Poverty destroys lives. It robs people of joy, hope and opportunities. That’s why we’ve been advocating for, and supporting people experiencing debt and poverty since 1996.
I was owing well over £20,000. I hid it from anyone else, from everyone else, I didn’t even want to open my doors. So I shut my door, I shut my mind to everything else. It was that part of me that I just thought, “No, nobody needs to know.”
I used to work in the IT industry. I lost the job and then everything changed from there. And then I was offered another job in the school, which was part-time. So I had to just adjust myself based on what I was earning part-time and then the bills just started coming up. I hid it from anyone else, from everyone else, I didn’t even want to open my doors to friends just in case the bailiff turns up while they’re here. So I shut my door, I shut my mind to everything else. It was that part of me that I just thought, “No, nobody needs to know.”
And the first time I actually spoke to somebody about it was with CAP and that felt very, very liberating. I was owing well over 20,000 pounds and the first option was paying it off monthly, which would take a long time and that would not be practical for me in terms of raising up my son. He would be a man. He would be a full grown man by that time, he’d probably have to pay for me as well, God forbid. But it would be a very long time and he would’ve been well in his twenties at that point. Because my debt was over a certain amount, the decision would be bankruptcy. And then I was told about the fees to actually file for the bankruptcy, which I did not have.
But I was also shocked to find out that the CAP has a bursary section to them where they get some generous people that donate and they will be able to actually raise that fund for me. And for them, I say a very deep thank you, a profound thank you for that. I wouldn’t be sitting here free and liberated, I would not have the chance to start all over again. If not for them, I wouldn’t have a new mindset or clarity to be the best that I need to be for myself and as a mother. There was no judgement, there was no condemnation. I tell you, literally, I slept differently that day, just knowing that there was somebody to listen. We got the green light to say that it’s been approved, the fees had been paid, and that I would be going bankrupt. This was in December and that was the best Christmas.
I have a chance to become a better mother and actually train my son, my children, in a way that they should do it so that they don’t make the same mistakes. And I remember when I was in that gloomy stage, he would come up to me, pull up my cheeks, and say ‘You need to smile, Mummy.’ And now he doesn’t have to do that anymore. And he actually noticed that and he said to me, ‘Now Mum, I don’t even have to remind you to smile.’
To be debt free is very, very peaceful. It feels like heaven. It feels very, very liberating knowing that I have a second chance. I’m excited even talking about it.
Finances can affect every area of life, including parenting. Hardworking single mum Joanne struggled to make ends meet, and was forced to borrow money before the next payday arrived.
When Joanne and her son, Ire, had to downsize and lost the garden he loved to play in, Joanne felt she was disappointing him as a mother. Then the letters and phone calls started, and she became afraid to sleep or go outside.
Thanks to her CAP Debt Coach, Mee, and CAP Befriender, Flora, from her local church supporting her all the way, Joanne is now debt free. She is finally able to smile again, and is even teaching her son how to manage his money.