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CAP Life Skills: Daniel’s story

calendar11 February 2022

Author: Hayley Tearall

CAP Life Skills: Daniel’s story

What is CAP Life Skills?

CAP Life Skills is an eight-week course designed to equip you with key tools and personal development skills to help you thrive.

What topics does CAP Life Skills cover?

The course covers topics such as:

Making your money go further
Cooking on a budget
Staying in control of your home energy
Personal development skills
Healthy relationships 

and more…

What does a CAP Life Skills course involve?

CAP Life Skills is run as a group course by local churches in the heart of their communities. Group members will attend one session a week, for a total of eight weeks. Over the weeks, not only will you gain vital personal development skills, you’ll get to know like-minded people and be supported by a trained Life Skills Coach to achieve the goals you set.

The final week also includes a celebration of those completing the course, and you’ll receive a certificate for your achievements.

Is it just for Christians?

CAP Life Skills is for everyone, whatever your faith or beliefs. As Christians, we believe that God answers prayer, so we may offer to pray with you, but it’s up to you if you’re happy for us to do this or not. We’re passionate about equipping people from all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and faiths with vital personal development skills they need to thrive.

 

Life Skills: Daniel’s story

Before Life Skills

Before Life Skills I was having bad panic attacks. I hadn’t left my house alone in two years, and if I did, it was with my partner.

Joining the group

The first time I went along to the Life Skills group I was panicking, but when I walked in, everyone including Ally [Life Skills Manager], was fantastic. It was nice and friendly, not like college or a course I have been to before. Previously, I’ve gone to courses and then got straight out again. But with Life Skills, it’s like a family network. Everyone is in the same boat. If I felt a bit scared or on edge Ally said I could go out for a breather. When people offer you that, it makes people with anxiety feel better as you don’t feel trapped. 

Forming friendships

I mainly joined the Life Skills course to help me get out, and for my anxiety. But I did learn a lot of things through it. The coaching was good  — I could go home and tell my neighbours about the things we had been learning. But it’s the friendships which were good.

Building personal development skills

We set personal development goals with our 1:1 Life Skills Coach. Mine was to go to the supermarket with my partner and to walk to the next aisle by myself and choose one item. I also went to the local community garden and talked to them and got involved.

Life now

I’ve been able to get more confidence. I was able to go shopping myself, and I’ve got my own plot at the community garden now. It’s building confidence every day. The course means more than people think. Without the course I’d still be in the same place. 

If you come to the whole course you will get the full benefits. It’s beneficial for people like me with anxiety, or those who need to learn life skills. It’s a cracking course — there should be more things like this around!

 

Find your nearest Life Skills course

If you’re interested in joining your local CAP Life Skills course and growing your personal development skills, find your local group today.

Six encouraging Bible verses for the new year

calendar06 January 2022

Author: Hayley Tearall

Six encouraging Bible verses for the new year

As we enter 2022, maybe you’re feeling raring and ready to tackle whatever the year brings. But many of us, if we take a really honest look, might discover a little weariness or worry in some places.

Wherever you find yourself, here are six encouraging Bible verses for the new year that you can hold on to. They’re not just nice words, these verses are promises. You can take these scriptures like medicine, as a soothing reminder of God’s goodness over your life even when things feel uncertain.

1. ‘You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.’ Psalm 65:11 (NKJV)

This was my first pick of encouraging Bible verses for the new year, because it’s a reminder that God will sustain you. This Psalm of thanksgiving is thought to have been written after a year with lots of rain, resulting in a great harvest. David speaks of how God, through his kindness, blessed his people with ‘fatness’ – they would not go hungry because God provided a plentiful harvest of food to sustain them for another year.

Maybe last year felt plentiful to you, and maybe it didn’t at all. Maybe this year you’re worried about physical sustenance like food on the table, or maybe you’re concerned about finances or family. Rest in this: God promises to sustain you for another year.

2. ‘And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Here, Paul writes to thank the church in Philippi for sending him aid during his travels. He explains that by remembering and giving to Paul in his time of need, their gifts have been received as pleasing sacrifices to God. Paul then says that God will meet their needs in the same way.

