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What’s a CAP Engage placement like?

calendar24 August 2015

Kathryn Thomas's avatar Kathryn Thomas

What’s a CAP Engage placement like?

Over the last few weeks I have been on the CAP Engage placement and I have absolutely loved it! It’s been amazing to see first-hand how well the Debt Help, CAP Job Clubs and CAP Release Groups work; to hear stories on a daily basis of lives changed, and to play a part in releasing people from debt and poverty. It’s impossible not to be swept up in the vision, to catch the passion that is the driving force of CAP’s ministries.

In the midst of the wellie-wearing, shower-hunting, CAP-representing madness of New Wine I managed to read Journeys of Hope, and was absolutely blown away. Give it a read. I love how CAP works in such personal and practical ways, and it brings me hope to see local churches getting practically involved in their communities, walking alongside the lonely, scared and vulnerable.

I’ve also been really struck by how everyday at Head Office orbits around prayer. We take time to pray for anyone and everyone: clients, supporters, staff and volunteers. What an incredible way to acknowledge Jesus as the cornerstone of all that CAP does.

My final highlight has been seeing how CAP takes celebration to a whole new level. Head Office is quite simply fun! At various points in the day a hubbub of noise will sweep across the room: harmonicas and a Mexican wave if someone has gone debt free, whistles if someone has got a job or reached a release group milestone! It is so good to take a moment from the task you’re working on to recapture the big picture, to mark significant moments in the lives of CAP clients.

So now I’m in my third week and am already dreading next Friday – I don’t want Engage to end! (Hopefully this will be a “see you again soon” rather than goodbye!) I’m planning on carrying CAP’s prayerful, celebratory culture with me as I take my next steps. And I’ve been reminded of how, when we put all of our energy and passion behind something, we are capable of bringing about amazing change.

If you’re looking for an inspiring work placement, where you are valued as an individual and get a chance to join in with CAP’s incredible work, then I would wholeheartedly recommend applying for Engage. What are you waiting for? Go go go!

Engage is a fantastic opportunity to use your Easter or Summer holiday to make a difference, learn some new skills and become part of the CAP family. Find out more about what the one month placement involves by clicking here.

The hard road out of debt

calendar19 August 2015

Colin Campbell's avatar Colin Campbell

The hard road out of debt

CAP’s heart for helping people out of life’s isolating struggles is something I thank God for bringing into the world because I understand how devastating debt can be...

I graduated in 2001 and entered into freelance work and the irregular income that entails. I was struggling to make ends meet. The head-in-the-sand survival mode was in full swing – just ignoring things and hoping for a change to come.

I had become more and more depressed under these pressures and, although I was a Christian, my joy began to be suffocated by the fear and isolation of my situation. I slipped into a deep depression, slackened off in church attendance and pretty much stopped socialising with friends. Shame and fear had me paralysed. Suicide was a serious consideration on many occasions.

My shame about making a mess of my life made me feel unworthy of anyone’s help, even God’s! Gradually I realised that if I didn’t want my future to look this way forever I would have to change something.

In 2007, I finally found the courage to look at my finances and was shocked to discover they now totaled £45,000! I remember thinking it was "suicide levels of debt", but I also felt God saying that, if I would face this seemingly impossible mountain, I wouldn’t be doing it alone – he would help me every step. I ditched my pride, faced my situation honestly and spoke out to get help from people.

Today I am, amazingly, almost finished on my journey to debt freedom: 2016 will see me debt free! It’s been a hard journey, one that I know would have been quicker and easier if there’d been a CAP Debt Centre in my area. That’s why I am so keen to support them in their work to reach more people across the UK who need help.

If you are struggling with money, addiction or job issues don’t struggle alone like I did – contacting CAP will provide help you never thought possible. I know if I could get out of the hole I was in then anyone can. Have faith that it can change for you too. Call 0800 328 0006 or find out more here.

Colin is volunteering with CAP on the Engage programme; a one month placement at Head Office with the opportunity to represent CAP at a Christian conference. If you are interested in finding out more about Engage click here.

Thank you from our Whitby client break

calendar05 August 2015

John Kirkby's avatar John Kirkby

This summer, 460 clients are having a short break on us – it’s a chance to relax, discuss important issues like worry and forgiveness, and enjoy time together as a family. These breaks are often the first time people have been away in years. At the end of July, we popped over to call in at our Whitby break – we handed out messages sent in from our supporters. Those who received them wanted to thank you, our supporters, for making the break possible.

