Many people have felt the squeeze with the recent cost of living crisis, but a local charity has been working to lift families out of debt.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) works with nine local churches to run a CAP Debt Centre, based at St Budock Parish Church in Falmouth, which has already helped 25 households to become debt free, with 16 more currently on their way to achieving that goal.

Falmouth and Penryn Christians Against Poverty centre opened in September 2020. Since then, the centre which has just two staff and a network of volunteer helpers, has been offering face-to-face free debt advice. The service goes far beyond free debt advice, with volunteers looking at the whole picture, considering the complex emotional toll that financial distress can have on a person and offering additional support wherever possible.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) was founded in 1996 and has two foundations – the first to see people released from the weight of debt and poverty and the second to see local churches at the centre of this mission, on the ground, meeting people face to face and putting God’s love into action. And that is exactly what is happening in Falmouth and Penryn.

It’s a privilege to bring hope

Jacqui Bennet, Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre Manager in Falmouth and Penryn, said: “It is such a privilege to be able to go into people’s homes and bring them hope when they are in financial difficulty. You can visibly see the stress lift from them the more we work with them and show God’s love through the practical support we offer.  Getting out of debt is not always an easy process and often takes time and effort but it’s amazing to see people making progress towards that goal and the relief when they get there is immense. We celebrate every time one of our clients goes debt free.”

The Falmouth and Penryn centre is busy, regularly filling all their appointment slots. Hearing how this work makes a difference helps to keep the team motivated. Jacqui said: “Just before Easter I was shopping when a client who had become debt free a few months previously, came running up to me. She was very excited to tell me that she was still debt free and now has a new job. She is saving up for a holiday for herself and her son for the very first time and is also about to begin driving lessons and was so appreciative of the help she had been given to have a new start in life.”

Falmouth and Penryn CAP works alongside other organisations to provide further help to its clients. They work with Acts435, an online giving charity, connecting those in need with those willing to help. Requests are anonymous and people from all over the country can donate any amount, large or small towards it. The centre also has its own fund where money is raised locally to provide urgent items.

Some clients are referred to Hidden Help, a local charity which provides household items for those in need.  Hidden Help has been able to provide fridge freezers, kettles, toaster, beds, microwaves, clothes rails and on one occasion they carpeted a whole house.

Thank you

Jacqui said: “We want to thank everyone, individuals, and their churches, for the great support we have received. You will never know how grateful our clients are.”

Having been involved since day one, Jacqui will soon be handing over to a new manager. Jacqui said: “I always thought it was my job to establish the debt centre before handing it on to someone else to take it to the next stage. It’s been an honour to do this role and offer help to local people over the last four years.

“I am very pleased to introduce Franziska Spindler-Hughes, who will be taking over as our new excellent manager in the coming weeks and continuing this vital work to help more local people go debt free and tackle poverty in Falmouth and Penryn.”

Visit the CAP website to see what local help CAP offers or email Jacqui Bennett if you would like to find out more about how you can support the Falmouth and Penryn CAP Debt Centre.