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Impact Report

A look back at 2018

Thanks to every single one of our supporters, 2018 was an exceptional year for CAP in more ways than one. There’s a lot to praise God for! Thousands of people saw their lives completely turned around – people like Paul, Aida, Jenny, Alfie and Sara, whose incredible stories you’ll have a chance to hear in this 2018 impact report.

Thousands welcomed into community

Thanks to your support of our Created for community campaign, our local centre teams can continue to visit families at home, run community-based group services and invite clients to church, offering vital companionship and support that lasts long after their time with CAP has ended.

Premier partnership raises vital funds

As Premier Christian Radio’s Charity of the Year, we’re delighted to have welcomed over 550 new Life Changers to the family and to have raised over £10,000 in one-off donations. Overall, £92,000 has been raised so far! The partnership continues until the end of March - we can’t wait to see what’s still to come!

The number of clients who became debt free in 2018

2,575

Debt Help

When we speak to clients after they become debt free, there’s a phrase we hear time and time again: ‘It’s like a weight off my shoulders’. It speaks volumes about the impact on their lives.

For so many, debt is like a heavy chain, pulling them down and making every step they take difficult and exhausting. When they finally receive that call to say ‘You’ve made it!’, whether they’ve been repaying what they owe bit by bit or the solution has come through insolvency, a burden is lifted. They’re not only set free financially, but often mentally, physically and spiritually too.

Just stop for a minute and imagine what ‘debt free’ means for each individual involved. No more demanding phone calls, no more fear when there’s a knock at the door, no more sleepless nights spent worrying about money. We know that freedom from debt means so much more than taking back control of finances – relationships, mental health and many other parts of life improve too. By supporting CAP, you made this a reality for 2,575 clients last year.

What’s more, we received a record number of calls to our helpline (almost 32,000!) This means more people than ever before have started their journey out of debt and towards that life-changing goal. The need may be growing, but we’re answering it with hope - and that’s what it’s all about. 

The number of Fresh Start members who met a self set goal in 2018

125

Fresh Start

Addictions and dependencies remain one of the most common causes of poverty in the UK. That’s why one of our group services is dedicated to helping people find freedom from them.

First launched in 2014, CAP Release Groups went through a bit of a facelift in 2018, relaunching in May as Fresh Start. 

Throughout the year, these community groups helped members to meet a total of 125 self set goals on their journey towards leaving their dependency behind for good.

Whether it’s smoking, gambling, binge drinking, an internet addiction or another life-controlling habit or dependency, your generous support is enabling people to see their lives transformed all over the UK through Fresh Start, with many of them discovering their true worth in Christ too. 

The number of clients who made a response to Jesus in 2018

885

Good news

‘There’s something different about you.’ our clients often say about CAP and their local centre team, ‘I just can’t put my finger on it!’ It’s such a joy to answer that we’re different because we come with Jesus! 

For lots of the people we meet, it’s the first time they’ve encountered the gospel and often they’re pleasantly surprised! It’s always incredible to see someone who was once broken, lonely and out of hope discover God’s unconditional love for them – a friend and Father who will never leave or forsake them.

Your support helped 885 clients to discover the life changing power of a relationship with Jesus last year. That sets the total since CAP began at more than 8,000!

This is a real testament to the holistic service we're able to provide because we always partner with local churches. It gives us the opportunity to show God's love in action by offering to pray with our clients face to face. We can invite them to church and client events or nominate them to go on a Discovery Break, all of which offer a safe environment to ask questions and explore faith further.

In 2018, we ran 13 Discovery Breaks giving hundreds of clients and their families a much needed rest. Supporters like you played a key role in this through two crowdfunding campaigns, helping to raise over £44,000 to fund these life changing breaks. 

The number of Job Club members who found work in 2018

633

Job Clubs

Year on year, our Job Clubs service is growing and advancing. The groups are designed to support members in finding work and tackling another of the main causes of poverty: unemployment.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of people out of work in the UK fell to a 40-year low in 2018, which is great news. However, 1.36 million Brits are still unemployed. There’s more – much more – to be done.

Unemployment affects more than a person’s financial situation. Through work, people find purpose, self-confidence and community. That’s why we’ll never stop celebrating each time a Job Club member finds work, just like 633 did in 2018 thanks to your support.

We’re happy to say Life Skills is growing quickly too! 753 new members were welcomed at a Life Skills group last year. There they learned to better manage their money, maintain healthy relationships, juggle various household needs on a tight budget and much more, all alongside new friends facing similar situations. Like Job Clubs, Life Skills can be totally transforming and it’s your support enabling it to grow. 

The number of policy publications released in 2018 (including reports, consultations, briefings and newsletters)

42

Speaking up for the poor

At CAP we’re committed to making life better not just for those we help, but for the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable. 

We have teams committed to making sure we’re providing the very best for our clients. Plus, we’re working tirelessly with the credit, energy, water, telecoms and enforcement industries, as well as local and central government, to give a voice to the voiceless. 

God is amplifying that voice more than we could imagine. 

In October 2018, we released Never just a number, an independent report from the London School of Economics. It looks at the wider social impact of CAP and our partner churches, valuing it at £32 million a year!

