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David has found work for the first time ever!

calendar08 May 2014

Author: John Kirkby

I hear good things every day, but this week, I heard that two people who have been unemployed for 14 years have landed paid jobs through CAP Job Clubs! Can you imagine how excited they will feel?

One of these was David, a 30 year-old from Belfast who has never had paid work since leaving school at 16. He has now found permanent work in a book and toy store. That’s fourteen years of unemployment now behind him, and a hopeful future ahead. 

Hearing about David has come at a time when the Government is launching their Help to Work scheme. We agree that people who are long-term unemployed need more support to get back into work and believe that the most important support for them is relational. This is something that the Church does best, offering help from people who believe in them and who can give them the self-confidence they need.This is why our job clubs are proving so successful, with over 100 people already finding work since our first club opened its doors last year.

David joined his local CAP Job Club in September 2013 and we have been supporting him since then. As well as completing the job club course, we put him onto an Essential Skills ICT course that was held specially for CAP Job Club members. David's CAP Job Coach then arranged a four-week work placement for him that proved to be his breakthrough event, giving him experience to put on his job applications. David also really benefitted from the ICT course, as it gave him a great qualification for his CV.

Because we aim to look at each person as an individual to see what might be holding them back, David has been supported in the best possible way. The best thing is that he has experienced the genuine love and care of the local church in a relevant and life transforming way. I can’t help but get excited about that, and I’m sure you feel the same! Could your church get involved and offer hope to the unemployed in your community?

Find out more about CAP Job Clubs

Christians Against Poverty on Songs of Praise

calendar10 April 2014

Author: John Kirkby

From time to time I have a ‘Johnny Boy Moment’ – one of those times where I have to stand back and say to myself in awe and amazement 'Johnny Boy, how did this happen? Only God!'

I had one of these sitting with TV presenter Pam Rhodes as I was being interviewed for the up-and-coming Palm Sunday BBC Songs of Praise.

Pam was so encouraging and as they were looking at my old life and the journey of CAP, I felt privileged again to be able to say I was there at the start - and I’m still doing all I can some 18 years later.

When you see people being genuinely (off camera) overwhelmed by what God’s done in you, and through you, it is humbling.

In my office, I have a prophesy given to me in 1997, when CAP was literally just a couple of us working from my bedroom office helping, maybe, 30 clients a year.

This is what part of it said:

‘Christians Against Poverty will be written about in every newspaper in the land and will come before kings and rulers. Enlarge your tent, there are greater things to come than you imagine.’

How true, and that continues to be the case! Next weekend, I’m on the BBC speaking of what God, his Church and his people have done - CAP: a national ministry reaching tens of thousands every year.

To top it all, yesterday I attended David Cameron's Easter address. Prince Charles also spoke very warmly of all we are doing when we met a couple of years ago.

I remember when I was that broken bloke 22 years ago with two small daughters sleeping next to me on camp beds. I was lonely, afraid, in debt and had absolutely no hope.

I simply can’t believe what God’s done.

With 252 CAP Debt Centres; more than 800 churches running the CAP Money Course; 80 CAP Job Clubs and now our new pilot ministry for people with addictions: CAP Release Clubs. What are my Johnny Boy Moments going to be like in the future?!

Thank you God for your faithfulness and every single person who has played any part in this movement. God is changing the face of our society with his love, using ordinary people just like you and me. Please continue to do what you can do. Give, pray, serve, help!

Former CAP client writes cookbook

calendar25 March 2014

Author: Brian McCarthy

Hi, I’m Brian McCarthy and I think Christians Against Poverty is brilliant! I love that CAP are helping people to break free from debt and provide support until people are in control of their finances.

I heard a presentation by John Kirkby, the founder of CAP, a number of years ago and I was struck by his passion and drive to reach people tied down by their finances.  At the time finances were very tight in my household. Even though I had a well-paid job, decisions we had taken as a family had put us in quite a tight spot. To be honest I was feeling quite foolish and vulnerable because I had brought my family to this place.  

After the presentation, John offered me a copy of his book ‘Nevertheless’ for free! He said if I couldn’t afford to buy it to just take one. I was moved to tears by the gentleness and generosity of this man. I’m still moved to tears as I write this now remembering where I was emotionally and financially.  

I have walked with CAP for a number of years now, using cash to pay for weekly shopping and saving to pay for Christmas and holidays without running up debt. Since then my family and I are in a much better place.

I have thought many times that CAP could do with a cookbook to help give ideas to people who may not be used to preparing food from scratch, or who may have got caught in a cycle of buying pre-prepared foods. This book is aimed at trying to help people to get the most out of their food budget - nutritionally as well as financially. 

