This past Thursday I attended the 10th anniversary gathering for the Harpenden Money Advice Centre.

Guest speakers to commemorate their work included Heather Keates (CEO, Communtiy Money Advice) and Bim Afolami (MP for Hitchin and Harpenden). It was a splendid community event.

The centre is based at All Saints' Church on Station Road. It is a Christian charity providing free, confidential, non-judgemental and impartial debt and budgeting advice to all who may benefit, regardless of age, ethnic background, beliefs or sexual orientation. 

They are an affiliate of Community Money Advice that has over 150 centres across the UK.

The service was formed from a group of Christians from various churches in Harpenden in 2008. It became a separate charity in 2012.

It is funded by a few churches in Harpenden and a few individuals. There are eight volunteers from four different churches who freely give their time.

In addition, a couple churches provide food stuff for some of the families in order to help with their financial situation until their finances improve.

It is a sign of our times that the centre has had increased demand for its services, even in Harpenden.

Such demand is mostly because it is difficult with limited income to meet the rising costs of food, housing, rates and utilities—basic needs many of us take for granted.

It is fantastic that this service exists. This centre is just one of the ways we need to work together as a community to help those in need.