HOME OWNERS in Torridge who are worried about maintaining their mortgage payments in the current economic climate can get free advice and help from a new service launched this week. Torridge District Council is supporting the new Devonwide service which,

HOME OWNERS in Torridge who are worried about maintaining their mortgage payments in the current economic climate can get free advice and help from a new service launched this week.Torridge District Council is supporting the new Devonwide service which, through the Devon Strategic Housing Group and local debt advice charity Homemaker Southwest, will offer free, independent and confidential advice to home owners about managing their mortgage payments.An advisor will discuss what options may be open to home owners to enable them to remain in their homes. However, it is stressed that they should seek advice as early as possible. "For many people, the temptation may be to ignore the problem until one or two payments have been missed and the lender has then written threatening court action," said Amy Pamphilon of Homemaker Southwest. "However, by this stage, the options may already be more limited. This new service is trying to encourage people to seek help at the earliest opportunity, while there is still room for negotiation with the lender."Councillor David Lausen, Lead Member for Housing Services at Torridge District Council said: "When people are struggling to meet their mortgage commitments it is absolutely vital to get the best advice quickly. This new service should help home owners who are worried and might not have thought that the council could help them. I advise anyone who is struggling with their mortgage repayments to contact Homemaker to get the help and advice they need before it is too late."A dedicated telephone helpline (01392) 686760 will give worried home owners and landlords initial advice about their options as well as a free advice pack.For more information about Homemaker visit www.homemakersw.org.uk