Half a million people supported by StepChange in 2021

StepChange Debt Charity guided, advised or supported more than half a million people last year, according to the charity’s impact report for 2021, published today. This included providing full debt advice to over 157,000 people, helping clients to repay more than £402 million of debt, and seeing over 24,000 people becoming free from problem debt with the charity’s support during the course of the year. ​

​As well as continuing to respond to the post-Covid debt landscape, one especially notable feature of 2021 was successfully establishing and embedding access to the new statutory Breathing Space scheme for those eligible clients who wished to use it, ​resulting in positive and encourage results suggesting that those entering the scheme were more likely to complete debt advice and successfully enter a debt solution.

From an operational perspective, StepChange made progress in a number of key areas such as establishing a role as the only provider of fully “omnichannel” debt advice all the way through to solution set up, ​strengthening its network of partners to provide more holistic support, and nearly doubling the number of creditor organisations using the charity’s digital referral and callback service​.

Phil Andrew, CEO of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “No-one can pretend 2021 was an easy year in debt advice, but we are proud of the progress we made in improving our services, and grateful to all the partner organisations who have continued to support us throughout the pandemic and beyond. Looking back at 2021, we can see that the steps we’ve been taking to make it easier for people to engage with debt advice are bringing positive results.  These stand us in good stead this year as we step up further to support those who need help as a result of the emerging pressures arising from high inflation, rising interest rates, and eye-watering energy price rises. Free debt advice is more important than ever.”