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Patricia's story

Christians Against Poverty Northern Ireland Client report 2019

Having got into debt as a teenager trying to help her family after her mum had a stroke, Patricia’s debts continued to grow.  She kept her borrowing secret from everyone. When her husband found out, their relationship ended. Patricia felt constant anxiety, unable to concentrate and felt like she had failed her children.  She saw no hope for the future until Wendy from CAP visited her.

Like Patricia, millions feel stuck in an inescapable cycle, facing mounting debts and relentless poverty coupled with seemingly insurmountable personal difficulties. The people we meet at CAP have not only disengaged from their creditors, but are often completely isolated. Going to bed hungry has become the new norm and many have no means to buy or repair essential household items.

In 2018, CAP helped someone like Patricia over 1,600 times in Northern Ireland (and 24,300 times across the UK), bringing stability and providing the tools and the self-belief needed to move forward.

Download the report to read more of Patricia’s story and the impact CAP’s Debt Help service, Job Clubs, Life Skills and Fresh Start groups are having in Northern Ireland.

Download our 2019 Client report


'CAP have changed my life”, that’s what I tell people. We are sometimes short on cash, but we don’t worry, we budget and we monitor it closely. We have heating and we have electric. I’ve been through so much, but I’m out the other side now and I am a stronger person, ready for whatever life throws at me. For the first time in my life I feel like I belong, there’s no fear or worry anymore.'

Low income, relationship breakdown and mental ill health are the main triggers for CAP clients’ debt problems in Northern Ireland


of outstanding debt is owed to priority creditors – i.e. those with more serious consequences if the debt is not paid including rent, mortgages and arrears on essential household bills


One in three (31%) are behind with one household bill and seven in ten clients (71%) took out credit to pay a household bill or another debt


Three in four (75%) said their mental health deteriorated because of debt worries, three in ten (31%) found their physical health suffered


More than four in five (86%) Northern Irish CAP clients in relationships said debt had caused arguments, causing complete relationship breakdown in about a third (34%) of cases


Three in ten (28%) lived without carpets and/or curtains in their home and 45% cannot buy basic toiletries

Contact our PR team:
01274 761924
Contact our Northern Ireland team:
028 9527 7964

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