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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’.

Festival Frugality

calendar30 June 2015

Kate Martin's avatar Kate Martin

Festival Frugality

Festivals are great value for money, often with hundreds of acts that most of us could never afford to see otherwise. There’s something out there for every music taste, and it’s not just about the music; many festivals offer an array of activities, and lots of them are completely family friendly. Yet despite it seeming like a cheap weekend away, the costs can soon add up. But don’t let this put you off enjoying the best of British culture; CAP has come up with some top tips for doing festivals on a budget.

BYOF: As much as festival food can be really interesting and pretty tasty, it will save you so much money if you take your own. Invest in a small stove so that you can have hot meals. Take simple food like pasta, soup, baked beans and sausages, as well as salad and general snacks.

Steward the area: If you just love the festival vibe but you’re really strapped for cash, why not sign up to be a steward? You’ll get a free ticket for the weekend, and generally you’ll only be required to work for a few hours a day, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the acts.

Kit yourself out: If you don’t yet have a tent or any camping gear, have a good look around to see who is offering the best deals. You could even check out to see if anyone near you is giving anything away!

Pick it clean: Thinking ahead, you won’t need to buy a tent or any equipment after this year. Plenty of people leave their stuff behind after the festival, so just stick around an extra few hours and grab a load of chairs, tents and sleeping bags. You can sell anything you don’t need and even make a tidy profit!

Getting there: If you have a car, share the cost of petrol and parking between a few of you. Lots of festivals have a car pooling section on their website where you can advertise the car and people who want a lift can search for a driver; helping the environment and your wallet!  If you don’t have a car, look into public transport options; bigger festivals usually provide a designated bus right to the festival gate from major cities across the country.

Sharing is caring: if you’re going as a group and you’ve got a full car already, have a look into what else you can share. Make a list of everything you’ll need as a group and divide it up between you.

One day like this: If you’re not a fan of camping but you love live music, why not just get a day ticket? They’re usually around a third of the price of the full weekend ticket, and you can just take a packed lunch to save extra on the day.

Stay with friends: If you know anyone who lives near the festival, you could save money on your ticket by choosing the daytime-only option. You’ll probably sleep better as well!

For next year: If you loved your festival so much that you know you’ll go back next year, sign up to their mailing list to know when the first tickets go on sale. Super early bird tickets can be as much as half the full price!

Budget recipe binder – BBQ special

calendar11 June 2015

Laura Thomas's avatar Laura Thomas

Budget recipe binder – BBQ special

Love a good BBQ? Want to invite friends round but can't quite stretch to it? Well, we've got a bit of a gem of a recipe for you! Check out this budget burger recipe – it's an easy essential for any BBQ (and they taste better shop-bought ones too!).

Preparation time: 20 minutes, cooking time: 5-10 minutes, serves: 4-5
Total cost: approx. 64p per serving*

1 tsp cooking oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
500g beef mince
Breadcrumbs (1 slice)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
Burger buns to serve
Cheese to serve (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Using your hands, shape the mixture into a patty and rub with oil.
Heat a frying pan until smoking hot and fry the burger for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
Serve in a burger bun, with a slice of cheese, salad, and a squirt of ketchup – enjoy with friends and a glass of something refreshing!

*Prices from Tesco, correct at time of publishing.

What a difference a year makes!

calendar02 June 2015

Cate Reynolds's avatar Cate Reynolds

What a difference a year makes!

I started the Reach internship at CAP last September and I can honestly say it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had!

Reach equips Christians with skills to become better leaders in the workplace. The most valuable lesson I’ve taken from the Reach programme is identifying my abilities and strengths and growing in confidence with them. I have loved how much responsibility I’ve been given in my job in the CAP Money team and during our Reach training days – I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve handled the projects I’ve been trusted with! I‘ve got to know clients on Discovery Breaks, attended fundraising dinners and helped out at other CAP events.

