Through our financial health portfolio in the multiple long term conditions programme, we want to understand the ways in which financial support can improve health.  In the context of the sharp rise in household costs, the multiple long-term conditions programme looks to reach those most affected by the crisis.

This project aligns with our ambitions to better support the infrastructure of community organisations. And, to collaborate effectively with creditors, including housing associations and local councils, to develop better debt management practices.

We know that the money and debt advice sector that caters to lower incomes has suffered from chronic underinvestment in technology. Technology that could improve the advice and resolution process. We want to make sure that access to technology is fairer.

By creating a tested model for support, we hope to deliver a replicable structure that can be used to support financial, mental and physical wellbeing across the UK.