Our charity has partnered with Bath City Football Club and Wessex Water to provide a satellite service for residents of Twerton and Whiteway at Bath City Foootball Club every Thursday, starting on the 13th of February from 9.30am – 2.30pm.
The importance of this service is highlighted by the interest it has generated from media channels such as BBC PointsWest, The Bath Chronicle, Bath Life Magazine, The Bath Gazzette and Bath Echo who have all covered the story.
Why the need for a debt management advice service?
In 2019, Twerton and Whiteway were listed as two of the most deprived areas in the UK. Their location on the outskirts of Bath, far from charitable support services like ours makes this deprivation harder for us to address. So now, we’re taking our service to resident in an effort to alleviate the financial challenges that some residents are facing.
Statistical data on inequality that support the need for this service:
- 2019 Indices of Deprivation
- 2015 Indices of Multiple Deprivation
- 2010 Indices of Multiple Deprivation
What happened at our launch event?
Our launch event to help promote the service took place at the community-owned football club and it was attended by Ken Loach, Director of the recently released movie about precarious work, Sorry We Missed You, and our ambassador, the TV personality, Dr. Phil Hammond. Also in attendance were Dine Romero, head of the Bath and North East Somerset Council, along with other councilors, the Deputy Mayor (Cllr Manda Rigby) and representatives of a number of local organisations.
Following speeches, interviews with the BBC and some snacks, generously provided by the Mint Room, we were treated to an outstanding game of football, where Bath City’s Romans defeated Hemel Hempstead 2 – 0.
What did our guests have to say?
Ken Loach, Dr. Phil Hammond, our CEO, Les Redwood and representatives from the organisations that we’re partnering with on this project said a few words about the new service.
Ken Loach stated that “38% of the kids in this area are in poverty… more than one in three” and went on to outline how, despite reductions in funding and the escalating demands for assistance, caused by austerity, our charity is coming to the aid of residents of these areas.
We were delighted that our ambassador, healthcare champion and TV personality, Dr. Phil Hammond was also able to attend. He spoke about the immense equality and life expectancy gap between Twerton and Whiteway and the rest of Bath, how financial problems and medical issues are often intertwined and how important it was that our debt advice service was coming to this area to assist people.
Dr. Hammond said “This is really, really important. I see it almost as an extension of the NHS and the welfare state, which is helping people who need it most at the time that they need it most.”
It was great to have a number of councilors attending the launch event to show their support.
Head of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Cllr Dine Romero had this to say “I felt like Bath won on multiple fronts today, on the field and in addressing the challenges that Twerton and Whiteway are facing.”
On Twitter, Cllr Dine Romero declared that this was a “Brilliant initiative”.
Our CEO, Les Redwood has said: “The effects of 10 years of austerity on communities and charities like ours are really laid bare by the dire circumstances of some of the residents of Twerton and Whiteway. That’s why collaborations such as this one are vital for the future provision of support to some of the most disadvantaged people in our society and it’s great that our partners are helping us to help others.”
General Manager of Bath City Football Club, Carole Banwell said: “The inequalities between Twerton and Whiteway and parts of the rest of Bath are alarmingly wide. So Bath City Football Club is really happy to be able to help with this project and hopes it will provide a real lifeline to local residents. As a community-owned club, we’re emotionally and financially invested in making Twerton and Whiteway a better place for residents and in the end, that’s good for Bath.”
Director of Customer Policy and Engagement at Wessex Water, Sue Lindsay said: “We strive to offer help for customers who struggle to pay their water bills, but we know that those living in deprived areas without any local support initiatives, like Twerton and Whiteway, can be hard to reach and may be missing out on these vital services. We’re delighted to be a part of this satellite advice service and hope to be able to help our financially disadvantaged customers in these areas get back on track.”
The service will be every Thursday from 9.30am – 2.30pm starting 13th February 2020.