Beyond budgeting: an interview with Senior Debt Advisor, Liz

Liz and her team support hundreds on the journey out of debt each week. 
Becky Woodward

Stories Researcher with a love for authentic and compassionate storytelling.

An interview with Senior Debt Advisor, Liz. 

(Average read time: 3 minutes)

Broken budgets are becoming more and more common amongst our clients, but we’ll never give up helping people, says Senior Debt Advisor, Liz.

How has your work as a Senior Debt Advisor changed in the last few years?

When I first started, even if people were on basic benefits, as long as something didn’t go particularly wrong in their life, they had enough to eat, heat their home and buy essential items. Now, it doesn’t matter what you do or how well you budget, the reality is you cannot afford everything. Heat or eat: pick one.

It’s a hierarchy of problems. It used to be that debt was the biggest problem at the top of the pyramid. Now debt is two or three rungs down. Ridiculously low income and unemployment are blaring problems. I can deal with the debt, but the reality is that becoming debt free doesn’t sort ongoing financial struggles. People need community: the support to make long-term changes in their lives. I’m so thankful for our local Debt Coaches as they can offer that support. I know there’s someone alongside clients, involving them in a community, inviting them for a cup of coffee, making sure they have enough to eat, providing support for their family or somewhere warm to go when they have no heating.

What motivates you to keep going and help more clients?

Focusing on the change I can make, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the changes I can’t make.

My bread and butter is debt advice, and the jam is getting to brighten someone’s day; showing love and kindness. That’s what I really love about my job. It can be how I word client communications or checking in on someone with a quick phone call. The cases that stick with me are where people have just needed someone to listen.

I remember telling one woman how well she was doing, as any of the multiple things she was facing would take anyone out. All she saw was everything she wasn’t accomplishing, but the fact that she was still getting up in the morning was an incredible thing. She needed to hear that encouragement as no one else was telling her!

Nine years ago, God told me to work at CAP. Today, I’m a Senior Debt Advisor based at our Bradford head office. My team gets all the information sent to us from new clients and we work out the best advice for the individual. Being able to play out my beliefs and passions in my day-to-day life is an incredible thing. 

– Liz, Senior Debt Advisor 

How can people pray for the situations being faced?

You can pray righteously that God changes the hearts of people in power. Pray that Debt Advisors stay positive and have energy and strength. Pray that our clients’ lives improve and that the UK rises up. Unless the population of the UK gets outraged and shows that outrage, nothing’s going to change. Be outraged. Shout about injustice. Don’t let it disappear into the background.

If someone is feeling that sense of injustice, what can they do?

Practically, you can give financially to CAP. People are struggling to keep their head above water and your giving can enable them to get the support they need. If that’s not possible at the moment, you can speak to your MP or send them a quick email, urging them to prioritise UK poverty. You can share things on social media. Perhaps you have the time to spread an awareness post or share a news article showing how tough things are. Ask your church what they’re doing as well. How are they meeting the needs of your community?