As the financial squeeze continues the Norwich
branch of the debt counselling charity CAP (Christians Against Poverty)
is taking on extra staff to bring more free help to those in need. It is also appealing to local Christians to volunteer as Befrienders to enable the further expansion of this vital, growing ministry.
From this week, the Norwich CAP Debt Counselling Centre
, based at Surrey Chapel
since it started in 2012, will be welcoming a new debt coach to their team resulting in more appointment slots for people suffering from out-of-control debts.
Centre Manager Chris Murphy
said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming debt coach Naomi Rankin (pictured)
onto the team at such a crucial time.
“We have been booked up months in advance as we continue to cope with the fall-out from the economic downturn. This will mean we have many more appointments available each week and be able to see and help more people, more quickly.”
To support the growing workload and need, the team are appealing for more volunteers from churches across the city to take on the important role of befriending clients.
Chris said: “In addition to my role in advising clients on managing their debt, the role of the Befriender, who accompanies either me or Naomi on visits, is vital in building relationships by offering practical and pastoral help. But we need more people - both male and female - to befriend clients.”
Befrienders accompany Chris or Naomi on three initial visits to the client’s home, each lasting about 60-90 minutes (usually during the daytime). The subsequent involvement is then very much down to the client need and what the Befriender themselves is able to give to the role.
Chris said: “Just an occasional phone call or meeting for a cup of coffee once a month can give much joy to a client.”
Typically most clients get in touch after personal recommendation while others are referred by family centres, housing associations and council offices. Clients’ creditors are contacted by the centre, a workable budget is set for the household and the charity continues to give support and encouragement until the client is debt free.
The most common cause of debt is a change in circumstance, for example job loss, relationship breakdown, accident or illness in the family.
For more about CAP see www.capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006
If you are interested in becoming a Befriender please contact Chris Murphy on 07500 338380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Safeguarding guidance and a short training session are provided.