A MOTHER-of-three who set up a debt support group two years ago is looking to increase the number of ­people she can help by ­getting ­charitable status.

A MOTHER-of-three who set up a debt support group two years ago is looking to increase the number of ­people she can help by ­getting ­charitable status.

Ann Fryer, 50, of Queens Gardens, Eaton Socon, formed the Life After Debt, Life Amidst Debt (LAD) support group in 2009 after being crippled by debt herself.

She wants to gain charitable status to secure greater funding and to spread her work to other areas of Huntingdonshire and to people who find themselves in financial hardship.

Mrs Fryer said: "I was facing repossession of my home in 2008 and then met another woman in the same position. After talking to others we realised there were so many people in the same boat but with no support.

"We formed the group in 2009 and it now consists of 12 volunteers, all of whom have skills in training, counselling and debt management. But in order to help more people we need more funding, which is why we're seeking charitable status."

A 47-year-old woman from Sawtry, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Hunts Post how LAD helped her to cope.

After being left owing thousands of pounds following a relationship split, she sought help from LAD and is now a volunteer.

She said: "I owed over £50,000 to five creditors, which meant I needed to pay about £1,200 a month just to meet my lending obligations.

"Despite coping with a family on my own, I had a part-time job. My income plus child support and tax credits gave me £1,600, while my mortgage cost me £900 a month.

"I read about Life After Debt, Life Amidst Debt in The Hunts Post and spoke to Ann about my problems. LAD not only helped me deal with creditors, open the letters I dreaded opening and drew up a monthly budget, they gave me the emotional support I couldn't get from anywhere else at such a traumatic time.

"By making allowances for bills charged quarterly or annually, I found that I did have enough money for me and the children to live on. I was able to repay my creditors via an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), which means I got to repay as much as I could afford over 60 months."

To gain charitable status, LAD must raise £5,000 - the group has £3,000 to go.

Mrs Fryer said; "My goal initially is to get a centre in St Neots where we can act as a secure drop-in space for people with debt problems.

"Life is the hardest it has ever been for so many families, and they often have to choose between heating and eating. By gaining charity status we will have access to a wider range of grants than we do as a support group."

INFORMATION: Life After Debt meets at Eynesbury Methodist Church on Wednesdays between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. A LAD charity bring and buy sale takes place in the Priory Centre, St Neots, every Saturday from November 5 from 9am until noon. For details e-mail annfryer.lad@googlemail.com or info@life-after-debt.org, visit www.life-after-debt.org or call 07504 382919 or 01487 830219.