Debt collector helps CAB
The Braintree, Halstead and Witham Citizens Advice Bureau that has been struggling to secure adequate funding has been assisted by a debt-collection agency.

Braintree businesswoman, Claire Sandbrook, whose firm specialises in commercial debt collection, has stepped in to help plug the CAB’s funding shortfall.

Earlier this year Paul Hart, manager of the CAB in the Braintree district, which offers advice to individuals facing severe debt problems, was looking for funding of £40,000 for their Money Advice Service but was only confident of obtaining £25,000.

The Bureau needs some of that cash to finance another part-time debt advisor post to work in the area.

Now Shergroup, the UK’s largest High Court Enforcement Agency, has decided to help close the gap and give the bureau £12,000.

Mrs Sandbrook, a solicitor and chief executive of Freeport-based Shergroup, said: “According to UK government figures, nationally there is £1.3 trillion of personal debt.”

“Individuals need organisations such as the CAB. Although Shergroup specialises in collecting business debt we know that there are many individuals out there who find themselves in a terrible financial muddle, sometimes through no fault of their own.”

“The CAB offers a vital free service to help them climb out of their financial mess. We are delighted to be able to help them.”

“We are also keen to see the bad practices of some bailiffs stamped out as this reflects badly on those of us who carry out business in a law-abiding way and we know the CAB keeps a record of these.”

Paul Hart, District Manager of the Bureau, said: “I was overjoyed when I received the call from Claire and felt relieved as well.”

He said that the money would enable the Bureau to recruit a second part-time advisor as more and more people were seeking help on debt-related issues.

Last year, the 268 debt-related clients who utilised the Bureau’s services had a collective debt of £4.1 million, many of them with multiple debts, excluding mortgages, and it was not uncommon for individuals to owe £40,000 or more.

Mr Hart said: “Initially, we were surprised that a debt-collection specialist was offering help as we are usually sitting on the opposite side of the fence. But having listened to Claire’s reasons for wanting to support us, we felt that they were genuine.”

“This generous offer of financial support from Shergroup will enable us to continue to provide our much needed Money Advice Service to those in our community that are burdened down by ever increasing debts.”

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