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Norwich church offers free debt advice service

With the current economic climate exposing the huge need for people in financial difficulties to have somewhere to go for help, a Norwich church has stepped into the arena by opening a centre offering help and advice for those who are already struggling. Les Champion reports.

MikeLambKingsMoney420King’s Community Church has joined with Community Money Advice (CMA) and has been taking clients from early June this year. In that relatively short time, King’s Money Advice (KMA) has been gathering clients at approximately one a week. It builds on the platform of nearly three and a half years’ presence at  the Norman Centre, Mile Cross, on Sunday mornings, and complements a variety of other activities designed to strengthen the heart of the Mile Cross community.
The free and impartial KMA service has been developed by Michael Lamb (pictured above), a retired pricing manager who spent 36 years working for Aviva (Norwich Union).  He leads a team of currently six advisors in the role of Centre Manager. This service is complemented by a money management course that King’s Community Church has been running for over a year.
Mike began work at the start of this year making application for the various licences, permissions and affiliations that are necessary to set up a properly regulated and efficient debt advice service.  In addition, he has been talking about his passion to others, seeking and enlisting volunteers who have a similar sense of calling. 
He said: “The most important decision people can make is to recognise they have a problem and seek help. Many are simply not aware of what can be done to help them through their situation. Our aim is not just to get our clients clear of debt but to give them the skills to enable them to live debt-free in the future.”
Once the team was established, training came next with the help and advice of Richard, an operations support manager at CMA and Barry, the manager of an established advice centre in St Ives, near Cambridge, and a certified trainer for CMA. Several day-long training sessions were held at the King’s Centre, including software training. 
There are many reasons debt can become unmanageable; losing a job, relationship breakdown, and long-term health issues.  Many other causes come to light - easy credit, addiction, mental health, lack of planning and control, unexpected expenditure and so on. The list is endless and the emotions and practical consequences are far-reaching.
King’s Money Advice sees clients from across the city. It has an office at King’s Venue at the Norman Centre, Bignold Road, Mile Cross. It sees clients there and also at the King’s Centre on King Street if that is more convenient. An appointment can be arranged by phoning 0800 970 9875 or by emailing

Earlier in the year a second Norwich church, Surrey Chapel, partnered with growing debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to bring its in-depth service to the area.

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