'Living with debt can be a pretty hopeless existence' but Ipswich charity offers hope
PUBLISHED: 13:20 11 October 2018
In the five years since it was established, a debt charity has saved lives and helped keep families in their homes as they support people break free from the cycle of debt.
Opening in 2013, the Ipswich Christians Against Poverty (CAP) centre has helped hundreds of households with their debt problems and has seen at least 22 families reach the point where they are completely debt free.
Jayne Green has been the centre manager since it was formed and helped the Ipswich branch of the nationwide charity to celebrate its fifth birthday.
She said: “This is a celebration, but it is also a thanksgiving for the countless number of repossessions that have been stopped, relationships that have been salvaged and lives saved from suicide over the last five years.”
She said it had been a challenging time, with volunteers experiencing highs and lows alongside those they work with.
“We see people often at the lowest point but then we get to see that burden taken away and so many other issues addressed, and that is a great joy.”
Mrs Green moved to Ipswich 20 years ago from her hometown of Blackburn in Lancashire.
Her father helped to run the CAP debt advice central office in Bradford and he inspired her to begin her career in debt advice in Ipswich.
Whilst working part-time as a teacher, Mrs Green has continued to use her connections with the church and CAP to give out free debt advice.
She said: “Living with debt can be a pretty hopeless existence.
“People get into debt for all sorts of reasons and from all walks of life, debt is classless, it affects everyone. We are here to get them out of it.”
Mrs Green wanted to emphasise the special nature of the service that she provides.
Ipswich CAP doesn’t just offer one-off advice meetings, it sticks with those in need throughout their struggles.
“We stay with these families until they are completely debt free,” said Mrs Green.
“We will hold your hand until the very end and I very rarely see people come back, they can be debt free for life.”
But why do people get into debt and how? Mrs Green was quick to explain the reasons behind people’s struggles.
She said: “I think if we’ve learned anything it’s that debts tend to build up because of a change in circumstances, often it’s when people are less able to cope.
“This could be unemployment, ill health, bereavement or caring for a loved one.
“Divorce or the break down of a relationship is also big, these circumstances lead to people losing a large part of their income and suddenly they need to use credit cards or payday loans just to stay afloat.”
She revealed that the effects of debt are far-reaching
“I would say that a lot of people I meet have considered suicide because of their debt,” said Mrs Green.
“It’s so sad, it is a lot of mental stress to owe so much money and to feel like you can do nothing about that problem.”
According to the UK Debt Support Trust, almost 50% of people struggling with debt in the UK have considered suicide.
Mrs Green said: “There is always a way out. We have licensed financial advisors and we can get together a plan for your repayment, we can negotiate with creditors and we can start you on a path that will get your life back on track.
“If your debt is keeping you up at night and it has become a stress that you can no longer deal with, then please call us and we will help you out until you are debt free.
“There is always hope.”
To contact CAP in Ipswich call 0800 328 0006.