A COMMUNITY association has been given £25,000 to help young people struggling with spiralling debt.
Teignmouth Community Association has been given the sum by high street bank Barclays to help people understand more about financial management.
The cash boost is a welcome lift in a week which has seen major banks go bust and others hatch rescue plans amid a gloomy economic outlook.
The money will be used to fund Teignmouth Community Association's Money Counts project, aimed at 500 people aged between 16 and 25 years who live in socially and economically deprived areas.
The scheme will involve workshops being held in schools, colleges and community centres.
The workshops will offer guidance on financial matters such as budgeting skills, how to avoid debt and saving for the future.
It will be accessible in Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh and Totnes.
The initiative will be delivered in partnership with Talk Training, Devon Pound Credit Union and Teign Housing.
Will Fitzgerald, the chief executive of Teignmouth Community Association, said: "This scheme is aimed at those who are potentially going to struggle with their finances in the future and is an informative and pro-active way of identifying ways of keeping on track with money matters."
The investment has come from Barclay's Banking on Brighter Futures community investment programme.
Teignbridge Liberal Democrat MP Richard Younger-Ross helped launch the new scheme.
He said: "There are many opportunities for people to get into debt which they cannot afford.
"Learning more about how to manage money will help them know when to borrow and when not to borrow, and will save them money in the long term."
The bank has pledged to invest millions of pounds over the next five years to fund 1,500 projects nationwide.
Barclay's employees will volunteer their time to work with Teignmouth Community Association advisers on how a bank can help with money management through its services.
Barnaby Davis, Barclays regional director retail banking for the South West, said: "Writing a big cheque has its place, but we aim to make a much bigger impact by encouraging our staff to volunteer in ways which make use of their unique banking skills and through new partnerships.
"We aim to make tangible, positive differences in the daily lives of as many young people as possible in our community and also learn about the challenges young people face."
The association works to develop activities in promoting healthy living projects for people living in poorer parts of Teignbridge.
Although many of its activities are based in Teignmouth, its outreach work stretches into more rural parts of Teignbridge.
And in Torbay people with debt problems now have more help available to them from Torbay Citizens Advice Bureau, thanks to an increase of more than 10 per cent in the legal aid funding the bureau receives from the Legal Services Commission.
"We are really pleased that we will be able to help more people in Torbay get good quality legal advice with their debt problems," said Geoff Mountjoy, the Commission's regional director.
"Getting good advice at the right time can make a real difference to people's quality of life and prevent crises like homelessness or children being taken into care."
Gill Smith, a debt caseworker at Torbay Citizens Advice Bureau, added: "With demand for debt advice increasing year on year in Torbay, we are delighted to be able to increase access to debt advice services."