The perseverance and passion of every single individual across the Debt Free Advice coalition has meant that we were able to provide high-quality advice to around 18,000 people throughout the year where they were £22,679,322 financially better off.
2022-23 was a year of unprecedented financial hardship for many people. As the world emerged from the pandemic, we were hopeful for a return to normality. However, we were soon faced with a new challenge: the cost-of-living crisis.
The price of food and other essentials skyrocketed, putting a strain on household budgets. Alongside this, we've seen a startling 47.4% increase in clients with gas arrears and a 44.4% increase in those with electricity arrears compared to last January. Energy bills reached record levels, leaving many struggling to make ends meet, with 1 in 5 clients we support now on pre-payment metres, adding further financial strain to their situation.
Demand for debt support soared, with a dramatic 49% increase of inbound calls to Debt Free Advice compared to the previous year.
Many customers reported that they had been living pay check to pay check, but that the recent price increases had made it impossible for them to keep up. Around 12% of our customers cited the cost-of-living increase as the main reason for their problem debt, while the number of customers needing access to a food bank has more than doubled since last year, demonstrating the urgent need for support.
The financial problems faced by our customers are becoming increasingly complex which makes the work of our advisors even more challenging. And we know they are not immune to the financial pressures that are being felt by millions of people across the UK.
But the perseverance and passion of every single individual across our coalition has meant that we were able to provide high-quality advice to around 18,000 people throughout the year where they were £22,679,322 financially better off. Our customers have expressed overwhelming satisfaction with our service, rewarding our relentless commitment with an exceptional rating of 4.8 stars out of a maximum 5 on Trustpilot. This achievement, which we take great pride in, reflects the trust and confidence they place in Debt Free Advice, further motivating us to continue making a profound impact.
It is profoundly inspiring to witness the unyielding care, dedication, and commitment exhibited by every member of the Debt Free Advice team, along with our partners and funders. Your tireless efforts to navigate complex debt situations have made a tangible difference in the lives of countless individuals. My heartfelt thanks go to each one of you for your extraordinary contributions. The collaboration between our staff, partners, and those who financially support our mission defines who we are as a coalition. Thank you all for everything that you do.