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21 March 2012

Debt-ridden Londoners need the churches' help, say CAP

Debt-ridden Londoners need the churches' help, say CAP

Christians are being encouraged to stand in the gap for people whose lives are being ravaged by the misery of personal debt.

In 190 towns and cities in the UK (21 of which are in London), people coping with financial crisis are able to get the kind of free debt counselling that has won Christians Against Poverty (CAP) awards – face-to-face, non-judgemental care delivered in the client's home.

Now the charity is calling specifically for London's churches to come forward to plug the gaps where there is still no centre.

A team from the Bradford headquarters is travelling to London for a series of events this week aimed at engaging with the capital's church leaders and explaining the range of new partnership options available.

CAP's founder John Kirkby told the Alliance: “The heartbreak comes when someone rings from an area where we have no partner church and we have to sign-post them to something that we know in our heart-of-hearts just won't be quite as good.”

More than a third of clients calling for debt help are suicidal; with many missing meals; struggling with relationships and enduring sleepless nights so professional support can be a life-saver.

In London, rental debt is pushing up the average amount clients owe to £17,244 – a staggering £4,000 more than they earn in a whole year.

“For those thousands of clients we do see, there is often a dramatic transformation as we sit in their homes and listen to what has happened, contact their creditors, work out a budget, help them feel some hope.

“It's also a missed opportunity for the local church not just to watch people become debt free over the months and years but to show someone the love of God in a very practical and professional way.”

Church leaders are being asked to attend breakfast presentations happening in Twickenham, Harringey, Barnet, Harrow, Barking and Eltham either side of a church partnership day on Wednesday at Central Hall, Westminster for anyone wanting to find out more.

Senior leaders wanting to attend should call 01274 760580 and ask to speak to a member of the church partnership team.