Didcot & Wallingford cap Debt Centre 

Adapted from the Trustees Report 2017

CAPimage-300x300Didcot and Wallingford Area CAP Debt Centre is a partnership of six churches with CAP (Christians Against Poverty), whose objects are:
1. The relief of poverty by providing a debt counselling and debt management service
2. The advancement of the Christian religion in Did cot and Wallingford and the surrounding area
During 2017, 30 client families were referred to the Debt Centre bringing the total over the first three years to 65. By December the Debt Centre was working at full capacity of 3 referrals per month. By the end of 2017 it had seen 12 individuals (10 families) going debt-free, and was working with 25 families at various stages of the debt-management process.
The Debt Centre has supported clients going to court, fighting TV licence prosecution, undergoing benefit reviews and needing mediation with neighbours. It has also been able to support clients through the generosity of church members by providing foodbank vouchers, electricity and gas top-ups, a new mattress, the offer of a car as well as clothes and toys for children. It has also signed up to Tesco Food share which allows it to distribute packages of fresh food which would otherwise be thrown away. At Christmas it was able to deliver Christmas hampers to clients compiled by the local food bank and church members' gifts.
A number of activities for clients took place during the year including a Fish and Chip Supper, Easter Egg Hunt, Summer BBQ and a Pamper Evening. These were all well attended. Various clients are now engaging with one or other of the partner churches in a variety of ways.
The work of the Debt Centre is managed and undertaken by Sue Bright (Centre Manager) and Susie Holden (Debt Coach) and their team of volunteers who undertake a variety of tasks. In 2017, sixteen volunteers were involved in visiting clients and some of these were also involved in other ways such as supporting a client to set up a new bank account, calling companies for up to date financial statements and arranging or attempting to arrange social events with clients. The offer of ongoing friendship and social support has been offered to those clients who would appreciate it, and several relationships have developed well in this way.
Small groups of people from the partner churches continue to meet regularly in both Didcot and Wallingford to pray for the work of the Debt Centre. Termly joint church prayer meetings are also held in the Wallingford churches and are planned for the Didcot churches.
It is hoped that in 2018 the impact of widening the partnership and two debt coaches will enable the centre to reach out to more clients providing them with financial help and, when the opportunity arises, spiritual guidance.