THOUSANDS of people will receive help to manage their money under a new £2m financial advice scheme.

A programme has been launched to help nearly 2,000 residents avoid debt misery.

The three-year I:DEAS (Inverclyde Delivery Effective Advice and Support) project aims to ‘increase financial capacity’ and improve social inclusion for the most disadvantaged people and households in the district.

Council leader Stephen McCabe, who is also the area’s welfare champion, said: “When people run into money difficulties they often lose the ability to support themselves, becoming financially and socially excluded.

“This has a knock-on effect for the local economy, local landlords, businesses, the court system, council services, the health service and charities.

“This is why we must respond to the challenge not only to protect the most vulnerable in our community but to protect our community as a whole.”

The £2.3m I:DEAS programme is funded jointly by the European Social Fund and Big Lottery Fund Scotland through a financial inclusion programme.

Maureen McGinn, the chair of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “I am delighted that the people of Inverclyde will benefit from this funding, thanks in part to money raised by National Lottery players.

“The I:DEAS service will help people who are facing disadvantage to improve their money management skills and lower their debt burden, which often acts as a barrier to social inclusion.”

The council and Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership are the lead organisations in the scheme.

They will work together with a range of local and national partners including Barnardo’s, CVS Inverclyde, the Financial Fitness team, River Clyde Homes, Scotcash and the Wise Group, together with the local authority’s own community learning and development and Advice First services.

Councillor McCabe added: “We will work together to improve a person’s current situation with their finances and give them the skills to ensure they have the ability and capacity to be able to continue with positive finances through their lives. 

“A big part of the service is to ensure that those who are socially excluded due to debt will no longer be. We will provide family support if required and are looking for volunteers and peer supporters to carry on with the work.”