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.
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.
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.