Charities warn against Christmas loans

Three local debt counselling services warn shoppers against taking out credit to cover the cost of Christmas.

Three local debt counselling services have joined forces to warn shoppers against taking out credit to cover the cost of Christmas.

The warning comes from the CAP Debt Centres in Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable, which are collaborations between several local churches and the award-winning UK charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP); between them they have seen around 35 new clients in 2016.

Joyce Mitchell, Whitstable CAP Debt Centre Manager, said: “We want families to stop getting swept along by the Christmas adverts and think about what is really important. We all want to provide for our children but what they need most is our time – not massive presents.

“CAP did a national survey of 1,000+ clients recently and, of those that responded from the South of England, a fifth said the festive season had been a contributory factor in their debt crisis.”

She added that while low income is actually the main driver of debt in the UK, these figures highlight that if your finances are fragile, overspending at Christmas can tip people into a situation that very quickly goes from bad to worse.

Her colleague, John Way, Herne Bay CAP Debt Centre Manager, said: “There are plenty of ways to have a great Christmas without going mad, you just have to get smart about it; chat to your family and say things are a bit tight and they’ll be glad you’ve been honest.”

He said that each debt centre team visits every client in their home, helping people across this area of Kent. Meanwhile, CAP’s head office negotiate a reduction in each person’s debts and set up a repayment plan, with local volunteers offering support to each person until they become debt free.

Rebecca Leeves, Canterbury CAP Debt Centre Manager, said: “If you know your finances are already out of control and you’re getting bailiffs or threatening letters, call us before Christmas. A quick phone call and you’ll have set the wheels in motion. Every day we’re celebrating people going debt free and we want you to be one of those.”

Anyone wanting debt help can call 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org to find out about not just debt counselling but also money management courses and more.

ENDS

Picture shows:

Joyce Mitchell, Whitstable CAP Debt Centre Manager

 

Notes for Journalists

  • CAP works to stop interest and charges (successful in 90% of cases)
  • The average person goes debt free with CAP in 21 months
  • In CAP’s twentieth birthday year, the charity expects to help 20,000 people across the UK
  • The most recent CAP Client Report published in June, found that prior to working with CAP, 78% of clients with children had been unable to feed or clothe them.
  • In addition the report also found that prior to working with CAP 65% of clients skipped meals due to debt and 36% had considered, or attempted, suicide (rising to 40% in Wales).

Christians Against Poverty is determined to reduce hardship in the UK, through the local Church. It does this through 576 poverty fighting services, including 306 Debt Centres, 163 Job Clubs, 71 Release Groups and 36 Life Skills courses, helping people develop basic financial and practical skills. All the services are given freely regardless of age, gender, faith or background.

For further information and photo opportunities speak to Joyce Mitchell on 07519858951 or contact CAP’s National PR Manager Marianne Clough marianneclough@capuk.org or telephone 01274 761924.