This past year, just as you’ve given so generously to others with your time, money, service and prayer to those in need, God promises to meet your needs.

3. ‘“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”’ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Of course, Jeremiah 29:11 might feel like an obvious choice to put in post about ‘encouraging Bible verses for the new year’. It’s certainly one that, if you’ve been in church a long time, you’ll have heard on numerous occasions. But what does it actually mean that the same God who promised hope to those in exile is also extending hope to you today?

The Aramaic (Hebrew) word here for ‘hope’ actually means ‘thing that I long for’. God wants to give us the deepest desires of our hearts.

'A future’ means a ‘happy close of life, suggesting sometimes the idea of posterity, promised to the righteous’. The promise of hope and a future isn’t just for you, it’s for your family, your children, and their children. It’s an unbreakable, eternal hope.

(The generational promise of this verse reminds me of Cody Carnes’ ‘The Blessing’, a worship song that’s been sung in many churches over the last two years. Perhaps you could give it a listen and let his promises wash over you today.)

4. ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Whatever is going on in your life, God promises to hold you up, hold you tight and not let go. He surrounds you, supports you, and makes you strong and courageous. The word ‘strengthen’ here also means ‘fortify’, meaning he surrounds you with his protection, sheltering you from harm. Strength is not yours to muster up, and neither is courage. Instead, he actually promises to give it to you.

5. ‘I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.’ Malachi 3:6 (NIV)

One thing we can hold on to when faced with change and uncertainty is that God does not change. His goodness never ceases, his mercies never end. His love is unfailing and unwavering. Rest in the promise that because he does not change, facing uncertainty and the unknown cannot destroy you.

6. ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)

This year, maybe you have a list of prayers and petitions longer than ever before. Maybe your world has been turned upside down and it’s hard to know what to even pray for first. Maybe you came here in search of encouraging Bible verses for the new year because your new year feels overwhelming already.

Fear not. Peace is yours. God tells us to present every request to him (he also promises in Romans 8:26-27 to pray for us on our behalf when we can’t find the words) and promises us peace in return. God promises us his peace that goes beyond logic and circumstance and actually guards our hearts and minds, no matter what is going on around us.

We can have peace no matter what. The peace of God means peace of mind, undisturbed quietness, welfare and rest. It also means God’s gift of wholeness. This year, you can experience wholeness despite the brokenness around you.

 

I hope that these six encouraging Bible verses for the new year are promises you can return to over and over again as the year progresses. This year, we may not know what’s in store, but God does, and he promises us goodness, provision, protection and peace through it all. I pray that you’d discover his joy and peace in new ways this year as you hold on to his promises.

(And if, like me, you connect with God through worship, I wanted to leave you with one more song to listen to. This one is written from God’s point of view, and is chock-full of his promises and the truth of who he is. May it become an anthem for your 2022 – it’s certainly going to be mine. Listen now.)

Hope fulfilled: approaching Advent

calendar18 November 2021

Author: Alicia Chapman

Hope fulfilled: approaching Advent

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

(This devotional is taken from the October 2021 issue of our Lifted magazine)

As we enter the home stretch of 2021, our minds may begin to look ahead to the year’s end. Though the days grow shorter, we know light can still be found in this time. In a few weeks, all across the world, people will celebrate the birth of our King Jesus. In the season of Adent, we remember with gratitude and honour our Emmanuel, who chose to live with us.

This time of year brings with it a sense of waiting, of expectation, and of hope that things will be different. As the Church approaches Advent, we are reminded of the greatest countdown in history: the desperate longing to see the light promised to those who dwell in darkness, and the King who will make every wrong thing right. Across the world, people like you and me will be entering a time of reflection, looking back on all that 2021 held and daring to hope for all that 2022 may bring.

This year, more than ever, after the turbulence of a global pandemic, I remind myself that the longing and anticipation for hope fulfilled is not in vain. God fulfilled his promises to his people, as he always does. And so Jesus, the light, stepped into our darkness, our mess, our pain, forever declaring to humanity ‘you will not walk alone’.

