Focus on: Adelle Venn

Debt Advisor Adelle, in the office

Some people don’t know that at Grand Union, we offer a Debt Advice service for those in need of financial support.

Our Debt Advisor Adelle Venn has been at Grand Union for more than three years and in that time has helped many customers who have found themselves in difficulty with their finances.

Now, with the high level of inflation across the UK, Adelle is keen to remind people she’s here to offer advice and support in this challenging time.

Adelle said “With prices going up, people will have less money to play with and some people who were once comfortable with their finances, may struggling to keep on top of their outgoings.

“The best advice I can give is to arm yourself with knowledge and be clear on what you might be entitled to. If this seems like a minefield, know that Grand Union is here to help.

“For example, there are schemes coming into place to help many of our customers, such as energy companies providing a £200 rebate and an annual warm home discount of £150 for people on low income or benefits. If you’re not sure what you’re entitled to, we can help you find out.”

Adelle is well-equipped to support our customers with their finances, having a breadth of experience not only in housing but in other sectors too.

“While I never had a particular ‘dream job’ growing up, I knew that I wanted to work in a position where I could help make peoples’ lives better. After studying sociology at university, I worked alongside those with special needs, before gaining experience at a national money advice service, aimed at individuals who had recently left prison.

“My role led to me giving talks about rehabilitating offenders, helping them with their finances to ease their adjustment back into society. I shared tips on budgeting skills, claiming benefits, finding employment and engaging in social activities.

“In August 2018, I embraced a new opportunity and began working as a Debt Advisor with Grand Union.”

Adelle is one of an eight-strong team of individuals working in Financial Wellbeing at Grand Union. The team helps our customers with welfare benefits and debt advice, which is free and confidential.

“The level of support I get from my Grand Union colleagues is immense and nothing is ever too much to ask.

“For each case, I don’t just liaise with the Financial Wellbeing team, but with teams across the organisation. Individuals often have varied needs and several contributing factors which have led them to struggle with their finances. This is why it’s crucial to work cross-functionally to resolve a person’s situation.

“Money worries often lead to mental health problems, troubles with relationships and can limit someone’s social life. With such a varied impact on wellbeing, we have lots of professionals able to help address different aspects of each customer.”

On a daily basis, she meets with customers to understand more about what impacted their finances. This helps her create a tailored support package based on their own circumstances.

“I speak to creditors, acting as the bridge between the customer and them. I act as a voice for our customers, who maybe unsure of what to do. They give us consent to act on their behalf to help resolve their predicament.”

Recently, Adelle helped a customer living with severe mental health issues access the financial support she so desperately needed, helping her take the first steps she needed to turn her life around.

“When someone fails to make their rent payments, it’s important to explore why this might be happening. A customer I recently worked with had just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Due to her illness, when she experienced manic episodes, she would spend lots of money and apply for loans which she was unable to afford.

“I contacted the creditors and prepared a debt and mental health evidence form and was able to wipe clean the £7,000 she had amassed in debt. It was clear that she should not have been lent money while she was so unwell.

“I also liaised with a credit reporting company to have her diagnosis put on file, meaning lenders have to ask certain questions before accepting a loan request, to ensure she is in a healthy mind. The customer is now doing much better and staying on top of her financial commitments.”

This is just one example of the many customers Adelle has supported. She’s eager to ensure that those going through financial hardship get the support they need and benefits they’re entitled to.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the happiness people experience as a result of being financially stable. They have a new sense of freedom, with money to spend on themselves, while also meeting their financial commitments.

“By moving monetary barriers out of the way, people feel better in themselves and are able to make positive financial decisions.”