Partnering with CAP: Richard Cooke

calendar18 July 2016

Richard Cooke's avatar Richard Cooke

Partnering with CAP: Richard Cooke

We were running a Foodbank and through that we saw a great need for debt help in our community, so we came up to Jubilee Mill to see what CAP was about.

The quality of the service and the infrastructure really stood out to us. I loved the passion and the ethos too. My passion is all about people and CAP shares that passion: that people matter. Jesus looked at the crowd and had compassion on them. CAP helps us to show that compassion by keeping it real and relevant.

We are adopting people from our CAP services into church. We’re now having to put on two services for the 600-700 people who come on a Sunday. And we are pastorally supporting well over 1,000 people, whether they come to church on a Sunday or not. That’s been a natural growth for us, and our biggest shift in evangelism. We just incorporate the wider family into people’s lives. The other day, I heard a bank manager from our church doing mock interviews for our job club members. The demographics of our church has changed, so that we really reflect the community we’re in.

To other church leaders considering running a CAP service I would say: is there something deep within you that wants to help these beautiful people? Because if so, then I can wholeheartedly 100% say go for it! You’ve got to live it and embody it, so be prepared to get involved.

CAP gives us a daily tangible inspiration as to why we do church. We have so many amazing stories. CAP interrupts our days to prompt us to go and help people, and that’s exactly what we need.

Richard Cooke is Senior Leader at The Bridge Church in Bolton. He is married to Anna and they have four children. As a church, they partner with CAP to run a debt centre and job club.

For more information on how your church can partner with us:

What’s so smart about smart meters?

calendar15 July 2016

Gemma Pask's avatar Gemma Pask

Written by Sarah Haywood, Engage internship 2016

Anything that can make the complicated things in life a little simpler to understand should surely be a good thing, right? The welcoming of smart meters across the UK by 2020 is set to bring clarity to the complicated world of energy bills and usage to 26 million British homes.

This nationwide initiative is set to replace traditional meters including prepay key meters in what has been called ‘the biggest improvement to our energy system in decades’, catapulting our energy network into the 21st century. The move will adapt our current system to be able to cope with the rise in more complex energy usage or generation, such as electric cars and solar panels and help the national grid more accurately plan for the future.

What’s more, your energy provider fits the device. For those with more than one energy provider, the company that will fit this new meter is whichever provider gets in contact with you first, and any other providers you use will have to channel their information through whichever meter you have fitted.

The new digital meter for gas and electricity sends automatic, accurate readings to your energy companies and also provides you with a simple monitor display, which could help you better understand and manage your energy usage. The portable tablet-like monitor is said to be simple to use and displays ‘near real time’ usage information.

The running of these shouldn’t make much impact on your energy usage, costing less than £1 to run over the course of one year. Additionally, it has been suggested that giving us a heightened awareness of our usage levels will help us realise when we use energy most and where we can effectively reduce our usage and save some money!

Ellie recently had a smart meter installed and said, ‘I know how much a cup of tea costs and see the usage go up when the washing machine or dishwasher are on. It tells you your predicted bill for the month and shows you all sorts of stats across the months you’ve had it. I think it’s brilliant!’

Now this all sounds well and good, but it’s certainly facing some obstacles as it begins to roll out across the UK. Some have reported that certain areas lack the right network coverage. In addition, due to the expanse of the roll out, customers who have installation issues can find themselves waiting a long while before technicians are able to come to their assistance.

Whilst any large initiative is sure to face growing pains, the motive at the heart of this development seems to be admirable: helping us, as a nation, better protect and manage our energy generation and enabling customers to understand and monitor their usage more accurately.

(Here's an example of a smart meter in action!)

Partnering with CAP: Peter Lewis

calendar14 July 2016

Peter Lewis's avatar Peter Lewis

Partnering with CAP: Peter Lewis

When I heard about CAP at a conference, what struck me was that this would suit the area where we are. We’re in a deprived area and we were dealing with people for whom debt was a big issue. I liked that CAP was not just about sorting their finances, but about looking for God to sort out their whole life. I wanted to offer what CAP was providing in our town, because there was a gap in what the churches were doing there.

Our first ever client and her husband became Christians; they also became debt free and they got married in the church on Valentine’s day. There are many stories like this, and we would never have connected with these people if we hadn’t started up a debt centre.