Being a CAP Money Coach inspired me to apply for Reach because I wanted to do more to serve and love the poor in the UK. It was the CAP Debt Centre Manager who suggested I apply whilst we were running a course together – do you know people in your church who would benefit from Reach?

CAP places huge value on investing in individuals. Weekly meetings with my manager and putting my Reach training into practice in my day-to-day job have enabled me to not just hear about but also see the impact of good leadership.

Reach has also taught me a lot about relationship building. The Reach programme currently has 19 interns, all from different backgrounds and with different strengths and opinions. I have definitely made friends for life!

Reach has been invaluable to my career, yet also vital to my personal growth. Not only have I seen my confidence develop, but my relationship with God and the strength of my faith have grown so much. Working amongst such a fantastic group of Christians has taught me a lot about love, grace and faith – which are things I never thought I’d find in a workplace. I have been so privileged to work in such a unique environment where God is at the centre of everything. These principles and experiences are something that will stay with me as I finish the Reach programme and prepare to take the next step.

Would you, or someone you know, benefit from this incredible year of high impact growth? The Reach intern programme is such a valuable investment – don’t miss out!

Find out more and download an application pack for our September 2015 intake.

Get the advantage on saving money around Wimbledon

calendar28 May 2015

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Get the advantage on saving money around Wimbledon

It’s that spectacular British sporting event which signals the real start of summer. Whether you are an avid tennis fan or just like an excuse to eat strawberries and cream and soak up the atmosphere, there’s no denying Wimbledon is an integral part of British culture. If you are headed to grounds or spectating from the comfort of your sofa, check out our top tips to smash down the costs.

1. Scoring Centre Court seats – If you missed out on the public ballot, there are still a number of tickets up for grabs. You can buy them on the day of play either online or at the venue. For the cheapest ones, go for the first two days, when you’ll pay £50 for Centre Court. Remember the last four days on Centre Court are not sold at the turnstiles so don’t queue for them – you’ll only be disappointed. Tickets are limited, so if heading to the turnstiles you’ll need to be there early - and don’t forget it’s cash only. It’s also worth checking out top tip no.3 for the chance to grab a bargain.

2. Ace ground tickets – Starting at £25, these are great value for money and widely available. The tickets will get you through the gates and then you can choose matches on the outside courts with standing room and unreserved seating across courts 3-19. They get cheaper as the weeks go on, but are also even cheaper if you go after 5pm.

3. Return shot upgrade – If you’re inside on a ground ticket then visit the ticket resale kiosk. After 3pm, any tickets that have been handed back in are sold off, with the profits going to charity. It’s hard to believe that people would leave early on the day, but many do, so take advantage. You might grab yourself a Centre Court ticket for just £10!

4. Final Sunday steal – If you’re really on a budget, then go on the last Sunday, 12 July, when a ground day ticket is just £8 before 5pm or £5 after. Okay, it’s a bit hit-and-miss what you will see, but you never know you might just catch the end of the men’s final on the big screen!

5. Serve up your sarnies with deuce – Avoid spending a fortune on food and drink by packing as much as you can into a bag that’s no larger than 40cm x 30cm x 30cm. They will allow one bag per person and each person is also permitted two cans of beer or one bottle of wine.

6. Set your sights on a big screen - If you can’t get to Murray’s Mound, chances are that the matches will be screened in a public square somewhere in your city. If the weather is good, make a day of it; pack a picnic, grab some friends and eat strawberries in the sunshine whilst cheering your favourite players!

7. Love your home comforts - If you’re not a fan of sitting out in the sun all day, then make the most of watching the matches with friends at home. Invite a bunch over or find someone with a widescreen TV and offer to bring some snacks.

8. And if you’re simply not interested in tennis… you could think about hosting an alternative Wimbledon party for those in your friendship group who are equally indifferent to the sport. Giant Jenga, anyone?

If you are struggling financially, don’t wait to get help. CAP offers free support regardless of age, gender, faith or background, click here to find out more.

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