Brighton & Hove CAP Debt Centre

Brighton Light Trust: “Bringing freedom from debt”

Author: Adam Walker (page 1 of 2)

Press Release: Saturday Supper 7th May

Local MPs Caroline Lucas and Peter Kyle, welcomed the opportunity to attend a special Saturday Supper event highlighting awareness of four charities who help the Poor, the Hungry and the Homeless in our City.

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It all started over a game of Golf


Jeri-Lee met with Keith and Sheila Charman at the Thursday CAP Drop in Centre situated at Holland Road’s number 65 Café.

She began by asking Keith how he and Sheila first got involved as CAP Befrienders & Supporters. With a chuckle of laughter Keith began “It all started over a game of Golf with Neil Avard”.

In between the 1st hole and the 10th hole, Neil told Keith all about the work he did as a Debt Coach for CAP. When he finished, Neil enthusiastically asked Keith to consider helping him, by becoming his CAP supporter. When Keith arrived back home, he shared the news with Sheila and asked her to help too.

“We were available and willing” Sheila told me “but it is important to seek God’s advice, so we prayed about it”.

“You see we had never really thought about helping people in poverty” explained Keith, “It was a new thought”.

SONY DSC“We had just finished serving in other areas of the church, so we were looking through prayer for other opportunities to serve.” said Sheila.

“I’m not great at coming forward to volunteer” said Keith

“If I volunteered for something” explains Keith “and the team don’t want me to volunteer, it can be awkward. But if I’m asked, I know whoever is in charge is confident that we can work well together as a team.”

Sheila then explained a bit about what they do as part of the Supporters team.

“We support the Debt Coaches on visits” replied Sheila. “It’s a listening role. We support the Debt coach by accompanying them on a client visit. If a male Debt coach is visiting a women, he needs a female supporter to accompany him. If a female Debt coach is visiting a male, she needs a male supporter to come with her.”

They also prepare the food packs or hampers from the CAP food bank donations, ready to take with them and generally support the Debt coach on their visits.

“There’s paper work to copy too” says Sheila. We use the photocopier back at the CAP office. And if the client visits here, we make the coffee and generally help them to feel welcomed.”

“It’s a listening role. We support the Debt coach by accompanying them on a client visit”.

As CAP is looking for other volunteers, I asked Keith and Sheila if they would recommend serving on the CAP team and if so, why?

“We enjoy it “says Sheila. “The team is great. No cross words. Very friendly”.

“You have to have a passion for people with debt problems” says Keith, “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. And you have to be available. The Debt Coaches Team covers from Seaford through to – Brighton – Hove and along to Portslade. We travel with them to visit the clients, so we keep our time free for CAP on Thursday.”

CAP volunteers can also help out at the CAP Drop in Centre and at CAP money courses.  The Drop in Center is an informal, no appointment necessary information Centre, situated in the café at number 65 Holland road. Opening every Thursday from 12.30-2.30pm, providing a warm welcome for existing clients and anyone interested finding out more about CAP services.

If you are interested in either volunteering or finding out more about CAP services, do call in to the Drop-In Centre, or contact Sue Stone (, or or you could try asking Neil for a game of Golf!

Written by Jeri-lee Kenny (interviewer)

CAP meets Brighton Council

NeilAvardNeil Avard, one of our Debt Coaches at the centre, tells us about an exciting opportunity.

On March 5th Neil was invited to speak at the weekly meeting of the Brighton & Hove City Council Adult Services Department. 15 staff, representing different departments within the service, listened and asked questions in an hour long presentation. Neil had the opportunity to explain the history of CAP, how the charity works, is funded and is growing across the country and the world.

Using facts and personal testimonies Neil was able to show how the charity’s work improves, changes and literally saves lives. Every member of the Council’s staff attending took away literature and advertising material to share with their teams all clearly expressing the Christian principles that are the foundation of CAP’s work.

Accompanying Neil was Lisa Channell one of our CAP partners at the Fountain Centre in Patcham. Lisa was able to explain the work of Jobs Clubs and CAP Money and that these services were freely available to all.

The overwhelming feedback from the meeting was positive and there was a desire to use our services more as they also try and help the vulnerable within our city. The dates of all future CAP Money courses are now being circulated on the Council Intranet and we have already received referrals to the Debt Centre as a result of that meeting.

Please pray that this once heavy door will open still further.

