In recent years the cost of living, including goods and services, has taken a dramatic spike. This coupled with low incomes has led to a steady rise in debt within the UK.
With debt easy to get into and not so easy to get out of, one such UK wide charity – Christians Against Poverty (CAP), is tackling the issue head on.
The charity began when it’s founder, John Kirkbury, found himself living on the floor of a flat with his two girls after a relationship breakup. John decided to face his debts head on and wrote to his creditors and offered them an affordable repayment plan which would allow him to have a basic standard of living for him and his family as well as repaying his debts. One he was debt free, John Kirkbury decided to help others.
There is now 296 CAP centres around the UK, not to mention international branches in New Zealand, Canada and in 2018 CAP America.
One of these local debt centres is CAP Ballymoney which is run as part of a joint service between several of the churches in the area. Debt Centre Manager of this branch is Beth Thompson.
Speaking of it’s founder, Beth told us;
“A guy reached out to (John) at Church and there he realised how important I was to reachout to people when they are really struggling.
Going on to tell us how it all started, a modest Beth, began by saying;
“It started here in Ballymoney in my Church (Church of Ireland) in 2013. It quickly grew and now we partner with First Presbyterian, The Methodist & Connect Christian Centre.”
CAP also work very closely with other local services like the local foodbank, SVP, mental and social health services, just to name a few and often refer clients back and forth among each other.
When asked what the most common reason Beth see’s people falling into debt as a result of, she said;
“Recently one of the main reasons has been relationship breakdowns. There is a trend for single men and women struggling to run a home on their own.”
Beth went on to say;
“Addiction and Universal Credit are also a big reason leading to debt, especially the changeover to Universal credit in 2018 and now in 2019. It’s been a real eye opener and has left people for long periods of time uncertain of what they are going to get and when they’re going to get it.”
‘Debt doesn’t discriminate’ and it is reckoned that nobody is safe, and we could all be as close as three pay packets away from it. Credit can be good if managed well but mismanagement, for whatever reason, can leaded to downward spiral of financial difficulties.
But there is help out there and CAP is one of those charity’s that can and does help. Through several of their programmes, the main on being life skill, CAP can help people in debt get out of it or indeed prevent people falling into debt.
So far the Ballymoney branch of CAP has since it started in 2013, helped 120 people and families to become debt free and Beth said that it was a, “real privilege seeing those people come out the other side”.
So what should you do if you’re in debt or think you might be heading that way? Well we leave the final word to Beth.
“They’re always an answer no matter how big your debt is. Make the call now. The key is to say when you’re in trouble. Bury you head in the sand only makes it worse.”
CAP Debt-line 0800328 0006