Mary Smith and her two children aged three and six were faced with the prospect of a bleak and cold Christmas this year, until they went to the Catholic Children's Society's newly opened advice centre at Ladbroke Grove, West London. Angela Walsh, the Society's worker, explained: "Mary found herself in severe financial difficulties and was in danger of having her gas and electricity cut off. I contacted the two companies and was able to get Mary's outstanding debts spread over a longer period and at more affordable payments. We will keep in touch with the family via the advice centre and help her with budgeting". Housed in the Society's St. Margaret's Family Centre in North Kensington, the project is now open to families from the local community. Although Kensington and Chelsea has within its boundaries some of the wealthiest districts in London, it also has areas with high levels of poverty and amongst the largest proportion of primary aged children eligible in London for free school meals. Angela Walsh is available for confidential advice on matters concerning housing, welfare benefits, debt management and other related issues. This new scheme runs alongside other existing projects at the Centre. For further information contact: Jim Richards, Director, Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) 73 St. Charles Square, London W10 6EJ. Tel: 020-8969-5305
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