Financial and debt advice is to be offered at food banks around the country as part of a scheme to help people identify the problems that led to them relying on food banks in the first place.
The Trussell Trust now runs 400 food banks across the UK and says it will be developing the scheme so that people in need can access a range of support in one location.
A pilot run in six locations was funded by Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com.
It is thought that financial education will enable people to manage their money more effectively and not have to rely on payday loans to make ends meet.
Research from the Trussell Trust has shown that 1 in 10 families had taken out a payday loan last year.
The charity has seen referrals rise with the increasing cost of food and stagnated wages. 900,000 people have been helped in 2013 and 2014 so far by the charity who provide three days worth of emergency food.
Volunteers at the Trussell Trust’s food banks already offer information about support services, including local debt charities. Adrian Curtis, network director of that charity said that people don’t always go on to get the help they need. He said a scheme in Tower Hamlets which brought welfare advice into food banks had proved successful.
The new scheme means that advisers from local or national debt charities will be based in food banks for up to 20 hours per week and will be available to give instant help and advice.
The Trussell Trust’s Chief Executive David McAuley, said: “By introducing a ‘financial triage’ service in food banks, where clients are able to connect with free financial and debt advice, people will be given professional help to manage tight finances, avoid payday lenders and structure debt to prevent the situation from getting worse and to help people break out of crisis much faster.”
Martin Lewis said: “The hope is that this scheme will provide a financial equivalent of ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
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