It’s helped us as a church to focus outward into community, not inwards to what the church is doing. If you chat to people on a Sunday morning, they are keen to identify this as a core part of what our church is about. We’re connecting to people outside the church, being politically active and involved in current issues. I believe churches need to be rooted into the issues of their local community. CAP has helped us to be relevant and effective.

Revd. Peter Lewis is vicar at St Catherine’s Church in Pontypridd, South Wales. His church partners with CAP to run a debt centre, job club, release group, life skills and the CAP Money Course!

For more information on how your church can partner with us:

Budget recipe binder: Pasta carbonara

calendar08 July 2016

Gemma Pask's avatar Gemma Pask

Budget recipe binder: Pasta carbonara

A classic dish, this is my go-to recipe when I want something quick and tasty for tea. Ready-made carbonara sauces are often full of saturated fat and salt, so it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to make your own. Plus, you can add or omit any ingredients you fancy – swap the spinach for sweetcorn, the pancetta for chicken pieces, or go all out and throw in the lot! Just remember to keep the heat low when you’re cooking the sauce or you’ll end up with something resembling scrambled eggs…

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4
Total cost: £4.16*

300g pasta (uncooked weight)
Vegetable oil
One large onion
130g pancetta cubes
285g tinned mushrooms (drained)
380g tinned spinach (drained)
Two large eggs
300ml half fat crème fraîche
Salt and pepper
Sprinkle of dried tarragon

1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta.
2. Finely slice the onion, then chop the mushrooms and spinach (if not ready done).
3. Crack the eggs into a jug or bowl, add the crème fraîche, salt, pepper and tarragon, and whisk until smoothly combined.
4. Fry the onions in the oil until soft.
5. Add the pancetta and continue to fry for a few minutes.
6. Add the mushrooms and spinach and fry for about five minutes.
7. Reduce the heat. Pour in the egg mixture and stir continuously for five to ten minutes. If it starts to resemble scrambled eggs, turn down the heat, pronto!
8. Combine the pasta with the sauce and serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese on top if you fancy.

Buy your pasta in bulk, it’s cheaper.
Tinned veg is a winner – it costs less than fresh and you can keep it in the cupboard until you’re ready to make your carbonara. Remember, if there is some left over once you’ve opened the tin, transfer it to a plastic container, keep it in the fridge and eat it within two days.

*Prices from Tesco, correct at time of publishing

The benefits of training

calendar03 July 2016

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

The benefits of training

Almost every job requires training. If you can gain the relevant experience or knowledge before you’ve even set foot in the interview, then you’re one step ahead of the game.

Employers want to know you’ll be able to manage your work confidently and that it’s the right job for you. Whilst some people are fast on their feet and need a job that will keep them moving, others prefer problem solving and testing their intellect. Whatever you’re suited to, having the relevant training will prove it – showing your employer you have the skills they need.

If there’s a career you’re interested in but you don’t currently have the qualifications or experience required, don’t write it off. Find out how to get there, whether or not it’s realistic, and whether it’s worth going for. If you want it enough, find out how to make it possible and go for it.

So, what kind of training is available? For most jobs, there is almost always more than one route to go down. If you need to gain qualifications, it doesn’t have to mean sitting in a classroom. With home-learning courses, evening classes, and practical assessments available, there are many options out there. If you have a family to support, quitting work and moving away to University might not be possible, but you could find part-time work alongside studying at home.

If you struggle to sit down and study, it’s worth looking at other ways to gain experience. Engaging in volunteer work is often equally as valued, and with a good recommendation to back you up, you’re in with a good chance of getting that dream job. How you gain volunteer experience is completely up to you. Whether it’s spending a few hours a week helping at an animal shelter or devoting an entire month to it, you can do whatever works best for you.

As you train, make sure you set yourself constant goals. Keep that long-term target in sight. It will give you the motivation you need to keep working that part-time job alongside, going to those evening classes or completing that home-learning course.

Remember, it’s never too late to gain the experience you need for that job or career change. Completing the relevant training is a great place to start, as it’ll give you confidence, ability and determination.

If you struggle to set goals, aren’t sure what field you’d like to work in or even where to begin looking for jobs, don’t worry. You’re not alone. CAP Job Clubs are here to help. They will teach you vital skills whether it’s building confidence or communicating with employers. For more information check out or call your local 0800 328 0006.

Written by Kimberley Taylor

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