Northumbrian Water and StepChange Debt Charity have launched a new partnership to help support customers who may be facing financial difficulties.
Starting this week, the partnership will help customers access free, confidential debt advice and solutions and starts during National Debt Awareness Week (January 20 – 26).
In teaming up with the UK’s largest debt charity the water supplier recognises that water arrears may be a sign of a wider problem that StepChange Debt Charity will be able to help with.
In making a referral to the charity, Northumbrian Water is committed to understanding the customer’s whole situation and will give time for the customer to work with StepChange to achieve an action plan and debt solution.
Ian Donald, customer services director for Northumbrian Water, said: “We recognise that sometimes life’s ups and downs mean that some customers may find themselves in a challenging financial situation.
“Working with StepChange, we are able to support our customers to access the charity’s expert and impartial free advice.
“Having seen the brilliant work that StepChange does and the incredible life changing difference they make to those they help, we are really proud to be working in partnership with them to support our customers.”
Andrea Cook, chair of the Consumer Council for Water Northern, said: “We welcome the partnership between StepChange Debt Charity and Northumbrian Water. By working with an independent charity that are experts about debt matters, the water company is taking a very positive step forward in supporting customers who may be facing financial difficulties.”
While StepChange Debt Charity has received referrals from other utility providers in the past, Northumbrian Water is the charity’s first true partner in the industry. The water company supports the charity via Fair Share Contribution. Fair Share means the creditor rather than the debtor pays for debt advice, allowing the charity to operate independently of taxpayer support.
Previously known as Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), StepChange has over 20 years’ experience of helping people become debt free. The charity has helped over 2 million people deal with problem debt in that time and offer a range of services and solutions to suit every situation.