Phil Soden, Money Matters caseworker with Karbon customer Marge Bolton in the garden of her home in Morpeth
All the skilled benefits and money advisers at Karbon Homes together generated additional income of £5.3m for Karbon customers in the last 12 months.
That represents the team’s best ever performance, up from just over £5m in 2017/18 – and they’ve also helped more individuals than ever before.
In total, the team provided advice to 5,607 individual clients, up from 3,917 in 2017/18.
Since Karbon was formed in April 2017, the company has expanded its ‘Money Matters’ team to ensure it has the staffing and training it needs to support Karbon customers, to maximise their incomes – and lay the foundations for leading successful lives.
With the introduction of Universal Credit, and the ongoing impact of a raft of reforms to the benefits system, there has never been so much demand for the team’s services.
Lee Forrest, manager of the Money Matters team, said: “I’m very proud of the work the team has done over the last 12 months – continuing the progress we’ve made over several years.
“It’s not always widely known that a landlord like Karbon provides this type of service - and how it fits with our other services.
“But we see it as a crucial element in what we can offer our residents. Often the type of advice we provide can be the difference between someone’s finances staying afloat, and going into crisis.”
One grateful recipient of the type of work our colleagues in Money Matters can do is Marge Bolton, 76, a resident in Stobhill, Morpeth.
Marge was very glad to be able to call on the reassuring advice and counsel of adviser Phil Soden.
She said: “I received a letter from my employer about restructuring, and I went into a bit of a blind panic. I rang my housing officer, and she said she would get someone from Money Matters to ring me.
“When he rang, he was so nice, and we had a long chat.
“If you need to speak to someone for help, Phil has that nice, calming voice, and regardless of what your circumstances are, he puts you at ease.
“Lots of people don’t realise the help Karbon Homes can give you. For instance, as well as talking about financial matters, Phil could also tell me about asking for adaptations to my home, should I need them in the future.
“I’d recommend anybody to get in touch with Phil or one of his colleagues, if they have concerns about their finances.”
Karen Morris, Assistant Director of Customer and Community Engagement at Karbon, said she was proud of the work the Money Matters advisers had done to help those in financial difficulties.
She said: “We are an organisation focused on building strong foundations for our residents, to enable them to lead successful lives.
“Sometimes everyone needs a bit of advice to find the best way forward, and that is never more true than with your household finances, which can be complex to understand.
“We want all our customers to be secure in their tenancies – and we know that having a safe, secure home is the surest way for us all to succeed in life.
“Well done to all our advisers for their hard work, and we look forward to seeing their work benefit more of our residents’ lives in the months and years ahead.”