For many, the pandemic put parts of life on hold. In this season of hoping for better things to come, we may feel like those people who wondered when the hoped-for Messiah would arrive. Yet we know that God is here with us. He came just as he said he would and is with us now. Even now he is doing what he does best: stepping into brokenness, pain and darkness, to restore, redeem, heal and transform. As we set our hope on all that is to come, may we know the light that has shone in the darkness, and may we witness him do it again. 

Will you join me in praying for his light to break through across our nation today?

A day in the life of a CAP Debt Centre Manager

calendar30 September 2021

Author: Claire Wong

A day in the life of a CAP Debt Centre Manager

For 25 years, CAP has been providing a free debt help service. But what does that actually involve? What does it mean to run a CAP Debt Centre? We sat down with two of our brilliant centre managers to find out more about the life-transforming work they do.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your jobs. Let’s start by introducing you to our readers!

Rachel: I’m Rachel Ryan, Debt Centre Manager at the Darlington Debt Centre, which opened during lockdown.

Maria: And I’m Maria Baker; I started out as a Debt Centre Manager in Chippenham last March.

 

Tell us a bit about what a day in the life of a Debt Centre Manager looks like.

Rachel: My actual day to day job is hard to define – I think most Debt Centre Managers will tell you that no day is the same as the next! Some weeks my time is spent doing client-based work – going to visit clients in their homes, following up on things they are struggling with, whether that be getting them food parcels, dealing with paperwork they can’t organise, helping them access various services. Then there is the element of building up their trust, getting to know them better, introducing them to befrienders etc.

Other weeks find me involved in much more admin-based tasks. This week for example, my focus is on chasing up people who have expressed interest in volunteering or referring clients to us – giving them a nudge to remind them of previous conversations we’ve had! I will also spend time in updating our centre entry on our church’s website, preparing a talk for a local church who have asked me to explain my work to their congregation, (in the hopes they will offer support – both volunteer and financial!) and preparing a presentation for a local Cancer Support group who want to make their members aware of our services and how we can help them. I’m also needing to liaise with some local church leaders about using their town centre space for client meetings, for occasions when the home environment is not appropriate.

Maria: Since our Debt Centre opened in May I have been supporting seven different individuals or families, and have found this incredibly rewarding and also varied. Definitely no two days are the same. It has involved going school uniform shopping with a family who have four school-aged children, and providing £100 towards the cost. On another occasion I helped by feeding a client's cat so that he was able to do a work trial away from home. He successfully got the job, which is fantastic news. We helped another family move house: they had no transport and couldn't afford to pay for a removal company.

(Pictured above: Maria Baker, Debt Centre Manager at the CAP Debt Centre in Chippenham)

 

You both became Debt Centre Managers during the pandemic. What was that like?

Maria: It has been an exciting new adventure, and time and again I have seen God’s provision and perfect timing. My previous job was helping people into work and learning mainly at the job centre, and during the pandemic I spoke to so many people struggling financially, due to redundancy and reduction in income. I always wanted to do more to practically support those in need. And being able to pray with clients and bring hope is amazing.  I was able to complete my training online during Covid-19 and found the variety of learning and content was excellent. 

Rachel: Training as a Debt Centre Manager and opening a Debt Centre during lockdown also meant I have had a very different initial experience to most of my more established colleagues.

The first nine months were spent running the debt centre exclusively online, via email or on the phone! I worked from a corner of my living room, alongside my Labrador, (who’d occasionally join in with meetings) my pyjama clad teenagers (who would waft through in search of food in the kitchen) and taking my tea breaks with my husband who was working from our dining room! This was very different from my previous job, working in a primary school, where I rarely sat at a desk at all.

(Pictured above: Rachel Ryan, Debt Centre Manager of the CAP Debt Centre at Darlington)

 

It sounds like it’s never a dull moment at your Debt Centres! What have been some of the highlights this year?

