Where It All Began - Debt Advice Foundation

Where It All Began

Debt Advice Foundation was born out of a desire by the founding trustees of the charity (Andrew Redmond, John Reynard and Paul Latham) to establish a non-commercial organisation that could sustainably provide debt advice to everyone that needed it.

The charity was originally registered in 2002 as the Fonsco Trust (the charity’s ‘off-the-shelf’ name) with the “relief of poverty” as its primary object.

In September 2004, the founding trustees changed the name of the charity to the DFD Trust, hoping to establish on-going funding from within the commercial debt advice industry.  This aim was not achieved and as a result, the name was changed in 2005 to Debt Free Advice Trust (shortened to Debt Advice Trust in 2007).

In 2005, the founding trustees again appealed for donations to the charity.  A working fund was gradually established and in early 2007 a pilot project was set up with the aim of developing a free, independent not-for-profit debt advice service.

The intention of the project was to ensure that advice was delivered independently from the influence of any single organisation, but would use an “expert panel” from across the industry (charity and commercial providers alike), with all of the partners within the panel contributing to the funding of the charity.

Significant interest was generated and expressed by a number of leading organisations from across the charitable and commercial sectors.

While the pilot project was successful in advising and supporting people with debt problems, it became clear that the on-going costs of providing the service would be in excess of funding likely to be generated from across the debt industry.  As a result the pilot was suspended.

At this point Dennis Benson became chairman and the charity’s name was changed to Debt Advice Foundation.

The objectives of Debt Advice Foundation were amended to focus the organisation on both the provision of free debt advice and the promotion of financial education (a particular interest of the new chairman’s) and research into debt issues.

In 2008 the main focus switched to education; during this period the foundations were laid for what is now the charity’s ground-breaking peer-to-peer financial education programme.

In 2009, the Trustees developed a new sustainable self-funding model for the charity, which enabled it finally to launch a free national debt helpline in August of that year.

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