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29 April 2014

Refresh Update - ‘An Exciting Development with CAP’ - No. 7

James Marshall Social Action
Coins for Refresh

Did you know that outstanding personal debt in the UK stood at £1.432 trillion at the end of November 2013?

Did you know that in the UK last year, every 5 minutes 3 seconds someone was declared bankrupt?

Did you know that the average household debt – excluding mortgages – is £6,016? [1]

But the UK debt problem does not just provide shocking statistics – it affects people, causing great emotional pain and stress. As a part of the Refresh programme at Above Bar Church, we will open a Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt centre to support people struggling with debt.

A step closer

We recently moved a step closer to achieving this by appointing a debt centre manager who will begin working in this role in the autumn. The successful candidate is Ros Briggs, whom many of you will know. Ros will be trained by CAP in October, and will then be able to help people from Southampton with debt issues.

There is already a CAP debt centre in the city, which is run by Southampton Vineyard church in Bitterne Park. We have been working closely with them to ensure a good partnership approach is taken across the city. Their centre currently has a three-month waiting list, which is the maximum allowed. This shows the level of need in Southampton for this service.

CAP and the local church

CAP is committed to working with the local church to help support individuals from the community. The following verses from Proverbs sum up what CAP aims to do, and are a great challenge to us at ABC as we start this new centre:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8–9, NIV)

CAP spends more time face to face with clients than other debt charities, helping the clients through the emotional difficulties of a debt problem. They also visit clients in their own homes. Part of the CAP model is that the centre manager is accompanied by a befriender, who offers more emotional support and may also meet up with the client on other occasions for a coffee. This personal approach gets results: 97% of CAP clients who go debt free stay debt free. Last year, through the work of CAP, 1,808 households became debt free, and 710 individuals became Christians.

Getting involved

The work of the befrienders is vital to running a debt centre. If you are interested in volunteering as a befriender, or are interested in finding out more about the CAP debt centre, please contact Paul Webber at paulwebber@abovebarchurch.org.uk.

James Marshall

[1] Statistics taken from Debt Statistics, The Money Charity, January 2014 edition.

Pray for

  • wisdom for how to publicise the new centre so that people in need will realise that there is help available
  • volunteers to be willing and able to befriend and support clients as they start on the journey to become debt free
  • strong relationships within the ABC teams as we seek to respond to the needs of the people in the city around us

Half-night of Prayer and Gift Day

Half-night of prayer

The Refresh project can happen if we pray. If you possibly can, please join us for part or all of our half-night of prayer on Friday 9th May, from 8:00 pm to midnight. This is an important opportunity for us as a church to seek the Lord and commit the project to him in advance of the gift day.

Gift Day

Sunday 11th May will be a very significant day for the Refresh project as we celebrate the Lord who is our provider, and as we make our gifts and commit ourselves to ongoing giving towards the project.

Please take three minutes to watch this video of our treasurer, Dan Deacon, talking about how to give.

Backing the vision

Above Bar Church is a long-established and significant part of the city of Southampton in its care and commitment to bringing social transformation to the people of our city through the Christian gospel. I am very happy to endorse and commend their redevelopment project.

Paul Finn – Chair of the Southampton Christian Network and Senior Pastor of Riverside Family Church

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