A drive by Swindon Borough Council to help residents with money worries by giving them more understanding and control of their finances has been boosted by the appointment of the former manager of the Swindon Foodbank, Andrew Hill, as the council’s Social Inclusion and Welfare Manager (pictured above, before he departed Foodbank).
Poverty and money worries can adversely affect people’s wellbeing and health, increase the likelihood of their social exclusion, and lead them to become vulnerable to exploitation from loan sharks and doorstep and pay day lenders.
Andrew has been charged with the task of improving access for residents to information, advice and support, to help them better understand and manage their own finances.
This will be achieved over the next two years by helping residents to more easily claim their full benefit entitlements, manage their debts, train for and obtain a job, and increase their skills in managing money. There will also be increased promotion across the Borough of affordable credit options, such as credit unions.
Andrew, who is married with two grown-up children and has lived in Swindon for 27 years, said: “Many people living with poverty cope amazingly well and can be experts at managing limited finances, but it doesn’t take much for anyone on a very tight budget to fall into real difficulty.
“Financial exclusion can make it very hard for people to plan for the future, or cope with crises, and it puts a severe strain on families. Worse still, people can end up paying more than they should for everyday goods and services.
“By helping people understand and manage their finances better, they can take control of things they previously felt unable to affect. The difference that can make to how positively they view life can be huge.”
Prior to his appointment with the council, Andrew ran the successful Swindon Food Bank, improving its efficiency and expanding its reach across the Borough.
Cllr Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance said: “I am delighted that Andrew has accepted this new role. While Swindon is a prosperous town we know that there are many people who are facing difficulties and we want to do everything we can to work together with individuals and groups across the town to help people in need.”