A FREE local debt advice service is celebrating a decade of helping hundreds of families across Antrim, Ballyclare, Crumlin and Toome sort out their finances.
Greystone Presbyterian Church along with First Antrim Presbyterian Church, launched the Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre back in 2012.
Whilst it marks ten years of helping people break free of debt, the team based at the churches have no plans to stop - especially now as the strain on family finances continues to bite.
“Looking back at when we opened, we knew there was a need in our area, but were blown away by how much CAP was needed,” said Irene Kilpatrick , the Debt Centre Manager.
“We’ve been through some tough economic times since then, and these look set to worsen with the current cost of living crisis – the most significant we have ever seen.
“Energy prices are rocketing, grocery bills soaring and we’re also seeing petrol and diesel prices rising.
“So many Antrim people who are already struggling, and even those who may have managed before, are now suffering.
“CAP’s service to the local people is now more vital than ever.
“During the last decade, we have been able to support more than 200 people with what was unmanageable debt. We’ve seen hope restored, family relationships repaired and even lives clawed back from the brink of suicide.”
Irene added: “CAPs Antrim team are local people, who are therefore able to provide a face-to-face service, offering practical help - such as food or fuel top ups, a link to a local Foodbank, or emotional support and encouragement.
“They are backed up by our expert accredited team at CAP Head Office who provide free debt advice.
“For me, it’s a unique position to be in. We see people often at their lowest point but then we get to see that burden taken away and so many other issues addressed along the way and that is a great joy.
“There are still many more people to help though, so while we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate each and every person who has made it to the other side of debt, we want everyone else who may still be struggling to know that we are here to help them completely free of charge too.”
A service celebrating CAP Debt Centre’s tenth anniversary was held at First Antrim Presbyterian Church. The special service drew speakers from the First Antrim, Greystone, Antrim Elim, Antrim Baptist churches, Women’s Aid and Antrim Foodbank.
If you are struggling with debt and need help, get in contact with CAP today on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org