A feather in their CAP

A feather in their CAP

According to the Bank of England, the average Briton is sinking under a pile of debt – estimated to be more than £30,000 – racked up while staying afloat during the pandemic and paying for events like Christmas.

The Bank's latest research also shows less than 10% of UK households are debt-free. This is a staggering statistic, for slowly but surely, it would seem most of us are heading for a day of financial reckoning sometime in the not-to-distant future.

Yet there are organisations out there who want to help. No strings attached. No hidden agendas, only a desire to offer support and relieve suffering.

WEIGHED DOWN: couples aged over 55 are among the most indebted people in the UK.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is one such organisation.

The charity, founded in Bradford more than 20 years ago and with a very visible link to the Christian faith, has supported more than 20,000 people through their debt problems since its formation. And it is now stepping up its efforts to reach even more people in need throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

CAP clients often say they feel like they are a failure, therefore kept their debt problems hidden for years, forever placing a ‘sticking plaster’ over them. Their solution was to take out yet another loan or go without meals in order to pay the rent or buy new shoes for the kids. 

Its most recent client survey supports this assertion, revealing most people live with the escalating problem for two years before going to CAP for help.

THE NEVER, NEVER: credit card spending just exaggerates the scale of someone's debt problems.

"Feelings of despair, shame, guilt, hopelessness all adds to the challenge," commented a spokesperson. "In a strange sort of way, living with unmanageable debt can become the norm, meaning that many cannot imagine living without the weight of missed payments, spiralling costs, demanding creditors, going without meals, etc.

"People fall into debt for all sorts of reasons – unemployment, illness, relationship breakdown to name but a few. [This] could happen to any of us, but not all of us have the ‘margin’ or ‘resilience’ in our lives to weather the storm."

CAP’s non-judgemental support allows its clients to open up and share their stories – and then get practical help to gradually resolve things.

MEETING A NEED: there are 300 Christians Against Poverty debts centres around the UK.

There are many debt counselling charities and organisations offering their services to potential 'customers'. But CAP's service is one wholeheartedly recommended by Sorted – because it is free of charge and accepts everyone who asks for help.

It is professionally regulated and has almost 300 local debt centres across the UK, all of them located within church environments. But if a client doesn't want to go into a church building, that is also okay. In these situations, CAP counsellors happily visit people in their own homes, where they often feel more relaxed and secure.