Rachel: Highlights so far for me have been getting our first debt free client via a Debt Relief Order – someone who had come to know about us through our own church food bank. Also there has been the delight of a client joining me and a befriender in prayer for her situation and another client asking to come along to church with me. Every time I get the opportunity to say to clients that there is ‘always hope’, I’m filled again with the knowledge of how privileged I am to do this job.

Maria: Some of my highlights to date include doing a sponsored cycle ride for CAP with the children from our church; we raised over £1,500 and had such a great time! At our CAP launch service, we had lots of visitors from other churches and also our local MP, it was so great to share how we can support our local community through CAP. And we raised money via Acts 435 for a fridge freezer and washing machine for a family in need. The family were blown away with the help they received.

 

If you’re struck by how Rachel and Maria go above and beyond to care for others, you’d be absolutely right. Our frontline workers are unsung heroes, and we hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the life of a CAP Debt Centre Manager.

Find out how you can support the work of our CAP Debt Centres, in your local community and others across the UK.

Roy’s story: debt help without judgement

calendar15 September 2021

Author: Roy, debt free since 2021

Roy’s story: debt help without judgement

This week we’re so excited to welcome Roy as a guest writer to the CAP blog. Roy sought help from CAP’s Debt Help service back in 2018, and has recently become debt free! As he was approaching debt freedom, Roy sat back to reflect on the past three years. Here are some thoughts that he felt inspired to share about his journey. Over to you, Roy...

Where it began

As I sit writing this testimony I am counting down the hours until my final payment to Christians Against Poverty, which will signal the end of years of debt problems. Even typing those words it still seems impossible to believe!

I had tried many times to get on top of my debt but, rather like a serial dieter, once I began to make progress I would go on a spending binge and create even greater problems. When I approached CAP in October 2018 I had £15,000 worth of debt, comprising a large bank overdraft, maxed out credit cards, historic banking debts, store card debts, and money owed to doorstep lenders. It finally all got on top of me and I found it impossible to cope.

CAP was recommended to me by a pastor in one of the churches I used to attend. She spoke very highly of them but I remained to be convinced. I felt very ashamed at having to ask for help and did not know what to expect.

But I needn’t have worried. Sheila Fielding, the CAP Debt Centre Manager in Blackburn, was so supportive and professional. No blaming or shaming, just debt help without judgement. Sheila offered a simple, objective approach to accessing my indebtedness, my income and expenditure, and a clear statement of what would happen next and what I might expect in the future.

Looking back

Reflecting on the past two and a half years, it has been a long journey. Sometimes it felt as if it would never end. But throughout, Sheila and the team at CAP head office in Bradford have been alongside, encouraging, advising and supporting me. There have been cheerful group meetings in a local church hall, online conversations and advice, and prayer on the phone when I needed it with individual workers in Bradford.

On reflection it has been an enjoyable journey but please don’t get the idea that it was easy. CAP is rigorous in its oversight of the process and that is what I needed. Living on a severely restricted budget for that long is very hard, but it does teach self-discipline.

CAP has shown me how to save rather than spend, and now that at last I do have more spending power I shall still not be taking my foot off the brake. The amount I used to send to CAP each month will now go into a savings fund. I have learnt that I can manage on my remaining income. I now understand the wisdom of my grandmother’s advice: ‘If you don’t have the money for something, don’t borrow to pay for it; save for it. It causes far fewer problems in the long run.’

With the money I begin to save, I would love to go to Rwanda and visit the two boys I sponsor there. My church sponsors over 100 children and every so often they send out a team – I would really like to do that.

Thank you

As the process comes to a conclusion I want to say a couple of things. Firstly, I’d like to say thanks so much to Sheila Fielding and the team for providing me with debt help without judgement. It took me a while to reach out because I felt ashamed, but it’s a wonderful service that CAP provides, and I come out of this a much wiser man than when I entered it. God bless you all richly, and may he empower you to help many more people achieve the peace I now feel.

And for those of you who need help with your finances, there’s no shame in asking for help. When Sheila came, she encouraged me and she was brilliant. There was not one hint of judgement about it. It was so clear all they wanted to do was help and sort things out and it was amazing.

 

To access free, local debt help without judgement, find out more about our CAP Debt Help service today.

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