Busiest ever start to the year for Saffron Walden debt charity

08:55 18 January 2014

The quantity of people calling for help with their debts during the first full working week of the new year has broken all records, say a debt counselling charity.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) say their helpline, which books new clients in for a home visit, has seen the number of inquiries rocket by 40 per cent on last year.

The charity, which has 239 church-based debt centres across the UK – including at the New Life Church on Shire Hill, Saffron Walden – doesn’t expect the rush to end there as, statistically, the second Monday in February is usually the busiest day.

Helen Webb, who heads up CAP’s helpline team, said: “This is our busiest ever start to the new year without a doubt.

“People seem to have been waiting until Christmas was out of the way and the kids are back at school to tackle the cause of an awful lot of stress.

“You have to be quite emotionally robust to work on this team because you hear that real desperation in people’s voices.

“However, when people call us we know things will get better for them. They might be feeling at their lowest but it’s our privilege to say that in 17 years, we have never seen a problem we can’t handle.”

CAP in Saffron Walden is now entering its third year of offering a free solution to people trapped in debt.

Centre manager Sarah Blackaby said: “Many are scared of opening post or answering the door or phone and often their health is suffering. As we work with them it is so wonderful to see changes in them, enabling them to live again.

“We have seen eight local people work their way out of debt with the help of CAP. One of our client surveys said that on average people wait over a year before phoning for help. If you are struggling this New Year, pick up the phone and give us a call. It will change your life.”

Every client is visited in their own home by a CAP centre manager, who assesses their situation and is able to explain the service face-to-face.

All the paperwork is sent to the charity’s head office in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where the size of the debt and the client’s income is calculated.

Staff then begin negotiations with each of the creditors and a proposed budget for the client is set, to help them in the process of paying back what they owe.

• For more info about getting help with your debts, visit capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006 to make a booking with the Saffron Walden CAP centre manager.

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