Schools Out Summer Survival Guide

calendar12 July 2015

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Schools Out Summer Survival Guide

Most kids can’t wait for to it start and most parents can’t wait for it to end. Yes, it’s the school summer holidays – and it’s fast approaching. It’s hard to remember exactly what we did as kids for six whole weeks, so coming up with ideas to fill the time can be difficult. To help you get started, here are CAP’s top tips to keep the kids entertained without breaking the bank account:

Movie club – Most cinemas cost a fortune so get together with some other parents and take it in turns to host a movie night once a week. Save money on snacks by making popcorn from kernels on the hob (see www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn); you can get a 500g bag for just 99p and it’s fun to watch them pop in the pan. Second-hand DVDs are just as good, so have a hunt in the charity shops, or check out CeX uk.webuy.com where you can not only buy cheap films, but also make some cash selling your old ones.

Build a den – Fun for kids and adults alike, grab some bed sheets, pillows, pegs and whatever ever you can find and get to work on creating your own fort. If the weather is good, create your den in the garden where you can lay down and star gaze, whilst pretending you’re explorers on a great expedition!

Make your own play dough – great for all ages, play dough is really cheap, quick and easy to make at home. Check out this recipe from Netmums: netmums.com/activities/arts-and-crafts/how-to-make-playdough

Junior Bake off – Teach your kids some skills whilst having fun, with your own mini version of the Junior Bake-off. Invite their friends over, set some challenges and then have the parents judge the final creations. For some recipe ideas that won’t cost you the earth, check out BBC Good Food’s cheap baking: bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/cheap-baking

Geocache – If you haven’t heard of this real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game, then check out geocaching.com. All you need is GPS on your mobile phone or a GPS device, then using sets of coordinates, the aim is to find containers that have been hidden at various locations. The great thing is that there are Geocaches all over the world, so there’s no limit to where this can be played!

Pot painting – Get crafty with the kids, and spruce up some of your old plant pots at the same time, by painting them with bright new designs. Tester paint pots cost around a pound each from your local DIY shop, so a cheaper alternative idea if you want a few colours. You can then waterproof your pots using a simple seal-like solution made with PVA glue and a little water.

On The Frontline

calendar05 July 2015

Anna Munroe's avatar Anna Munroe

On The Frontline

This is Laura Roberts; she works for our New Enquiries team at CAP. This team is responsible for receiving that first crucial call from potential clients who wish to use our service. It may be that they are suffering from debt and wish to use our free Debt Help service, or they could be calling about attending a CAP Job Club, CAP Money Course or a CAP Release Group. Laura and her team essentially act as helpline, and they speak to people in all kinds of situations.

Laura is the manager of New Enquiries and therefore spends half her time dealing with clients on the phone, and the other half managing and supporting her team, which is made up of six others. She says, ‘Ensuring a client never goes to voicemail and that they always have someone to talk to is our number one priority’.

Their job is all about compassion, and that means putting the caller first, every time. Currently, the team takes around 100 calls a day and book 30 to 40 home visits. The end goal is being able to offer a solution to everyone, and this requires CAP to keep growing. Churches across the country must continue to open CAP projects, in an attempt to give everyone an opportunity to receive help.

Each call that is answered by the New Enquiries team is different, and that makes this role very unpredictable. Laura says there is a lot of variation within the people that call, and it is not always someone calling for themselves. Laura told us that, ‘It is common that friends and family will call asking for us to help their son, or sister, or friend… these people are often more desperate and emotional than the clients themselves’.

Due to new enquiries being the first point of call for many vulnerable, desperate people, the job can be emotionally challenging at times. Laura and her team receive a lot of training so they are able to provide the best service to callers. The day is non-stop for the team and sometimes it can become intense, especially after a difficult call. ‘The team culture is key to sustaining the individual roles,’ says Laura. ‘Sometimes, one of us will take two or three minutes after a call to pray for the client and we always support each other.’ They know that what they’re doing is important and God is with them in each call.

Laura tells us that one of the most important things to do on a call is give the client time to talk, and to listen actively. ‘This may be the first time they are saying these things out loud and they can sometimes be angry and frustrated,’ she says. When the phone is answered, no judgment is made from the team at CAP and everyone puts all their efforts into focusing on the future and how that client can move forward with their life. According to Laura, ‘It is a real privilege to be the first person to take the pressure off these people and listen to their problems. Hearing the sigh of relief at the end of the call or when someone says they will “finally be able to sleep tonight” is the best part of the job’.

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