Tracey Chisholm, Money Advice Manager
Everyone worries about money, whether it’s saving up for something special or to make ends meet. We spoke to Money Advice Manager, Tracey Chisholm, on her work with the Money Advice team and how they help.
Hi Tracey, can you give us an idea of how long you have been at Midland Heart?
I’ve been here nearly five years; I have always enjoyed it from my very first day. The environment is really friendly and everyone goes out of their way to help you.
That’s quite a while, what attracted you to the job?
I’ve always done advice work. I worked for 25 years in a local authority and my last role was funded from year to year, whereas Midland Heart has made a real commitment to money advice and it is an integral part of our service to our residents.
You must quite like it, what makes you keep coming into work?
The diversity in my role. No two days are ever the same, no customer query is ever identical and the people I work with have real pride in what they do. I also get to work in a supportive team with common goals and a great sense of humour. We make a difference, not just to the Income Team but to the customers.
You mentioned customers, what’s the difference that you and your team make to them?
We can be a listening ear; someone to talk to about their financial issues and concerns, even if we don’t always have the solution they feel like they have shared the problem. We are advocates for them, we talk to the people they owe money to and we try to give them options to resolve their financial issues whether it’s accessing benefits or other solutions. We help with a lot of different things.
This year as a team we have increased the income of our customers by over £1.8 million by claiming benefits on their behalf and dealt with debts in excess of £1.5 million. We have applied to charities and trust funds for financial support and at times have been the emotional crutch needed at a time of crisis.
Obviously, nobody lives to work, so what’s your work life balance like?
You could say that throughout my life I have had lots of roles, mother, wife and daughter. Knowing that I can get the support I need to juggle all of my roles means that when I am at work I can concentrate fully on the job in hand. You don’t have to feel guilty about missing the school assemblies.”
So finally, if somebody was looking at working in your team, what would you be looking for?
To work in money advice, I would say, you need the drive and enthusiasm, like the team, to want to make a difference to a customer and to go out of their way to bring about change in someone’s life.