Debt of gratitude to service

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A SPECIALIST debt advice service for people with mental health problems has received national recognition.

Durham County Council’s welfare rights service will battle it out for a top honour at the Institute of Money Advisors (IMA) Performance Awards 2011.

It has been shortlisted in the Best Partnership Award category for its debt advice project.

Launched in October, the initiative aims to limit the impact of debt on people with mental health problems, by providing advice and support.

Councillor Morris Nicholls, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, said: “The value of our debt advice project has been proven in case after case.

“Its success is very much due to the efforts of staff within the welfare rights team and their commitment to ensuring a close working relationship with colleagues in the health service.”

The debt advice project has two advisors who provide information and advice to individuals and groups.

Funded for one-year through the County Durham Health and Wellbeing Partnership, the scheme is ends in September.

However, efforts are under way to ensure work to help people with mental health problems deal with debt continues long-term.