I hope eventually that the people reading the book will be putting their favourite recipes in here. The truth is as long as you have hope, once you’ve walked this way for a while you will develop the habit of using what you have in your hand, what you have in your pockets and what you have in your cupboards to get you through the day and through the week and through the months until you are debt free and self-sufficient. Plus CAP will walk with you every step of the way if that is what you need.

Money worries can be a complete nightmare. Use this book and your time and energy to enjoy the life you have been given. I hope this helps you with a step on this amazing journey.

Download my cookbook here.


calendar10 February 2014

Author: Kathy Freeman

The phone has been ringing off the hook today as CAP’s busiest day gets underway. New Client Enquiries had already had over 70 calls by midday – double the amount of a normal day!

One of those calls was from a young mum who’d fallen into debt after paying travel costs to visit her sick baby in hospital. Not only was she dealing with the pain of her child suffering, but she also knew that every visit she made pushed her further into debt. Fortunately, after speaking to one of our friendly advisers, she is now booked in to been seen by a local debt coach to get some free help.

On top of new client calls, existing clients have been calling their caseworkers requesting to withdraw money from their savings account. Today a client was relieved to hear that they had money saved up to be able to pay an unexpected bill. Lots of clients are amazed that we not only offer a solution to their debts, but make sure savings are part of the budget so that any emergencies don’t cause further stress.

But it’s not just the phones that are busy; the first lot of post arrived and amongst the hundreds of creditor letters are around 100 case files from local centre managers around the UK. Each file represents a new client and needs to be recorded onto the system in order for budgets to be prepared. One budget being created today is for a lady who has fallen into rent arrears because her income is significantly lower than her rent. Not unlike a lot of the cases we see here, this lady has had to deal with bailiffs and repossession orders. CAP has already begun the process of helping her apply for the necessary housing benefits and will work with her to get her arrears cleared. Now that the financial information for each of these 100 new clients has arrived at head office, our team are able to begin the process of moving them forward on their journey out of debt.

Sometimes the route out of debt isn’t so straightforward, but our Short Term Support team is on hand to help. This team is dedicated to helping clients find solutions to complex cases, and today, adviser Steve received a call from a client who’d made the tough decision to sell his house. Although it was a difficult choice, Steve was able to reassure the client that it would mean he would clear his debts and CAP would walk with him through every step of the process.

And that’s just a snippet of things happening at Head Office, there’s so much more going on across the UK through our CAP Debt Centres, CAP Job Clubs and CAP Money Courses. Check out #1dayatCAP over on Twitter.

I thought it was a good idea at the time!

calendar16 January 2014

Author: John Kirkby

You know when you've agreed to something but then the reality of what that 'yes' means hits you? Well that's me now!

At the end of 2013, I was working with CAP Australia, when their National Director, Ross, started going on about the Tour de France in Yorkshire next July. He wanted to cycle the Grand Depart, as he's an avid fan and a decent cyclist. He said, ‘Why don’t you and Matt, plus the other CAP National Directors in New Zealand and Canada do it?’ Then it just popped out - an enthusiastic ‘yes’, which over the last few weeks has become more of an ‘I said what?’

The facts are that the Grand Depart is 120 miles long and has three 2,000 foot mountain pass climbs, I've never cycled further than five miles, and my only bike is mountain bike from a supermarket that weighs in at just over half a ton and sticks because I never built it right!

But I need to push myself, do something that will stretch me in discipline and determination. CAP needs continued financial support because we are growing and increasing, so I simply need to step up to the plate.

We are doing great at CAP. 2013 was an astonishing year throughout all our work around the world, but particularly in the UK where we are making huge progress. Yes, it would be easy to sit back and be a by-stander to all that’s happening, and perhaps I could argue I've done my bit over the years - hey, in 2011, I ran 15 marathons in 18 days, and 84 miles in just 30 hours in 2009. However, I know that’s not how it works, we all need to keep doing what’s needed; to step up to the challenge and play our part in the miracle CAP is becoming. I need to literally ‘get on my bike’ and I would just ask you to maybe do the same.

Whether that's joining me in a sponsored cycle, taking part in our ‘Week Without’ challenge, leaving CAP a gift in your will, becoming a Life Changer with a monthly donation, or increasing your existing gift - the list is endless! - organising a church talk, or getting involved practically in the work we are doing in 1,500 churches around the UK. Whatever it is, please don’t sit back and watch - there's no joy in that, no sense of ‘I did my bit’. We will see God continue to do the miracles (I think we might need one to get me through my 120 mile bike ride in June!). My plea to you is make sure you’re part of it. It will make the celebration at the end of 2014 and beyond so much more enjoyable than just watching from the sidelines.

One of my most loved quotes, from Theodore Roosevelt, sums it up:

‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood, who strives valiantly.’

Sponsor John here


Week without

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