Since 2014, Gentoo has supported more than 6,500 customers to manage their money through advice, support and signposting via their Money Matters Team.

The team has helped customers to budget more effectively, manage debt and claim more than £2million in unclaimed benefits.

Critically, they have also provided emergency support to families by issuing more than £30,000 worth of crisis funding to provide essentials such as food parcels and gas and electric top-ups.

The team, which is made up of staff who have received specialist training, offer support to some of the most financially vulnerable, by providing benefit checks, energy saving advice and budgeting assistance, as well as signposting to partners for debt advice.

A Money Matters customer said: “When everything just became overbearing, the team helped me enormously.

“Debt can be an embarrassment but the team never made it feel that way, they were brilliant.

“I am now paying my debt off in small instalments so I’m a lot less stressed. It is a wonderful service that Gentoo provide and I would recommend it to anyone who is stressed, worried and depressed as I was about my debt. Many thanks to Gentoo Money Matters Team.”

Michelle Meldrum, Executive Director (Operations) said: “At Gentoo, the wellbeing of our customers is paramount and we are committed to ensuring our customers sustain a tenancy.

“We understand that money worries can have a damaging effect on individuals and families alike and the work carried out by our Money Matters Team can make a huge difference to the quality of people’s lives.

“The service is not just for customers in a desperate financial situation, but for those who have experienced a change in circumstance or want to learn how to budget their money more effectively.

“I’m proud of how many people the team have supported and would encourage anyone who may benefit from this service to contact the team confidentially.”

Since November 2015, the Money Matters Team have been working collaboratively with front-line housing teams to reduce the impact of Universal Credit.

Currently, there are more than 600 Gentoo customers claiming Universal Credit and the team has been offering support to help them manage their money, ensuring they don’t get into debt or financial difficulty.

They have also developed a close working relationship with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to ensure the smooth roll-out of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age who are sick, unemployed and looking for work, or working but on a low income.

From 25 July 2018 it will be rolled out to singles, couples and families making a new claim.

It will replace the following six main working-age benefits: Housing Benefit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

To receive Universal Credit you need to have a bank account and access to the internet. You will also have to think about monthly rather than weekly budgeting.

If you need any assistance with Universal Credit, you can contact the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644 or visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim

If you are a Gentoo customer, you need to let them know if you are making a Universal Credit claim.

They can help you with making a claim, monthly budgeting or if are worried about debt. Call their Money Matters Team on 0300 123 2004 or email moneymatters@gentoogroup.com.

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