RESIDENTS living in the West End of Darlington are  urged not to leave it too late before seeking help with rising debts.

The area, which includes the Hummersknott, Mowden, College, and Park West wards, is often thought of as being a wealthy part of Darlington.

However, over the past few years - due to redundancies or other financial hardships - levels of debt in the area has risen significantly, according to Darlington Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Speaking at a meeting of the West End Partnership last night (Tuesday, February 12), chief executive of Darlington CAB, Neeraj Sharma, said: “We have seen a huge level of debt in what are traditionally the wealthier wards. The level of debt in these wards is astronomical.

“They often have no previous experience of debt and they are not mentally prepared to deal with it.

“All west end wards have seen a rise in debt but many residents are not aware of the help available to them and we don’t see them until they are at a crisis level.

“Many of them are asset rich but cash poor.”

He urged residents not to be worried about asking for help or advice with rising debt. For more information call Darlington CAB on 01325-256999.

Residents can also join Darlington Credit Union which allows members a safe place to save money, or borrow loans at affordable rates.

Councillor Alan Coultas, ward member of Hummersknott and chairman of Darlington Credit Union, said: “One of the very best things you can do is to join your credit union.

“Encouraging people to save wherever they can is a very important thing to do.”

For more information visit or call 01325-520005 or call into their office on Church Row, Darlington, which is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.