Six months in I’m trying to work out what an ordinary day as a CAP Debt Centre Manager looks like. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as an ordinary day! There have been good days, and challenging days, but all in all I feel really privileged to be able to do this work.
A good day was when I heard that our first client had gone debt free. He now gets a new start where he was drowning in debt before. Another good day was when a client said that he thought that he would like to know God, he really took me by surprise, even though we’ve been praying from the beginning that clients will come to know Jesus. Being free from debt is great, knowing Jesus is even better!
We’ve been able to organise food parcels, online shopping deliveries, and help with electricity and gas bills for clients in immediate need. We’ve co-ordinated Christmas hampers and Christmas presents for clients, these have all been good days when we’ve been able to help people and demonstrate the love of Jesus. I’m so grateful for all the church members who donated Christmas gifts so generously, who helped with the hampers and to everyone who has been praying!
There have been hard days too. There was one client that we were not able to help, it was really hard having to signpost them elsewhere having got to know them. So many clients seek help, make a good start, and then stop answering the phone and responding to e-mails. My record for a client not answering the phone, and then wanting to rebook an appointment, is 5 times, but that will probably go up. Asking for help is hard and debt takes a toll on physical and mental health; clients often have chaotic lives and face all sorts of challenges that I don’t know about, not answering the phone comes with the territory but so does God’s Grace.
Today started with a walk while I prayed for my clients (mostly because it isn’t raining and in lockdown walking is still something that we’re allowed to do.) The rest of the day was spent responding to e-mails, and calling clients. I finally got through to a client who I’ve been trying to reach for weeks. I’ve spoken to a number of people today who are having a really hard time with Lockdown. It’s been going on so long, and just seems to increase the divisions in our already unequal society. Clients talked about being worried about their elderly relatives, about health struggles that have been made worse by lockdown, about family members trapped in addiction, that they just are unable to help. I also spoke to a client who has finally got his heating working for the first time in 11 months!
Supporting people to find hope when they’re drowning in debt is an amazing privilege. It’s sometimes immensely frustrating but mostly really humbling. Please keep praying for us as we seek to build this work. The team is growing with Ros joining us as a New Debt Coach soon.
The pandemic has made it hard to organise social events, to involve church befrienders and to help our clients experience the full support that being part of a local church can bring, but we can still help over the phone and provide a good service which is great!
Ros Hyde has been volunteering with Christians Against Poverty for a while now, so it’s great that she is able to train to be a new Debt Coach at our CAP Debt Centre. She will increase the capacity of the debt centre by 25% in this role which is fantastic! She’s booked on training in March and hopefully will be able to begin seeing clients in April.
The role of a Debt Centre Coach is to support the Debt Centre Manager in the running of the debt centre, and to support clients on their journey to becoming debt free through appointments (hopefully in peoples homes in the future,) and ongoing support. There’s lots of training to do; the role is quite varied, and CAP is regulated by the Financial Conduct Association (FCA) so Debt Coaches have a strict protocol to follow. Ros will be a great asset to the team. A huge part of the role is being willing to go above and beyond for our clients, something that I know Ros will have no problem doing! The role also involves promotion of the Christian Faith in a positive way, again, something that Ros will have no problem doing. Ros has a real understanding of our CAP clients and an amazing ability to take people as they are and walk along side them. We’re so glad that she’s joining the team!
by Charlotte Walker
Introducing our new Debt Coach
Hi – I’m Ros. I’m Life Church Southampton’s newest Debt Coach and I’ll be working with Charlotte and the team at the Southampton West CAP Debt Centre once I’ve finished my training. I’m looking forward to sharing hope with people – the hope of becoming debt-free and the hope Jesus brings us.