Local members of a charity who care for those in financial crisis are calling for people in debt to seek free help.
The “Don’t Wait” campaign comes from the Ballymoney branch of the charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), as the news tells us that nine
million people are suffering with debt with just a fifth actually seeking help.
“A lot of people just don’t realise that free help is available,” said Ballymoney Centre Manager Beth Thompson.
The charity’s own statistics show that the majority of people waited more than three years to ring them but that when they did, 94 per cent
described it as ‘a great help’ or ‘life transforming’.
Beth said: “It can be hard to admit help is needed but debt is very difficult to escape without professional assistance. The debt charities
like ours have the advantage on the individual because we are talking to the banks, and credit card and loan companies all day.
“Today’s campaign is about taking that first step, knowing no one will pass judgement. We just want to look forward to the future.”
From the first call to the friendly ladies on CAP’s booking line, the charity aims to instil a feeling of hope – vital when more than a third of callers say they are feeling suicidal.
Beth, who works from the centre in St Patrick’s Parish Church, Queen Street, then visits every client in their own home.
The charity’s service is unique in that the client hands all the letters and demands to Beth and they are sent to CAP’s UK head office where
experts negotiate with every creditor on the client’s behalf.
“We leave new clients with a pile of free-post envelopes and as they receive letters about their debts, they don’t have to worry any more, they just pop them into the envelope and we sort it out.
“We know that people with debt are already often dealing with other problems: job loss or relationship problems, low income or illness so we
want to take the pressure off and give them the space to deal with some of that.”
The client is then set a budget and given a suggested route forward with a timescale of how long it looks likely to be until they are debt free – generally within five years, all with on-going support from CAP Ballymoney.