CAP Stories 2

NeilAvardNeil Avard, one of our Debt Coaches at the centre, shares another story of how lives are being changed by God and the work of the centre.

From a young age one client was so badly abused by his father (on one occasion he was repeatedly shot in the leg with an air rifle) that he ran away from home and lived wild on the streets of a major city. Mixing with the homeless and gangs he became a useful pawn in criminal activities and from the age of 12 had little education. After becoming addicted to drugs he was put into care.

For his own safety he moved to Brighton where he lived on the streets for a number of years falling into alcoholism. Following help from the Brighton Housing Trust he was housed, but his health continued to be a serious concern and he was left unable to work. He began to fall into debt when his benefits where disputed and he was unable to pay any of his bills. The safe home that he had found was in jeopardy.

CAP was recommended to him and since June we have been involved in helping him turn his life around. Thanks to the generosity of Holland Road members he now has a microwave, a phone and regular food. CAP has taken over his bills and he is now paying off slowly some of the other debts incurred. The team continued to challenge the Department of Work and Pensions and now full disability benefits have been restored. Our support team visit him regularly and he now prays for his continued improvement with us. His health has visibly improved and he is actually saving so that he can buy presents for his 2 children. There’s a long way to go but there is no doubt that his life has already changed for the better thanks to CAP.

Would you like to get involved in supporting the Brighton & Hove CAP Debt Centre? If so please email us.


closerSue Stone, our Centre Manager, tells us about an recent 3 day CAP event on the 11th March at Whittlebury Hall, attended by her and John (one of our other Debt Coaches.

John and Sue went on the 3 day CAP event on the 11th March at Whittlebury Hall.

Sue says… ‘We got together with around 250 people all involved in CAP in some way. It was great to get to know people and find out what was happening at their CAP centre. We had great times of worship and inspirational talks from Matt Barlow (UK Chief Executive) and John Kirkby (Founder & International Director), interesting seminars, relaxation (there was a spa) good food and lots of fun. As the name of the conference implies we left feeling closer to God, closer to the CAP vision and closer to each other.’

Watch a video from John Kirkby talking about the work of CAP.

Get Involved!

Hopefully you have read this month’s newsletter and asked yourself the question – How can I get involved?We need you

Well I’m glad you asked! Here are just some of the ways you can get involved – it’s as easy as A, B, C!

a) Client Visits – Why not join one of our Debt Coaches visiting a client? This is a pressing need as we have many clients to see. If you would like to know more or come along for a taster session do contact us, we would love to get you connected. You can read more about a client visit.

b) Prayer – We very much value the prayers for our clients and for our team. If you would like to receive prayer texts from us directly, please contact us with your mobile telephone number and we will ensure that you get prayers requests.

c) Giving – All our services are free to our clients so we rely fully on the generous gifts of those who support us and the work of CAP. You can either give locally here or give directly to CAP Head Office.

My first CAP visit

Welcome MatI recently had the privilege of going on a CAP visit with Sue Stone (our CAP Centre Manager) to meet with a prospective new client.

As we were greeted by the client (a well-educated young man) at the front door there was a palpable sense that he really wanted to know how CAP could help him with his debt which was causing him both physical and emotional pain.

He talked about his journey that had led him from his home overseas as a child to another country for safety, through to the loss of family and personal freedom to where he ended up in his small flat on a council estate. The client was now facing enormous challenges in making ends meet which could potentially affect his ability to stay in the UK.

Sue calmly told him that there is hope and showed him that God cares for us all irrespective of our backgrounds or personal history. The CAP introductory video was shown and the client was visibly moved at the hope that CAP Head Office staff, John Kirkby and Matt Barlow, talked about and the way they described that day as being the first day of a journey to become debt free. The client described how he had been waiting for this day and was looking forward to starting this journey. Sue explained that whilst this would not be an easy journey, CAP would stay with him throughout.

Another appointment was made to go through the details of the client’s debt and allow CAP Head Office to start putting together a plan for the repayment of the debts CAP has a fantastic reputation in the credit industry and can deal with those involved on the clients behalf, removing the pressure that some organisations apply.

As we left Sue asked the client if he would like us to pray with him. This is completely optional and certainly not something that the CAP team always get a yes to. Again though, with tears in his eyes he said yes and I was very blessed to be able to pray for him.

We were able to leave him a small food package which he was grateful for. Please pray for this young man as he starts out on his journey to becoming debt free and also that he would come to know Jesus as his friend and saviour.

