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This is our story: the impact of poverty in a pandemic

calendar28 April 2021

This is our story: the impact of poverty in a pandemic

Today we’re releasing the ‘Our story’ report, which shows how poverty in the COVID-19 pandemic is destroying lives across the UK.

Read the report



We asked our clients about their lives before they got debt help. Over a quarter (28%) considered or attempted suicide before seeking debt help. Over a third (37%) sacrificed meals because they couldn't afford to eat. Over half (58%) felt trapped in poverty with nobody to turn to when they had a problem.

Young people were the least likely age group to seek help despite them being among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Only 8% of CAP clients in 2020 were aged between 18-25.

Former CAP client, Paula Goddard, from Colchester explains how debt impacted her family: ‘My husband and I worked for the same company and we were both made redundant. After the redundancy the debts started building; rent arrears, Council Tax arrears, doorstep loans, catalogue loans. We were missing meals four or five nights a week so that the kids could have dinner. I didn’t want to go out, I couldn’t speak to anyone on the phone. It was a horrendous time.’

Our UK Chief Executive, Paula Stringer, says: ‘Our latest report gives just a glimpse of how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives. I believe there are millions more families in debt across the UK still suffering in silence.’

During the pandemic, debt help charities like CAP are continuing to work tirelessly to free people from the chains of poverty. Christians Against Poverty helped over 16,000 people in 2020. Over 280 local CAP Debt Centres are continuing to work alongside those in the community who’re struggling, and CAP ran over 800 budgeting courses to help equip people with the tools they need to stay out of debt. Over 2,500 people still went debt free despite the pandemic.

Despite all the challenges of the last year, we want everyone to know there is hope. There are charities out there who can offer free, expert help out of debt. Getting debt help can quickly relieve the pressure, ease the strain on people's mental health and help them get their lives back on track.

Read the report

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