Also in 2018, we launched our annual client report in Westminster with Archbishop Justin Welby, released the Powerless People report, which looks at the experience of debt collection by local and central government, and responded to 17 consultations on issues including Breathing Space and High Cost Credit. Phew! 

As a CAP supporter, you are key in the developments being made. Together we’re making serious waves in the UK. 

The people you've helped

Paul

‘The first time Jane from CAP visited, I was an absolute mess. Previously I’d had a good job so I was managing to pay off my credit card easily, but now I had absolutely no income.

In hindsight, it all started with depression.

The depression meant I started drinking heavily and I was no longer able to work. I’d start drinking on a Monday and, before I knew it, it was Saturday and I’d have no recollection of the week. Jane told me about a local charity where people having difficulties go along and help. I started helping to upcycle bicycles. Eventually they got me on a course and now I’m qualified in cycle mechanics. It all started with CAP.

My Debt Relief Order came through. Now I have no debts whatsoever.

Sometimes I even have money for a little treat like a curry on a Friday night. I’ve been on an amazing journey, from waking up on the floor after a five-day binge, to becoming debt free and finding Jesus, having a new qualification and now volunteering as a befriender with CAP – sometimes I just think, “Wow!” What I’d like people to know is that I waited too long to ask for help. It’s hard sometimes, especially for men, to say they don’t feel alright, but it’s OK not to be OK. Pick up the phone and ask for help.’

Aida

'I suffer from anxiety and depression. Often I’d have a cigarette so that no one would notice my anxiety. I was smoking 20 a day. It wasn’t just my health suffering, but my money as well. I was spending money on the cigarettes and on deodorant and disinfectant too so that I wouldn’t smell and the house wouldn’t smell.

I was hiding the smoking from my young daughter. I felt ashamed. Fresh Start really empowered me to open up.

Slowly, it was like, “Wow!” The group made me feel loved and respected. No one was judging or pointing the finger at me. It was a community together, supporting one another. Whatever time we had left after the session, we’d have dinner together.

The day I recognised the root of the addiction, that’s when it hit me. 

After that, I was able to avoid it. Instead, I talk with my daughter or go for a walk. Now I’m down from 20 cigarettes a day to ten a week.

With CAP’s support, I found inner strength. Everything was taught step by step and there was no pressure.

If I didn’t do Fresh Start, I don’t know if I’d be here. My finance, my health, my depression – everything would have rocketed. Now I’m able to recognise it when it comes and think, “Yes, I can handle this”.’

Jenny

‘I’d been in an abusive relationship for 17 years and fled to a refuge with my kids. As well as dealing with the isolation I’d faced during the relationship, I suffered from anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For me, CAP Life Skills was ideal. I’d been isolated for so long. I bonded with the other group members and I’ve ended up with a group of good friends.

There was one session on forgiveness. As a kid, somebody close tried to sexually abuse me. After the session I thought, “How can I forgive him?” I said a little prayer, asking God to help me understand. That night I had a really vivid dream. I saw the person and he asked me for forgiveness. I never realised the power of prayer until then. 

I made a commitment to God at a CAP client event and went on to join a course run through the church to learn more.

Then, at a CAP Discovery Break in Shropshire, a little miracle happened that left me and my kids gobsmacked. We were in the garden and saw the end of a rainbow! I told everyone, “That’s God showing off”.

I just feel totally different – so much brighter and more colourful now. 

Since handing my life over to Jesus, I’ve been loving life instead of wakingup every morning and thinking, “Not another day”. I’ve started writing poetry and taking pictures. It really is like being born again.’ 

Alfie

‘I was out of work and my confidence was in bits. I have a learning disability – I can’t read and write well. I didn’t have the confidence to go for anything new. Practically, it was difficult because I’m a single parent with two boys – the oldest is eight and the youngest is five - so the only time I can work is when the kids are at school. 

I found out about the Job Club from my church. I was actually surprised how nice the people were. They helped me to write out my CV, and there were sessions on interviews and what I needed to do to get back into work.

As my confidence grew, I thought I’d nip up to the local football ground and see if they had any jobs going. Now I’m working there as a steward. I never thought I’d actually be doing something like this.

I have you lot – everyone at CAP and everyone who supports it – to thank for getting me here. 

Since then I’ve been able to go back to the Job Club and talk to other groups about my experience. I’m looking for different jobs and doing lots of application forms. I’m helping to organise a conference at church too. I’ve got confidence now that I didn’t have before.’

Sara

‘I was in an extremely bad place when I was in debt. I was terrified to go out, I couldn’t have the windows open in the house, I was getting big red sheets of paper with demands trying to scare me. I was constantly paying off loans and credit cards so I had no food in the cupboards. I went through self harm and thought about how to take my own life. 

The first meeting with CAP had such an impact. They were able to look me in the eye and reassure me; they were able to hold my hand. Together we found the best solution to my debts.

CAP go the extra mile. That makes a massive difference. They’re like the fifth emergency service, going round and picking up the pieces of broken people and their lives.

I felt very blessed to be asked to share my story with MPs at an event in October. I wanted to give back. 

If I can help other people to find help, that’s really important to me. 

I’ve been through it and I wanted to give a voice to other people struggling too. If you treat someone like they’re no good to society then that’s really harmful, but if you give them purpose then they grow.’ 

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