Somerset

Filmmaker Ken Loach at launch of Bath debt advice hub

Bath City FC
Image caption The advice service will be based at Bath City FC

Filmmaker Ken Loach has described Bath as a city of "two halves" during the launch of a debt advice service.

The weekly service aims to help people in Twerton and Whiteway, the two most deprived areas of the city.

Loach said: "People in this area are suffering massively with problems like debt - 38% of the kids here are in poverty. That tells you something about this city of two halves."

The debt advice hub will be held every week at Bath City Football Club.

"Poverty means that you borrow to feed your kids, or to pay for the essentials, then debt's a spiral and to get counselling to get out of that is really important.

"The real answer is stop putting these bureaucratic hurdles in front of people, give people decent jobs and then there won't be debt," added Loach.

The service has been set up by Bath City Football Club, Wessex Water and Bath & North East Somerset (Banes) charity Citizens Advice.

Image caption Ken Loach says counselling can help people out of debt

Banes Citizens Advice CEO Les Redwood said: "The effects of 10 years of austerity on communities and charities like ours are really laid bare by the dire circumstances of some of the residents of Twerton and Whiteway.

"That's why collaborations such as this one are vital for the future provision of support to some of the most disadvantaged people in our society and it's great that our partners are helping us to help others."

The general manager of Bath City FC, Carole Banwell, said: "The inequalities between Twerton and Whiteway and parts of the rest of Bath are alarmingly wide.

"So Bath City Football Club is really happy to be able to help with this project and hopes it will provide a real lifeline to local residents."

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