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Campaign success could save thousands of lives

calendar01 May 2018

Caseworkers at award-winning charity Christians Against Poverty are celebrating after the success of a landmark campaign saw a change in UK law help people who are in both mental health crisis and struggling with serious debt.

Campaigners from as many as 23 organisations, including CAP, lobbied parliament for extra breathing space for those in serious debt who are in hospital or under the care of a community crisis team.

The campaign, led by Martin Lewis’s Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and backed by more than 80 MPs, sought breathing space from further interest, charges and enforcement action as part of the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill.

The institute argued those in mental health crises struggle to seek debt advice but should not be excluded from 'breathing space' as a result. It estimates up to 23,000 people a year experience problem debt while in hospital for a mental health crisis.

In a recent survey, more than half of CAP’s clients said they live in a household where at least one person suffered from mental ill-health and 34% shared they had either considered or attempted suicide as a way out of debt.

Matt Barlow, CAP CEO, said: “We are delighted that common sense has prevailed. Every day we receive phone calls from people in desperate situations. We can help them and give them hope that there is always a way forward. However, it is more difficult for those calling from hospital. They shouldn’t have to be worrying about their financial problems while they are being cared for, but the breathing space should make all the difference.”

Christians Against Poverty is a charity that gives free help to everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background. Starting 20 years ago, it first offered debt counselling and now offers a range of help to tens of thousands of people in hardship across the UK every year.

Anyone in need of help should call 0800 3280006.

CAP publishes latest client report: Bringing restoration to desolate homes

calendar21 March 2018

CAP publishes latest client report: Bringing restoration to desolate homes

Today CAP launches the latest Client report showing the unbelievable reality of debt and poverty in the UK and the hope CAP is able to bring through the local Church. The report aims to take the reader beyond the facts and figures and show them the deeply personal impacts of problem debt, how it feels and why holistic support is vital. Download the report here.

The report includes a foreword by CAP's Patron, Archbishop Justin Welby, who will also be speaking at the report launch this evening (Wednesday 21 March). The launch is taking place at the House of Lords, with more than 40 MPs signed up to come, along with members of the credit industry, national journalists and some brave clients who will be sharing their stories.

Life Savers

calendar21 March 2018

Life Savers

Written by Nicky Starr

It’s a dark hole, I’m deep down inside,
Searching for a way out,
But the answers I cannot find.

The bills are in piles,
Getting bigger every day.
So many to deal with,
I can’t make it all go away.

The mounting debt causes sleepless nights,
I’m so tired of this,
There’s no end in sight.

The phone rings a million times a day,
I dare not answer it, I cannot afford to pay,
It’s fear and dread in every possible way.

Pay up now or the bailiffs will be round,
But how can I do that?
There’s no spare money to be found.

Crying myself to sleep,
And skipping meals,
For my children I need to keep.
I’m drowning fast,
It’s all too much, this nightmare cannot last.

Then through the darkness there came a light,
I could see an end in sight,
Christians Against Poverty showed me the way,
To keep all my debts at bay.

They took it all off my hands,
A debt coach and a befriender were by my side,
A budget set up and debts being paid, savings put aside,
For the first time in ages, I didn’t have to hide.

Together we battled on,
Four years seven months later we finally won,
You are now debt free,
Now this I couldn’t believe,
Good things don’t happen to me.

The support didn’t stop there,
I had made two good friends in Julie and Ken,
They were still by my side,
Helping me in other ways, as well as a job I couldn’t find.

CAP Job Clubs was launched in my town,
Mine was the first name put down,
Giving me confidence every week,
Feeling able to apply for the job I was looking to seek.

Then I found myself questioning this journey with CAP from the start,
Something was happening inside my own heart,
Looking back, I had seen the signs,
But before it had been just blurry lines.

I am now learning about my faith, working through my own personal hell,
So this story I just had to tell,
I didn’t find Christians Against Poverty, Christians Against Poverty found me,
And through God, they saved my life in more ways than you will ever believe.

Life Savers was written by Nicky Starr. It's the winning piece in our client poetry competition 2018. Thanks to everyone who entered - we were blown away with the quality of the entries we received!

CAP goes flat out with pancake flip mob in centre of Bradford

calendar14 February 2018

CAP goes flat out with pancake flip mob in centre of Bradford

On Shrove Tuesday (13 Feb) staff, volunteers and supporters of Christians Against Poverty (CAP) gathered in Bradford’s City Park for a pancake flipping flash mob. The event saw a group of around fifty people whipping out their frying pans to cheerfully flip, juggle and even play catch with their pancakes for a continuous five minutes (to varying degrees of success!) Health and safety was observed throughout and every dropped pancake was disposed of once the event was over.

The ‘flip mob’ was part of CAP’s latest campaign, the Flipping Marvellous Pancake Party, which has seen people getting together up and down the country to highlight the work CAP does to tackle UK poverty.

Beth Prescott, the flip mob’s organiser and Pancake Party President, said, ‘There was a brilliant atmosphere in City Park during the flip mob, with lots of laughing, a wide range of flipping skills and we had so many people joining in!’

‘While this was an incredibly fun moment, we did it to highlight a serious problem. Living with problem debt is miserable, but CAP works hard to flip lives around by lifting people out of poverty. It’s a message of hope that we wanted everyone to hear and used this opportunity to spread that message.’

CAP recognised as first ever Champion of the Keep Me Posted campaign

calendar30 January 2018

CAP recognised as first ever Champion of the Keep Me Posted campaign

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has been named as the first ever 'Champion' supporter of the Keep Me Posted campaign to ensure consumers are not digitally and financially excluded.

The Keep Me Posted campaign recognises service providers who offer paper bills or statements free of charge, without altering their frequency unless they have consulted recipients first and without removing access to online services. Keep Me Posted already has the support of over 100 organisations, such as mental health charity Mind, the National Consumer Federation and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The new 'Champion' status is a reflection of how CAP provides all debt clients with the option of paper statements as well as face-to-face visits for each one in their own home.

Judith Donovan CBE, Chair of the Keep Me Posted campaign, said, 'Christians Against Poverty choosing to be our very first Keep Me Posted Champion is a reflection of both the ethos and the day-to-day work of the charity. Their recent study, Offline and shut out, clearly demonstrates that those who are in debt and poverty are less likely to have internet access, which restricts their ability to manage their financial affairs online. We are delighted to have their support and look forward to working closely together in the future.'

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