‘You are my last hope.’
‘Good morning, you’re speaking to Sheree. Are you calling about debt help?’
As soon as I pick up the phone, all my senses are finely tuned to the story about to unfold before me.
Every story is different, but they all have the same, strong thread running through them: desperation, hopelessness and despair.
The calls are coming in thick and fast now, one after another after another.
People have heard we can help and are so, so desperate to talk with someone who will listen, someone who might be able to shine a tiny light into their own situation.
‘I don’t know what to do.’
‘I feel so alone.’
‘I’m being hounded by bailiffs.’
All common conversations I have with people everyday.
‘I have 64p left in my purse to last for the next two weeks.’
‘I don’t have any food for my children.’
Then the unimaginable comes out of their mouth: ‘I can’t do this anymore, I actually don’t have anyone in my life at the moment, you are my last hope’.
Last hope… last hope… last hope… It’s ringing in my ears. How can I begin to turn this around, how can I leave them in a better place than when they called in?
This is no longer just the debt and the constant worry. It’s the emotional and physical impact it has on them and those around them. It’s the constant wearing down of them until they have nothing left anymore.
How can this be? How can things have gotten so bad that people feel such desperation? They’ve summoned every ounce of energy to make this call.
This is a life and death situation. For some, they‘ve made the decision that this is intended to be the last call they ever make.
Quickly, I check that there is a CAP centre in their postcode area whilst keeping them talking, offering them a vital connection to a person who will listen, a real person, not an automated voice.
Can I offer them the lifeline they need? Can I give them the vital link that’s missing in their life - someone to deal with the creditors on their behalf, someone who will finally turn their situation around?
Yes! Thankfully we have a centre in their area. I say a silent prayer as a thank you to those who have supported CAP over the years so that we don’t have to turn this person away.
I hear the words coming out of my mouth. ’We can help you. You won’t have to do this on your own anymore. We are here for you and we are going to support you and see you become debt free.’
As I continue with the call, taking more details and booking them an appointment, I can hear the change in their voice. There is a new lightness about them.
‘Last hope’ ringing in my ears has now been replaced by, ‘Thank you… thank you… thank you’.
Wow, I can’t begin to explain how this feels. I feel in a very privileged position to be able to do such a small thing, but to hear the massive difference this small thing can make to a person’s life.
Ring, ring. Another call is coming in.
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Sheree Morris joined CAP five years ago and has worked as an Operator in the New Enquiries team ever since.