New debt service will help ease Christmas stress

CHRISTMAS CONCERNS: Money worries can be particularly bad at Christmas. (3092997)

CHRISTMAS CONCERNS: Money worries can be particularly bad at Christmas. (3093001)

First published in News

A NEW service in Milford Haven is helping local people work through their debts and get them back on top of their finances.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a national debt counselling charity which works with churches around the UK to offer a free service to families with money worries.

After contacting CAP, clients will be visited at home by trained local debt coach Naomi Joseph. After CAP’s head office has been sent all the client’s financial information, they put together a provisional budget and work on the client’s behalf to negotiate with creditors.

Naomi then makes two more home visits, to explain how the budget will work and give clients an update on CAP’s discussions with their creditors. She is accompanied by a ‘befriender’ from a local church, who is there to offer emotional and practical support until the client is debt-free.

“It’s about supporting people through the whole process,” said Naomi.

Naomi said issues such as illness, redundancy and family breakdown are among the reasons people get into debt, and can place a huge strain on home life, and Christmas can be and especially difficult time.

“If you’ve never been in debt it’s easy to judge people and think they should just know how to manage their money,” said Naomi.

She said that the burden of debt can make clients feel unworthy and ashamed, with many unable to sleep or afraid to go outside in case they run into one of their creditors. And CAP figures show that 40 per cent of its clients have considered or attempted suicide as a way out.

As well as financial and emotional support, CAP also offers a prayer service for clients who want it, which Naomi said can be a big help for some.

“If you’re struggling with anything, why wouldn’t you want someone to pray for you?” she asked.

CAP Pembrokeshire currently runs three days a week at its base at Milford Haven Christian Fellowship’s building in Nantucket Avenue, but is supported by another seven churches from around Pembrokeshire.

Anyone in the SA73, SA61 and SA62 3 postcode areas is applicable for help, for more information contact CAP head office on 0800 328 0006.

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