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CCCS - Our history. How it all started.

On November 5th 2012 CCCS became StepChange Debt Charity. 

Previously known as Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) we have over 20 years' experience of helping people become debt free. We’ve helped over 2 million people deal with problem debt in that time, and our new name is part of our plan to reach even more with our free, expert and impartial debt help.

History of StepChange Debt Charity

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) was created with a vision: that no-one should have to pay for debt advice. StepChange Debt Charity has the same belief. From humble beginnings, we’ve grown into the UK’s leading debt charity.

CCCS was formed in 1992 by Vic Ware O.B.E and Malcolm Hurlston, based on the Consumer Credit Counselling model begun in the USA. In 1996, we won the support of the biggest names in the UK credit industry which allowed us to expand and develop our debt counselling and debt management services.

We’ve introduced innovative ways for people to repay debt. In 1993 we introduced the debt management plan (DMP), in 2007 we launched CCCS Voluntary Arrangements - the only non-profit IVA provider - and 2010 was the year we launched our own equity release company, CCCSER.

As well as expanding the range of debt solutions we can offer, CCCS has pioneered online debt advice as a way to reach more people.

In 2006, CCCS Debt Remedy became the first online tool to provide free, anonymous debt advice and has since helped thousands of people access free debt help. Four years later, our Wellbeing service was developed to provide support to Debt Remedy clients who show signs of depression or anxiety.

CCCS across the country

As our charity has expanded to embrace new solutions, services and tools, we’ve opened offices all over the UK - so we can provide expert debt help to anyone in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Beginning with Glasgow in 1997, we’ve opened offices to serve every region of the UK including Limavady, Northern Ireland, in 2001.

As StepChange Debt Charity, we will be more visible and vocal than ever before. Find out why we changed our name.

Our history

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1992 - CCCS created

Foundation for Credit Counselling set up by Vic Ware O.B.E and Malcolm Hurlston. This quickly becomes the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).

1993 - Leeds office opens

Our dedicated debt advice centre in Leeds opens. It has since taken 13 million calls, helping 1.5 million clients address 28bn worth of debt.

1993 - DMP introduced

We pioneer the debt management plan (DMP), which has since helped thousands of people repay their debts.

1996 - Credit industry support

With almost all of the biggest names in the UK credit industry having pledged their support to the charity, the pace of the development increases, allowing us to expand our debt counselling services

1997 - Glasgow office opens

Our office on Mitchell Street in Glasgow opens, giving us a regional base to provide debt advice in Scotland for people who are struggling with their debts.

2001 - Limavady office opens

Our office in Limavady opens, allowing us to provide specifically tailored debt advice in Northern Ireland.

2006 - Debt Remedy launched

We introduce Debt Remedy - the first online tool to provide free, anonymous debt advice.

2007 - CCCSVA launched

We introduce CCCS Voluntary Arrangements - the only not-for-profit organisation to offer individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) on a charitable basis.

2009 - Housing helpline opens

Our office in Cardiff starts to operate the Housing Debt Helpline Wales - a dedicated service providing debt advice in Wales for people who are struggling to meet their mortgage or rent payments.

2010 - Launch of CCCSER

We introduce CCCSER - an equity release company to enable homeowners over the age of 55 to use equity from their home to repay their debts.

2012 - CCCS renamed

We change our name from CCCS to StepChange Debt Charity, as part of our plan to help more people, and become even more visible and vocal.

2013 - Beating records

507,863 people, a record number, contact StepChange Debt Charity in 2013. We also see a 50% increase in the number of people getting in touch with us online.

2014 - Debt Awareness Week

In January 2014 we run our first ever Debt Awareness Week. It’s one of the busiest weeks in the charity’s history, dealing with £266m of debt.

2015 - Debt advice in Ireland

StepChange Ireland launches in November offering clear, simple, impartial debt advice that helps people to get their finances under control.


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Action Plan on Problem Debt

The consequences of debt - lost jobs, homes, broken relationships, mental health and support needs - leads to social costs of £8.3 billion.

The Government has an opportunity to offer better help for people in debt get back on their feet and contributing to the economy, and prevent the next generation from falling into the same trap.

Read more

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Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2017