Brighton & Hove CAP Debt Centre

Brighton Light Trust: “Bringing freedom from debt”

Author: Neil Avard

National News

2019 is proving to be an amazing year for the work of Christians Against Poverty in the UK.

Here  are some headlines to encourage and spur you on in 2019.

Growth

  • 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

Impact

  • Number of new debt clients seen and helped was around the 6400 mark for this year
  • Over 2500 debt free – a 26% increase on 2017! (bear in mind we had already seen a 20% increase in 2016!)
  • 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!

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 (one of the Debt Centres qualified coaches) 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.

GET INVOLVED!
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!!.

10 Ways to Manage Your Finances

NeilAvard

We all enjoy the good things in life, from treating ourselves or the ones we love. But as we look forward to 2020 and beyond you don’t want to start the New Year with bills and debts you can’t afford. It’s all too easy to get carried away and overspend a Christmas – there are many tempting offers and pressures to buy particularly at this time of year. It is important to decide how much you can afford before you start spending.

Here are 10 ways to get to grips with your spending and managing your finances.

  1. Plan for special events  – Be realistic and budget accordingly for these events such as birthdays, Christmas or weddings.  Work out how much you are going to spend and stick to it.  Manage others expectations if possible.
  2. Don’t forget the day-to-day expenses – Remember that rent, the mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts still have to be paid  – and the consequences can be severe if they’re not. Try to prioritise and stick to them!
  3. Don’t rely on an overdraft –  If you do need more money, don’t just run up an overdraft without talking to your bank first – it will work out more expensive in the end.
  4. Keep things simple –  If you can afford to pay for your goods outright by cash, cheque or debit card, don’t be persuaded to put off paying for items by using credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper.
  5. Shop around – Try as many different places as possible to find the best price,  you could use price comparison websites for example such as MysupermarketMegashopbot or shop on the high street. But remember buy what you need, not what some clever marketing says that you need. Be wary of extended warranties; the cost of a repair could be less than the cost of the warranty.
  6. Buy safe to be safe –  Whatever the deal, whatever the temptation, don’t buy from un-authorised traders or borrow from unauthorised lenders. The initial savings and convenience may prove to be more costly.
  7. Read the small print – Check for any hidden extras in a credit agreement. Work out the total amount payable over the course of the agreement and make sure that you can afford the monthly installments before signing. While interest free credit may seem attractive, you may have to pay a lot more if you don’t pay on time, or miss a payment.
  8. Check the details of any credit card repayments – If you are going to use a credit card, shop around and compare terms. Some cards charge high interest rates, but offer interest free periods or discounts. Budget for all these costs and make sure that you know the payment dates.
  9. Be organised – In life there’s always a lot to remember. If you’ve borrowed money don’t forget that it won’t be long before you have to make a payment. Make sure you pay on time, even if it is only the minimum, or you will be faced with additional charges.
  10. Review your spending/budgeting and learn from it – It’s worth looking at what you did well and what you didn’t. Learn from your mistakes and start planning how you will do things differently in the future. This might also be a good time to start saving for next Christmas!

Why not attend one of our CAP Money courses and find out more on how you can learn to better manage your finances. I’m sure that you won’t regret it!

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!

CAP Stories

NeilAvardNeil Avard, is the Centre manager for CAP. Here he shares some recent stories of how lives are being changed by  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.

CAP case study

NeilAvardNeil Avard, our Debt Centre Manager, 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.