During the holiday season, CAP loves to surprise clients in need with Christmas hampers. These hampers are full of food, fun and festive treats. Recently we put some of these together for clients local to the Bradford area. Watch the video to get a glimpse of what’s involved and consider whether you can help us spread joy this Christmas by providing a hamper to a family in need.
Leftover pumpkin? Turn it into something tasty, using Liz's scrumptious autumnal soup recipe.
Serves at least 4
Cost = approx. 37p per serving*
1kg bag of carrots
OR your left over Halloween pumpkin
A pack of value cream cheese
Cooking bacon 500g
1 tbsp of curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Requires a hand blender (available for £5 from Wilkinsons)
Chop up the pumpkin/carrots and the onions.
Pour in boiling water until they are fully submerged, and boil until the carrots/pumpkin is soft enough to mash with a fork (the carrot will not fully mash until blended).
Add in the cooking bacon and continue to boil until bacon is cooked.
Blend together using a hand blender (you might need to add more water - depending on how thick you want it).
Add the curry powder, cream cheese and salt/pepper to taste, and blend some more.
Great on it's own or served with bread.
Veggie option? Add a thumb-sized piece of ginger instead of the bacon for nice carrot and ginger soup!
*Prices from Tesco, correct at time of publishing.
This year I’ve been truly humbled by the favour God has given us to ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves… defend the rights of the poor and needy’ (Proverbs 31:8-9).
We build relationships with influential people who can make the changes that matter. We want to help them understand what life is like from our clients’ point of view, and in the last six months alone we’ve met with over 150 organisations! Many came to our Corporate Open Day in June and were so inspired that they are now looking at ways they can work with us. We’re just amazed at the doors God is opening for us to form partnerships with key people in the industry.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for example, has been so impressed by our work that they’ve signed a national partnership agreement to recommend our services through their JobCentrePlus. Also, just a few months ago we had the largest enforcement agency in the UK visit us at CAP and they were so impacted by our work that they said they'd be willing to do everything in their power to help clients who are working with us.
One area I am particularly passionate about is the injustice around credit card charges for our clients. Although CAP often gets interest and charges stopped for new clients, in some cases credit card companies reapply them when the debt decreases. This moves the goal posts of how long the client has to repay, which feels so unjust to me. However, last month I received the support of a trade body to ask the major banks and credit companies to change their practice – wow!
Our voice is also heard in Parliament, as we regularly attend meetings at the House of Commons, respond to government consultation papers and have a representative at an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Debt and Personal Finance. It’s incredible to be able to raise issues on behalf of our clients in such a powerful place. And we’re not just known for what we say; we’re being recognised for how well we do things. We’ve been nominated for various awards, especially in the area of working with vulnerable clients, and the FCA even referenced CAP several times in their paper on vulnerability.
It’s been an exciting year so far, and we’re not finished yet. Our next major campaign is to tackle the injustice around fuel poverty. We’ve already spoken at National Energy Action’s conference and a major Utility and Telecoms conference, and in December we will be in Parliament discussing our The poor pay more report. This report highlights problems faced by lots of our clients who are struggling on prepayment meters.
So please do pray for us. The more noise we make, the louder our voice gets and the better placed we are to ask people to step into our clients’ shoes and understand that change needs to happen. Praise God for his favour on Christians Against Poverty!
Eat well, spend less
27 October 2015
Trying to eat well on a budget can be tricky, but there are lots of ways it can be done. We’ve come up with some top tips to help make your grocery shopping a more cost effective experience:
Plan your meals – Avoid wasting food by planning your meals ahead of your weekly shop, and include meals that use common ingredients to reduce the need to buy lots of extras. There are plenty of recipes online that are budget friendly; and check out other items on our blog.
Stick to your list – Popping into the shop on your way home might seem like a good idea but try to avoid shopping on a whim as you’re likely to spend more on things you won’t use. Make a list, and then go shopping.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach – This is a must for impulse buyers: plan your shop when you know your purchasing won’t be dictated by hunger pangs!
Freeze it – Cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables; there’s so much food you probably weren’t aware you could freeze! Avoid unnecessary waste by freezing portions – like popping individual chicken breasts in freezer bags so you don’t have to defrost the whole pack. Or putting a loaf of sliced bread in the freezer and taking out slices when you need it.
Be supermarket savvy – There are plenty of deals to be had, but don’t get drawn in by the first one you come across. It pays to do your research – mysupermarket.co.uk is a great way to scan the shop prices from the comfort of your armchair.
Raid the reductions – check out the clearance aisle for anything that is close to its sell by date. Either use it that day or pop it in the freezer for another meal. Make sure you only buy something if you know you can use it, not just because it’s a bargain!
Timing is everything – Head to the supermarket later in the day, ideally about an hour before it closes, when all the items due to go out of date the following day will be heavily reduced. This is a great way to get hold of expensive fresh foods at a smidge of the cost – just freeze them for later.
Don’t be fooled - many supermarket deals aren’t always as good as they seem. Multi-buy deals might sound great, but double check the price of a single item as often the saving isn’t that much.
Check the small print - It’s also worth checking the price per unit as this will tell you how much you are really getting for your money. For example, a pack of margarine costing 89p might have seemed like the cheaper option compared to the one for £1.80 until you discovered the price per 100g is 36p as opposed to 17.8p.
Watch where you’re looking – Supermarkets put a lot of effort into designing their layout so you spend more money. For example, they’ll purposely place the most expensive products at your eye level and the essential items at the back to make you walk through all the other aisles and buy things you never intended – be wise to their tricks!
Going hungry because of debt? Call us today on 0800 328 0006 for free advice. We also run free money management courses to help you make your money go further, visit capmoneycourse.org to find a course near you.
The big fight against poverty from an army of small churches
09 October 2015
New figures have emerged showing that smaller churches can really pack a punch when it comes to social action.
Christians Against Poverty has discovered one in three of the churches it is working with have congregations of 50 to 100 members – not the mega churches people might assume are needed for such hard-hitting projects.
Chief Executive Matt Barlow said: 'We decided to do some research because people regularly say they feel they can’t make their mark on poverty because they belong to ‘just a small church’.'
'We found the truth is quite the reverse. We have partner churches that run job clubs; debt centres; they help the homeless; run a foodbank and more. Like David and Goliath, small really can be mighty when you are working with God.'
The research showed just one per cent of CAP’s partner churches had a membership of 500 or more while six in ten numbered 100 or less. A quarter had 21 to 50 people in the church with many smaller congregations working together with other churches in their community.
St Edyth’s Church in Bristol has between 40 and 50 adults.
Sean Hearsey, the CAP Debt Centre Manager there said: 'The area we live in and surrounding us has quite a lot of need. My role and the youth worker’s are paid for by applying to trusts as the church does not have much income.'
Birmingham Central Baptist Church has around 70 members but that doesn’t stop them from providing a CAP Debt Centre and CAP Money Courses for the community.
They run a job club; support groups; foodbank; elderly care; night shelter and after-school club.
Shoreline Church, Southport with a congregation of 70 to 75 people is able to provide housing for 500 people through charity Green Pastures; 200 a week are being fed through their own independent foodbank and they are aiming to open a CAP Job Club to help unemployed people – all this and a CAP Debt Centre.
Sue Silcock is a member of Tamworth Baptist Church, which has 96 members. She also runs the CAP Debt Centre there.
'We have had a CAP Debt Centre for 15 years and the work has been a blessing in so many ways.'
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