MORE than 30 Stratford businesses sought debt help last year and many more could be struggling in silence – a charity has warned.
The Money Advice Trust this week called for urgent action after revealing a total of 34 small business from the district called its debt helplines in 2014.
More than 500 residents across all four towns called the helpline from the start of 2013 to the end of the following year.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, told the Observer she feared many more had not come forward.
“Whoever is elected as MP needs to put promoting free debt advice in the area near the top of their to-do list,” she said.
“While National Debtline has given hundreds of advice sessions to people in the last two years, we know that potentially thousands more are suffering in silence.
“Our message to anyone who is struggling to cope with problem debt is simple – seek free advice from a debt charity such as National Debtline as soon as possible. The earlier you seek advice, the quicker and easier the problem will be to solve.”
Nationally, less than a fifth of people seek advice despite having unmanageable debt.
Angela Tellyn, of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, encouraged businesses to come forward and get help as soon as possible if they faced difficulties.
She said: “With the economy growing and conditions improving, it’s important that those firms that have hit difficulties are not forgotten.
“Our advice to any business which is facing difficulties around debt is to ensure they do not face the problem on their own.
“They should speak to their local Chamber of Commerce and, also, a local professional business recovery company.
“Just as with individual debt, the sooner you talk about the problem the better the chances of managing the situation. Companies should know that there is help out there if they face difficulties with debt.”
Call 0808 808 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.org for free advice.
* FREE information, support and advice will be offered to businesses throughout the district at a special event next week.
As part of its ‘Open for Business’ initiative, Stratford District Council has teamed up with Warwickshire County Council and other partners to give existing and new businesses the chance to find out more about a host of issues.
Experts at the Business Matters Roadshow will be on hand to talk about subjects such as access to finance, funding and grants, exporting, skills and training, apprenticeship opportunities, business growth and networking opportunities among others.
The event will take place at Minerva Mill in Alcester on Tuesday (April 21) from 5pm to 7.30pm.
Email Nancy Singleton on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01789 260803 for further information.
Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/business-matters-at-minerva-mill-tickets-14873421805 to register.