East of England: Worries over money are on the increase

MONEY worries are on the rise across the region, according to a new survey, as more and more people turn to churches and charities for help in 2011.

Research carried out by the Samaritans has revealed more than half of people in the East of England – 57% – fear they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in 2011.

The region is also in the top five nationally in terms of worries about meeting mortgage or rent payments, with 19% of people listing that as a major concern, while one fifth of people surveyed are also very worried about job security.

Volunteer Russell Lodge, representative for the East of England, said: “Relationships are often the biggest things that are under the stories we hear but increasingly, we’re hearing worries about money or job security.

“There seems to be an increasing amount of uncertainty about the future and where people are going to be in a few months’ time. When you know what’s going to happen, you can find a way to deal with it, but if you don’t know it can really be quite a scary experience.

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“Once we get into people being worried about finance, people often say how proud they are and how they don’t want to admit what’s going on to their families.”

The Church has reported a rise in attendances as people struggle to cope with the impact of recession and look for somewhere to turn for help.

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Canon Graham Hedger, of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: “We recognise that many people have concerns about many issues this year – not least financial worries.

“The important thing is that they talk to someone and don’t bottle up their worries.

“Some clergy have already commented that at their Christmas services, there have been people attending who have been looking for comfort and reassurance.”

More than half of people, at 53%, are worried they will suffer directly from cuts in public services next year, while nearly a quarter of those surveyed said 2010 had been a bad year or the worst year ever.

But there might be one bright spot on the horizon. The eastern region had the lowest number of people complaining of loneliness, at just seven per cent, with several other regions reporting figures twice as high, especially among 18 to 24-year-olds.

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