Families in need of support were in the right place when they attended a recent advice fair which put them in touch with vital free services.
Issues around debt, health, crime and children were among those addressed at the event hosted by Balby Carr Community Sports and Science College.
Aimed at raising awareness of local support agencies and reducing the stigma of asking for help, it attracted almost 50 organisations and hundreds of local residents.
Organisers said the event, held twice a year, had been the busiest so far, demonstrating a growing need for wide-ranging advice.
Among the exhibitors was Doncaster West Development Trust (DWDT) which invited people to taste test food products to compare budget and well known brands in a bid to cut the cost of living.
Numerous people sampled the goods and took part in a prize draw to guess the cost of a food hamper as part of the trust’s Money Matters project which supports people across Doncaster to deal with issues ranging from saving and budgeting to benefits and arrears.
DWDT money guide Sharon Smith said the taste-tasting and prize draw had shown that families could stretch their household finances without missing out on everyday items. “People were often surprised to find that they liked the cheaper brands best or couldn’t really tell the difference so saving money has a lot to do with changing habits,” she added.
DWDT was also joined by members of the national Illegal Money-Lending Team with advice on avoiding loan sharks and finding alternatives to high-cost credit.
Scores of people gave feedback on the event with nearly 90 per cent rating it as “valuable or very valuable”. They also gave suggestions for future exhibitors including anti-bullying, road safety and animal welfare advisors.
Jessica Congreve of Balby Carr student services said the fair had ensured that Balby and Doncaster families felt supported and were aware and able to access appropriate services.
She added that several agencies had taken referrals on the day and thanked everyone involved. “Visitors were happy with the range of agencies represented and the breadth of experience and knowledge that professionals showed. It was a very positive day and some great links were forged.”
For more details of DWDT’s free Money Matters service, telephone 01709 866466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org