A TOWN advice service says it is prepared for the annual post-Christmas rush for debt help.
Hartlepool Citizen Advice Service says the first week in January marks the start of one of its busiest periods in the year as people who have overspent during the festive season seek help.
It expects to help more than 40 new clients a week with debt or money related problems in the first three months of the year.
Overspending on Christmas and New Year is one of the main reasons that brings people to the bureau in Park Road, Hartlepool, says manager Joe Michna.
Other reasons include being on a low income, separation or divorce, job losses and taking on too much credit.
Mr Michna said: “We expect to advise and assist local residents with the full range of debt and money related problems.
“These include everything from Tax Credit overpayments, fuel debt, reductions in benefits, credit card debts, Council Tax debt and rent arrears.
“Within a short period of time now that Christmas and New Year is over, we expect to be fully stretched in dealing with the whole range of debt and money problems.
“Whatever the debt or money problem, local residents should contact us to see if we can help.”
The average total debt which people come to the advice bureau with can vary from a couple of thousand pounds to more than £50,000 in some severe cases.
Hartlepool Citizen Advice Bureau holds weekly drop-in sessions on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am to 3pm and no appointment is necessary.