Working with a client are (from left) Muriel Morgan and financial mentor Pam Oliver-Hylands.

A free budget service operated by Presbyterian Support is providing valuable advice, support and a group programme for people struggling with debt and other problems.

Financial mentors from Presbyterian Support last year helped over 200 clients them families with young children.

The assistance included advice on debt management, help with applying for entitlements and adjusted budgets when there was a loss of income, often due to unforeseen circumstances.

Team leader Muriel Morgan was appointed last year to oversee the running of the growing budget service and a new group programme called MoneyMates was also introduced.

The programme offers a series of workshops that help participants develop budgeting skills and is being offered once every school term.

Money worries can have a serious impact on people’s lives and the best advice is to get on top of things early, Mrs Morgan said.

The team of financial mentors was there to offer support, whether it was a matter of struggling with debt or other problems.

“Everyone can benefit from learning budgeting tips and skills through one-to-one mentoring or the MoneyMates group programme,” she said.

When the Ashburton Budget Advisory Service went into recess in 2016, it donated funds to Advance Ashburton which now allocates the income from the funds to support ongoing financial mentoring services.

Over the past three years Presbyterian Support has received over $30,000 in grants from Advance Ashburton and a much-needed top-up of funding.

Anyone wishing to speak with a financial mentor or wanting to enrol in a MoneyMates workshop, can contact Presbyterian Support on 800 477 874 or by email

-By Mick Jensen