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 (suestone@capuk.org), or or you could try asking Neil for a game of Golf!

Written by Jeri-lee Kenny (interviewer)