With UK debt and the personal debt of individuals in this country staying high on the discussion agendas at government level and beyond, the need for grass roots assistance for those who face the impact of debt on their everyday lives has become more and more apparent. Being in debt seems to have become a fact of life for many Brits, with their financial problems spiraling out of control.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) was established by John Kirkby back in 1996 in Bradford with nothing more than a small donation and mustard seed faith. He left his career in finance and began a journey of helping people and families facing real financial devastation and desperation. Since then, the organisation has grown into a national service that works with people through their Cap Debt centres, with the vision to answer the nation’s debt problems. They also run CAP Money Courses in partnership with local churches to help people budget, save and prevent debt.
We caught up with CAP to find out a little more about the work they do and their hopes for the future:
Vinejuice: Is CAP seeing the levels of debt increasing or decreasing in the UK?
CAP: Whilst CAP’s seen an increase in calls to our freephone helpline, this could also be due to greater awareness of our services. What we do know is that a third of our clients told us they were suicidal before CAP’s help, so this service is greatly needed. According to The Money Charity, debt levels are rising, but it’s hard to say if more people are in debt.
Vinejuice: CAP has launched centres in New Zealand. Are there any plans of moving to other countries?
CAP: We currently have operations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. CAP Australia launched in 2000 and is transforming lives from Sydney to Swansea and Canberra to Charlestown with 37 debt centres across the country. In 2008 CAP New Zealand launched and now has 40 debt centres in the country known for having the highest levels of personal debt in the developed world. CAP Canada is our newest addition to the CAP family, launched in April 2013.
Vinejuice: Are all members of the CAP staff Christians?
CAP: As a Christian organisation, our faith is our motivation so it naturally attracts Christians who are passionate about living out God’s call to help the poor. CAP operates as a faith community as well as a service provision charity, so with this in mind we do ask that all staff and volunteers carefully read our charity overview and consider if they are able to uphold these values and promote our objectives.
Vinejuice: Does the charity still operate on a ‘Nevertheless’ approach to business?
CAP: Yes, CAP has a history of taking risks, whether that’s ambitious targets for the number of people we reach or stepping out to launch new initiatives. Whatever we do, we believe that the next person we help is worth the risk.
Vinejuice: What is the vision of CAP and what level of growth are you expecting in the next 5 years?
CAP: We’re passionate about releasing people in our nation from a life sentence of debt, poverty and their causes. Our vision is to bring freedom and the good news to people in every UK community through local churches running 3,000 CAP projects by 2021. Over the next six years we aim to have 500 debt centres; 2,500 CAP Money partner churches, 500 Job Clubs and 500 Release Groups.
Vinejuice: Can you tell me of any exciting new campaigns that the charity is launching this year?
CAP: CAP recently begun piloting a new ministry designed to tackle life-controlling dependencies, like alcohol, smoking or gambling. CAP Release Groups provide a safe, confidential place for people to seek help alongside the support of others who understand what they’re going through. They teach people practical steps to tackle their dependency, through sessions inspired by the Twelve Steps programme, alongside individual coaching. We are looking to fully launch the service early next year.
Vinejuice: Can you give me a recent success story?
CAP: Alan lost his job after an accident at work and Jeani had already given up work to care for her sick daughter, so the drop in income caused the couple to spiral into debt. The pressure of debt nearly destroyed them, however CAP was able to help them and they are now debt free. They’ve also come to know God and are overwhelmed by the change in their lives. Watch their story here: https://capuk.org/connect/blog/alan-and-jeannie
If you would like to receive help and support form CAP then click here: CAP
Over to you
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