UK poverty is the grinding, seemingly endless, despair-inducing sort, and it’s no surprise these factors can have an impact on someone’s outlook.
When people first call CAP for debt help, it’s often at the end of an on-going struggle - spoiling relationships, affecting sleep, preventing regular meals, nagging away at self-worth and gradually isolating people from friends and even family. Anxiety accompanies every day.
Will bailiffs come? Will I lose my home? How will this end?
One of CAP’s core values is to give the best to those with the least, and we’ve become industry leaders, winning multiple awards, for our service to people who find they are at a vulnerable point in their lives.
This is some of what makes our service unique:
- We see people in their home, making CAP completely accessible
- CAP deals with all the post and negotiates with all the creditors
- Each debt centre has a team of volunteer befrienders to cheer and support clients
- The local church offers an instant caring community in the locality
On that first home visit, we leave every new client with a pile of freepost envelopes, which they can use to post any more demands straight to our head office in Bradford. Once CAP is proactive in communicating with the companies involved, the client finds the distressing phone calls and letters soon stop, giving them some much-needed breathing space.
Just showing that we care can make a massive difference too. Our volunteers and debt coaches can offer friendship, encouragement and one-to-one support alongside the practical help. All our front-line staff receive training to help them understand different mental health conditions.
CAP isn’t a mental health charity, of course, and we’re always ready to signpost people to their GP, the Samaritans, mental health team or others if we feel they need more in-depth assistance. Dr Rob Waller, a Consultant Psychiatrist in Scotland explained why CAP’s service is so unusual, ‘We need supports that understand both the money and the mind; can help with the debt, but also with the loneliness and isolation. CAP is one such organisation, whose befrienders are an absolute lifeline - especially to those who struggle with their mental health’.
CAP is also working behind the scenes to make sure the voice of the most vulnerable is heard. We know that even the tiniest changes by big organisations can result in huge improvements for people. Therefore, we do all we can to ensure the experiences of our clients are described to those at the top, making the decisions.
We’re meeting with the Government, utility companies; we’ve recently been round the table with Ofgem and making presentations to the finance industry. CAP is also feeding into the work of Martin Lewis’ new Debt and Mental Health Policy Institute which seeks to research and develop policy proposals to improve the people’s lives.