A MOTHER-of-three, who set up a debt support group three years ago, has achieved one of her major goals – charity status.

Ann Fryer, who founded the St Neots-based Life After Debt, Life Amidst Debt (LAD) group, received confirmation from the Charity Commission on Friday that the group was now officially a charity.

It is just another step closer to Mrs Fryer, 51, realising her dream of providing a comprehensive debt support agency for the people of the town.

The senior accounts administrator from Eaton Socon told The Hunts Post: “It’s just fantastic.

“There is a big debt problem in St Neots, and at the end of the day my main aim is to offer a self-help group with emotional support for people who are facing debt.

“The group benefits from all the experience of our volunteers and we want to get the message out there that people are never alone and there’s always someone to talk to confidentially.”

The Hunts Post reported last November how the group still needed to raise £3,000 of the £5,000 required to apply for charitable status.

With the help of local businesses Luminus, Muir Housing and the Co-op, plus some vigorous fundraising, LAD submitted the application two months ago.

Mrs Fryer says the newly-acquired status will enable the group to help more people.

“This will enable us to reach more people – we can print more literature which will signpost people to ways of coping with debt.”

The charity’s next goal is to secure permanent premises in St Neots where people can drop in during the day – the group currently meets at Eynesbury Methodist Church on Wednesdays between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

St Neots’ Mayor, Barry Chapman, said: “Groups like LAD play an increasingly important role and we will help and assist them as far as possible.

“With the introduction of the new universal benefit and other welfare reforms the council needs to raise its game in helping people who find themselves in desperate straits.”

INFORMATION: For details on LAD, or becoming a volunteer, e-mail annfryer.lad@googlemail.com, info@life-after-debt.org or visit www.life-after-debt.org

Enquiries can also be made by calling 07504 382919 or 01480 830628.