A Lifeline for people struggling with debt
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is an acclaimed nationwide debt relief agency that works in our area. The Well is committed to an active partnership with the CAP Centre in Wigston, so that anyone struggling with debt in Kibworth or surrounding villages has somebody to turn to.
A London School of Economics in-depth study of CAP’s work concluded ‘although the problem of poverty is enormous and complex, CAP’s holistic, personal and long lasting approach has a notably positive impact on people’s mental health, relationships and confidence, providing greater stability for whole families. The report explores and proves the value of our face to face approach and the real difference this makes in the lives of those we work with. Other client benefits as shown by the report, include increased levels of employment and ability to manage priority bills, reduced risk of eviction and rent arrears, and long term financial stability’.
The Well visited Peter Owers, CAP manager at the Meadows Community Church in Wigston, to find out more:
The Well: Peter, can you tell me why the Meadows Church became involved with CAP?
Peter: The Meadows Community Church set out from the beginning to serve its local community. A survey carried out on the estate revealed a spectrum of needs, including uncomfortable levels of debt. A speaker from CAP, visiting the Meadows Church, explained how churches across the country could be involved in helping people out of debt by working with the professional services they are able to offer. It all started from there.
The Well: If somebody were to ring your help line, what could they expect to happen?
Peter: It would begin with a ten minute reassuring phone call to assess the situation and to make an appointment. This would be followed, usually, by three visits: the first for a face-to-face introduction and further assessment; the second to gather information about debt levels, income and expenditure. From this point, CAP head office in Bradford will work out a budget plan that leaves sufficient money to live on and advice for a way forward. The third visit presents and offers the advice. Once accepted, the creditors will be advised and negotiated with. In addition to this, the CAP counsellor will offer to accompany the client for any court proceedings or to negotiate with bailiffs. The Meadows Community Church also runs a food bank which may be helpful.
The Well: How much does the service cost?
Peter: Nothing; It is absolutely free!
The Well: Some people will suspect the motives of a church ‘cashing in on vulnerable people’ to swell their numbers. How would you reply?
Peter: This is a ‘no strings’ service which exists to help people out of debt. Some people may seek and find spiritual support along the way.