A CHURCH-funded organisation aiming to ‘free people from the slavery of debt’ has officially opened its doors in Milford Haven.

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.

CAP’s Pembrokeshire branch will run three days a week from its new base at Milford Haven Christian Fellowship’s building, in Nantucket Avenue.

Speaking at the opening on Friday (January 24), Preseli-Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said he had seen the great work CAP did elsewhere, and was “delighted” to see the charity open its doors in Pembrokeshire.

“Debt is a very real problem in our community,” he said.

Mr Crabb said there were “many different faces” to debt, and it affected people from all backgrounds – from those struggling to manage their benefits to business owners and ex-service men and women.

He added that the CAP offered much-needed “muscle” against creditors by stepping in and taking over a client’s budget, and helping them manage their finances until they are completely debt-free.

He said when it came to helping “free people from the slavery of debt”, there was no better service.

Mr Crabb also praised the “incredible compassion” of the branch’s new manager Naomi Joseph, who will be the local point of contact for the charity.

Supporting Mrs Joseph will be a pool of volunteers from local churches who - as well as helping fund the service - will act as ‘befrienders’ to those in the process of resolving their debts.

Linda Richley, CAP’s area manager for Wales, said she anticipated that 2014 would be a busy year for the organisation, following changes to benefits and the ongoing effects of the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

She said making the initial call was often the hardest step for most clients.

“Once they’ve done it, there’s a real sense of relief,” she said.

“And we’re here to support them through the whole process.”

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.