Stephan Wiedmer: Finances not adding up? Workshops with practical advice for those struggling

crossadA guest post by Stephan Wiedmer, the Hammersmith Branch Manager for Crosslight Advice

Hammersmith & Fulham is a wonderful place to call home, but life in London comes with a high price tag and many of us  find our budget just doesn’t add up at the end of the month. Over a quarter of  households in the borough live on less than £20,000 a year and almost a third of people rely on housing benefits.  As a local charity, Crosslight Advice supports people who are struggling to pay essential bills such as rent, council tax and utility bills. Our aim is to help people manage their money better, no matter how much or little someone has.

We have created  Money Course Essentials, which is a short, friendly workshop packed with useful advice to help anyone to manage their money better. We hope to reach as many people as possible in the borough, especially those transferred to the new benefit system Universal Credit. This is paid monthly not weekly, and new claimants have to wait up to seven weeks or more to be paid. Another big change is that in most cases the housing element (former housing benefits) gets paid to the claimant and no longer to the landlord. This means budgeting and managing finances becomes an even more important skill. The Money Course Essentials workshop covers topics such as building your own budget, saving money and ways to manage your bills and day-to-day spending, making sure you have money put aside each month to cover essential bills.

We run two workshops a month in the St Paul’s Centre by Hammersmith Broadway. They are small and informal, with plenty of opportunity to share questions and suggestions, get support and advice. So far, everyone who’s been on one has said they would recommend the course to a friend – you can’t say better than that.

Here’s what a few people said:

“I was at rock bottom and now I have light in my life”

“I feel like a weight has been lifted. I can’t wait to get started [on building a budget]”

“I like that anything I was not sure of was explained in way that I can understand. I feel unburdened and more relaxed.”

> To book your free place here or call 020 7052 0318.

Crosslight also offers free face-to-face debt advice, education, practical assistance and ongoing support.  Our focus is on empowering clients to take back control of their finances permanently, not just helping them out of a short term crisis, and we work with clients for as long as it takes to get them back on their feet and work independently.

We are always looking for more people willing to join our committed group of 25 volunteers to help people in our neighbourhood. Please contact us if you are interested in  volunteering  –  call 020 7052 0318 or email


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