There are a number of ways for you to get involved ranging from the occasional client visits and supporting the Debt Coach you accompany, to praying for the team and clients, giving money or donating food.

P.S. Did you know that as each client becomes debt free or makes a commitment to the Lord, the entire CAP Head Office team in Bradford celebrate? I had the opportunity to see this in person in January it was truly wonderful to rejoice with the team and know that they have done this hundreds of times. What CAP offers is a powerful demonstration of God’s love for the poor and the broken.

See the video below and be prepared to be blown away!!.

CAP Stories

NeilAvardNeil Avard, one of our Debt Coaches at the centre, shares some recent stories of how lives are being changed by God and the work of the centre.

Story 1
We have a client who came on a CAP: Money Course and picked up an Alpha invite who passed it on to his mum who in turn gave it to a neighbour. The neighbour has since made a commitment to find out more about following Jesus.

Story 2
Another client after 3 months of not being able to get out mainly through physical issues and depression has come back to us.

He now welcomes prayer and has currently returned to part-time work, which, despite paying less than the benefits he was on, has given him an increased sense of self worth. Please pray that he passes the last of several tests he has to take to qualify as a bus driver.

Thanks to the generosity of a Holland Roader he is now able to travel to interviews and hospital appointments without having to go without food.

Story 3
Another client was introduced to a us via a Holland Roader via a local food bank. Her children now attend our youth ministry and she is overwhelmed by the support of our helpers who provide food and help with cooking tips at their own expense.

Do you have any CAP stories that you would like to share? Please contact Adam Walker who would love to hear from you.

National News

2014 was an amazing year for the work of Christians Against Poverty in the UK.

Here  are some headlines to encourage and spur you on in 2015.


  • Centre network increased by 28 centres, with a total of 50 being opened!
  • 61 Job Clubs added taking us to a total of 101 truly active clubs
  • 294 new churches to train CAP Money, and 910 new coaches
  • A brand new service launched – Release groups – with 27 churches and 45 coaches trained – read more on this exciting new ministry in the coming months


  • Number of new debt clients seen and helped was around the 6400 mark for this year
  • Over 2500 debt free – a 26% increase on 2013! (bear in mind we had already seen a 20% increase in 2013!)
  • Over 12,000 people have done a CAP Money Course
  • 1400 people helped by a Job Club
  • Around 180 people have found work this year
  • Release Groups – stories already coming in of people finding freedom!


782 people, 782 individuals, 782 precious souls, 782 sons and daughters, 782 new brothers and sisters come into relationship with Christ. Wow, amazing, special, prized, treasured, every single one of them. Praise God!

However the work continues in 2015 as the need for God to break into lives broken by debt continues. Please continue to pray, give and support both our local CAP Centre and national initiatives.

‘He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ Luke 10:2

St Cuthman’s Drop-In Centre

BeckyBridgeBecky Atkins

Every Wednesday during term time a group of brilliant volunteers gather together at St Cuthman’s Church, situated at the heart of the Whitehawk estate, to run a community drop-in.

There are so many needs in the area but the aim of the drop-in is to offer debt help by sign-posting people to the work of CAP. In reality this takes time and since the summer the team have been building relationships, going out on the streets with sweets and hot chocolate, talking to people, praying for people and then where appropriate sign-posting them to the financial help they can access through CAP.

There have been numerous exciting conversations, people coming into the church for the first time in their lives, people being willing to be prayed for, and also those who have expressed interest in starting a journey to get out of debt. For me it is an incredible privilege spending time with these volunteers who have a genuine love for the people of Whitehawk and want to see lives turned around, not only to see them released from debt but far more importantly come to know Jesus and real freedom in their lives.

But that isn’t it – even more excitingly the drop-in is going to grow from the middle of March when St Cuthman’s is launching a food bank in partnership with the Trussell Trust. CAP will be one of the referral agencies and the idea is that during the drop-in on a Wednesday people will be able to access food from the food bank, talk to the team about getting out of debt with CAP’s help and have any benefit questions answered by another local charity. I’m really expectant about how God is going to grow this work on the estate and I look forward to being able to feed back many stories of lives impacted in the months to come.

We have also have a second drop-in centre situated at  Holland Road Baptist Church in Hove. you can drop in at any time between 12.30 and 2.30pm and have a chat with one of our CAP advisers. It will be informal but confidential and we will even make you a cup of tea!

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