A debt charity has seen demand rocket by 38 per cent since the start of 2016.
Christians Against Poverty, which helps people of all faiths and none, has seen numbers of callers grow from an average of 449 people a week to massive 618.
“Our team answering the freephone helpline number have been flat out,” said CAP’s
Chief Executive Matt Barlow.
“In fact we’ve broken our own records six times already this year for the number of calls received in a single day. One day, in the last week of March we topped more than 250 calls for help and these levels don’t appear to be lessening. There doesn’t appear to be any particular trend although we have had more people ringing on behalf of friends or family in debt.
“This all sounds like bad news but, in my view, any day that people brave it to call and ask for help with their finances is a good day because it’s a seriously positive step. Once they call, they will get a series of home visits and we’ll start negotiating with their creditors and some of that stress begins to leave them.”
CAP is a growing organisation with more than 300 debt centres across the UK offering a free service through partner churches of all denominations.
The charity is becoming well known for helping some of the most vulnerable in society; people who are often dealing with several major issues alongside crisis debt.
A recent study by the charity revealed:
- one in ten clients are pensioners who cannot increase their income
- more than a fifth are lone parents
- a quarter are suffering poor mental health
- 15 per cent have physical disabilities
- six per cent class themselves as seriously or terminally ill
Despite dealing with such hardship, CAP reports that most people don’t seek help with their debt problems for more than three years – mostly because they think they should be able to sort it out themselves.
“Problem debt isn’t a trivial thing,” said Matt. “It’s not just a bit of reckless overspending. It’s mostly people on a low income struggling to make ends meet for years who are then hit by a crisis.
“Maybe it’s a job loss; a failed relationship or illness in the family, and what happens is that finances take a hit while they survive the immediate situation.
He added: “Living with problem debt can be horrendous – companies ringing all through the day making demands, bailiffs knocking – you can feel you’re a family under siege and it affects your health, relationships and your children’s wellbeing.
“However, in 20 years of helping people with debt problems, we haven’t yet seen a case we couldn’t sort out.”
“CAP is designed not to look at the cause of the problem but to look ahead at how we can support someone to become debt free. Every day we’re celebrating people who have come through a terrible time and are now in control of their money. It’s a very inspiring place to work.”
The UK’s problem with personal debt has grown again in the past six months with the Money Charity calculating that people owe an extra £631.15 per person compared with a year ago. One in six adults are living with problem debt, the charity says.
To find out more call 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org