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The third Monday in January is known as Blue Monday due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of credit card bills. 

For many in Kent, 20th January – the third Monday in January, known as Blue Monday - will be another day living with the continual worry about financial pressures they are under. On Blue Monday, Kent Community Foundation wants to highlight just some of the organisations across Kent and Medway that those living with debt can turn to.

West Kent Debt Advice is a community-focused charity working to alleviate poverty caused by problem debt and lack of financial capability. Working in collaboration with the charity Crosslight Advice, West Kent Debt Advice services clients in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. The service is completely free and their aim is simple; to help people lift themselves out of their current difficulties and get back on their feet.

The Paddock Wood Community Advice Centre is an independent charity providing free, confidential and impartial advice and support to vulnerable people. Their volunteers are open for appointments and drop-ins five days per week to help with a variety of issues including consumer matters, debt, employment, family, housing, relationship breakdown and welfare benefits. They use specialist welfare rights advisers and personally represent clients who are challenging Department of Work and Pensions decisions at the first-tier tribunal as well as specialist debt caseworkers and an Insolvency Service approved debt relief order intermediary.

Bechange, provides a community hub where residents of the ex-mining village of Aylesham and the surrounding areas in the district of Dover can attend courses and support sessions. They aim to support disadvantaged adults, families and young people to make lasting changes in their lives. They offer support for adults and young people to tackle issues with their money and homes, develop money management skills and access secure housing as well as benefits and entitlements.

One of several community initiatives that Gillingham Baptist Church offers the people of Gillingham debt advice. The debt advice service is delivered in partnership with Christians Against Poverty and offers advice for those struggling with unmanageable debt. They offer their clients advice, someone to talk to and a solution to financial debt and poverty and are supported by a team of debt counsellors.

Citizens Advice in North and West Kent is an independent charity affiliated to national Citizens Advice. They provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to anyone who needs it across five offices in North West Kent, serving a population of 450,000, with eight outreaches in rural, harder to reach communities and a 5-day per week telephone advice service.  Their advice is delivered by trained volunteer Advisers, and they have specialists focusing on high-need and complex issues including debt, benefits, housing and immigration.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said “In Kent nearly one in seven adults (224,000 people) are 'over-indebted.' The team at Kent Community Foundation recognises that debt is a real problem within the county and are dedicated to making a real impact by financially supporting many grassroots debt advice charities, and allowing them to deliver help and advice to those who need it most.

“If you know of a small charity or community group doing sterling work supporting their local area with advice on debt and money management do ask them to contact Kent Community Foundation to find out if they might be eligible for a grant.”

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind