Charity that tackles financial hardship given grant support from South Cambridgeshire District Council

A charity offering debt counselling and financial help to adults, as well as money management lessons to school children, has been supported by the District Council.

Charity that tackles financial hardship

REACH has been given a grant of £2,000 from the Council’s Community Chest fund to help continue its transformational service.

 The grant is in addition to the charity’s Service Support grant funding from the Council of £5,000 a year from 2023-26.

 The charity gives a wide range of help to local people to relieve and prevent poverty, while tackling the causes including:

  • Debt counselling, budgeting, and money management support.
  • Financial assistance with basic costs like emergency gas and electricity.
  • Preventative money management lessons in local schools.
  • Emergency food supplies to individuals and families in crisis.
  • Securing benefits for and on behalf of clients.

One primary aged student said of a recent REACH school educational session: "I learnt how to save money and learnt about needs and wants. Needs are things like food, water and clothes. Wants are things like sweets and games.”

Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Communities for South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues it is vital to support local families in a variety of different ways. We whole heartedly support this charity as it continues its important work around poverty prevention and education.”

A REACH spokesperson said: “Due to rising bills and food costs, requests and referrals for help in South Cambridgeshire continue to rise, in spite of the demographic and apparent wealth in this part of the county. We’re incredible grateful for this generous support from South Cambridgeshire District Council which will ensure we can continue to help people who are suffering, and who may be ashamed, embarrassed, unsure or living a cold, hungry life under the awful burden of debt. We long to see thriving families and individuals living their lives to the full. To this end, we journey with the people we are supporting, for however long it takes, to bring a solution to their current crisis and hardship.”

Prevention and income maximisation are two of the charity’s most important missions. REACH also works to prevent the next generation from falling into debt by tackling the underlying reasons for financial hardship. For example, by providing money management lessons in schools.

Over the next two years, the charity will have reached 2,000 school children in Linton, Halstead, Mildenhall and Haverhill.

Face-to-face help at home is provided for clients for as long as it takes, particularly useful for those facing digital exclusion, or those struggling with mental health problems. REACH work is undertaken on a multi-agency level, maintaining positive relationships with social prescribers in South Cambridgeshire, particularly from the Granta Medical Practice.

Established in 2005 as a debt charity, REACH serves communities in South Cambridgeshire, West Suffolk, and North Essex. Within South Cambridgeshire the parishes supported are Little and Great Abington, Balsham, Horseheath, West Wickham, Linton and Castle Camps. As need grows, this support could expand to include other parishes.

The grant funding to REACH compliments more than £200,000 of Council funding that has been committed to projects to help ease the cost of living from 2023-25. Projects have included a Mobile Food Hub, launched in summer 2023, which goes to seven villages and has amassed more than 1,000 visits. In addition, 500 electric blankets were provided to residents in need to help keep their bills low over winter.

More than £80,000 was given in Community Chest grants by the District Council in 2023 to 54 voluntary and community sector groups, charities, and public sector bodies across South Cambridgeshire to help further improve the quality of life for residents. Community Chest grant funding is available to voluntary and community sector groups, charities and public sector bodies wishing to further improve quality of life in South Cambridgeshire. To find out more visit: Community Chest Grants - South Cambs District Council (

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