Canterbury churches help those facing post-Christmas debt

  • Network of community banks and hubs opening Monday 18th January
  • Locations in churches and community centres across city
  • Service open daily to everyone

Following the fun of Christmas, January will mark for many a worrying time as they face the grim reality of debt. Help is now at hand, as a new community service called Connecting Canterbury opens across the city on Monday January 18th. Its aim is to offer a warm welcome, financial guidance, a listening ear and help to those facing difficult times.

Based across a number of churches and community centres in Canterbury, the hubs will open from 9.30am until 12 noon each day, Monday to Saturday, and will be staffed by fully trained volunteers. As well as providing access to the banking services of the Kent Savers Credit Union, Connecting Canterbury is also partnering with the local authority, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Canterbury Debt Advice Centre, Christians Against Poverty and many other organisations to offer help and advice across a wide range of needs.

Figures released by the Bank of England in early January showed a sharp rise in the amount of borrowing by consumers in the run-up to Christmas, with The Money Advice Trust, the charity which runs National Debtline saying it was concerned by the figures, and expected an increase in personal debt in the months ahead.

David Hartwell, Chair of trustees of Connecting Canterbury explained that the opening couldn’t be more timely: “We know that January can be a particularly difficult time, but we’re here to serve people in the months and years ahead. We’re keen for as many people as possible to know that we are here, so that we can get support to those who need it.

“You do not have to be a church-goer or a Christian to use the hubs and there is also no cost to using our services as we are staffed by volunteers and use premises donated by the owners. Rather our key principle is that each person who visits us is valued and will be given as much time as necessary to resolve their problems.”

Local MP Julian Brazier who is Patron of Connecting Canterbury said: “I am very grateful to all those, many of whom are volunteers, who have come together to make this vision of serving others in our community a reality. Connecting Canterbury’s ability to offer people support and advice for a variety of issues in one place is sure to be of great value to all those who visit one of the hubs, and will hopefully make it easier for them to receive the help they need to work through their problems.

“I don’t think we can underestimate the feelings of isolation and despair that can be felt by those facing money or personal worries, so to have a network of places where people will be listened to but not judged, makes this a very powerful asset to the community.”

More information about Connecting Canterbury and the service it provides can be found on their website: www.connectingcanterbury.org

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • Image attached: Connecting Canterbury logo
  • Further images may be possible of volunteers receiving their final training this week.
  • The hubs are open from 9.30am until 12 noon each day, Monday to Saturday at the following locations:

Monday           Canterbury Baptist Church, St George’s Place

Tuesday          All Saints Church, Military Road

Wednesday     St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street

Thursday         Northgate Ward Community Centre, Military Road

Friday              Canterbury Baptist Church, St George’s Place

Saturday         St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street

  • Connecting Canterbury network will host four new branches ofKent Savers open from 9.30am to 12pm, based at:

All Saints Church (Military Road) each Tuesday and Thursday.

Northgate Ward Community Centre (Military Road) every Thursday.

Canterbury Baptist Church (St Georges Place) each Monday and Friday.

St Peters Church (High Street) each Wednesday and Saturday.

  • Kent Savers is a financial co-operative, owned and controlled by its members and running on a not-for-profit basis. Their aims are to promote saving and provide members with loans at reasonable rates, so that they feel in control of their own money. To become a member, you must be living and/or working in Kent. For more information visit kentsavers.co.uk or by call 0333 321 9050.
  • Connecting Canterbury is being supported by Together Canterbury, a partnership between the Diocese of Canterbury and the Church of England’s national charity working to alleviate poverty, Church Urban Fund.
  • According to Bank of England figures, the amount of money being borrowed by consumers in the run-up to Christmas rose by £1.5bn, the largest rise for nearly eight years. The figures mean that the average person in the UK now has borrowings of £2,759, even before mortgages are taken into account.
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