We had the privilege this week of spending time with not one, but two notable and well know actors, Steve Coogan and Michael Sheen, who both have a passion to tackle some of the big the issues influencing poverty and indebtedness in our communities.

Michael has recently set up the End High Cost Credit alliance which aims to tackle the problem of high cost high street credit which unfairly targets those who can least afford it, and through their awareness campaigning and membership lobbying they seek to influence behaviour change and increase the flow of capital to fair providers of finance, instead of to their high cost credit competitors.

Steve invited Michael to come to see the work of the Lighthouse Project and to hear about the new Lighthouse Money Advice service that we opening in October 2018 as well as exploring ways that we can work together to support people experiencing personal difficulties and financial poverty.

Sarah Porretta from the Money Advice Service, and Tony Coleville from Michael’s UK office also attended and contributed to the discussions helping us to understand some of the bigger picture issues and behind the scenes work that is going on to improve access to fair credit and protection for the most vulnerable in society.

We had opportunity to share our heart and vision, and to show them some of the ways that we have been tackling local need through the services and facilities that we have managed to create here in Middleton Shopping Centre. Michael said that they had visited many community projects around the country, but that they’d not visited one based in a shopping centre before, which was an unexpected but inspired idea.

There was even time to speak with some of our regular visitors and to hear something of their stories and struggles.

It is fair to say that everyone enjoyed the visit and the time together, sharing like passion and concerns. We look forward to developing our future work together and coming up with new ways of reducing poverty and debt amongst the people we support.

Thank you Steve, @michaelsheen, @tony_colville, and @sarahporretta it was good spending time with you.