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50% of North West adults struggle to pay energy bills

48% of all adults in the North West are finding it difficult to afford their energy bills, while 32% are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, according to new Government figures. The figures also show 5% is behind with their energy bills and a similar number is behind on rent or mortgage payments.

Now a leading North West debt expert is urging people facing mounting debt problems to take advice at an early stage. Allan Cadman, North West chair of the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, says:- "The rising cost of living is taking its toll on household finances, as these figures show, and the North West is amongst the Regions worst affected. The North West is second only to London in terms of the number struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, and on a par with the capital in terms of the number behind with their payments. This could be due to the rise in house prices and rents in the Region in recent years, in particular in Cities such as Manchester. The Region is also amongst the worst affected in terms of people struggling with energy bills. In general Northern Regions fare worse than the South - probably because they are not only less affluent but they are also colder so bills are higher."

Allan, who is also an insolvency practitioner with Poppleton and Appleby, says debt problems are on the increase. "The past couple of years have been extremely tough for many people and household budgets are significantly more stretched than a year ago. The rise in the cost of living is showing no sign of slowing down, real wages have fallen, and more and more people are being forced to borrow to pay their bills. We urge anyone falling behind or struggling with debt problems to seek help from a qualified insolvency practitioner as soon as possible. While it is difficult to take that 1st step and talk to someone about your finances, discussing your concerns at an early stage means you'll have more time and more options to resolve the situation."

Beaver Scout aged 8 raises hundreds of pounds for Cancer Research UK in epic swim

A determined Southport youngster has raised hundreds of pounds for Cancer Research UK by swimming 1,000 metres. Austin completed the challenge after his stepdad was diagnosed with cancer. Austin Price, a Beaver at 58th Southport Scouts, completed his challenge during his half term holidays. The amazing 8 year old, originally hoped to raise £200 for the charity, but has now raised nearly £900.  If you would like to sponsor Austin, please visit his page; Austin's Cancer Research Swim on the JustGiving website.

Laura Healy, the Beaver Scout Leader at the 58th Southport Scouts, said:- "Austin is a young Beaver who has been working towards his Personal Challenge Badge to complete his Chief Scout Bronze Award. He set himself the challenge to swim 1,000 metres to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. He found the swimming hard and nearly gave up but he persevered and kept going. He is such a kind, caring and resilient young man. We are all immensely proud of him. I would love to see people share his story and his funding link."

His JustGiving page said:- "Austin chose to swim 1,000m during half term to challenge himself physically and raise money for Cancer Research UK. His stepdad John has recently been going through some treatment for cancer so Austin wants to raise money to help others in the future who face a similar challenge."

Laura said:- "Austin started Beavers with us 2 years ago during lockdown. He is always keeping his promise to do his best and be kind and helpful to others. He is doing this as his family has recently been affected by cancer. He is incredibly brave. Myself and all the other leaders in our group are so proud of him. We will be very sad when he leaves the Beavers in a few weeks to continue his Scouting journey in Cubs."

If anyone is interested in supporting local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in Southport, they are invited to get in touch.  Laura said:- "We are looking for adult volunteers all over the Sefton North Scout District. Anyone wanting to volunteer now online. Volunteering with the Scouts does not have to be a regular weekly thing. Volunteers can do this as little or as much as they want. It is so much fun and we as adults get the chance to learn news skills, make news friends and have fun just the same if not more than the young people."


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