Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has partnered with a local church to open an eighth debt centre in Bargoed.
It has joined forces with the congregation of St Gwladys Church, in Bargoed, to extend its award-winning free service to more local people, joining seven other busy centres across the region including neighbouring Merthyr Tydfil.
According to CAP’s latest research, clients in Wales most commonly suffer financial crisis due to low income, with average levels of debt standing at £12,477 when they begin the process of tackling what they owe.
New Rhymney Valley Centre manager Mary Flynn-Samuels said: “The Church has always been about offering hope and we’re really pleased to be able to give more people in South Wales a tried-and-tested route out of debt alongside other great free debt agencies. We have seen how this has worked successfully in neighbouring towns and we’re delighted that the people of Rhymney Valley will be able to access CAP’s help too.”
Revd Jonathan Widdess, priest-in-charge of the Parish of Bargoed and Deri with Brithdir said, “I am so excited that we are partnering with CAP to help those in our area who are suffering from the devastating effects of debt.
“The Debt Centre based at St Gwladys’ Church Hall complements the great work we are already doing in fighting poverty and means we can help people escape from not only the debt itself but also the depression and emotional problems that so often accompany it. By doing this we can share Jesus’ love and compassion with them in a really practical and easy to understand way.”
CAP offers people a uniquely in-depth service to people regardless of their age, gender, faith or background. Every client is visited in their own home, the charity’s head office staff do all the negotiating with creditors while local volunteers offer support to each person face-to-face until the day they are debt free.
Caerphilly AM Jeff Cuthbert said: “I had the privilege to attend the recent launch of the Bargoed Christians Against Poverty’s Debt Centre at St Gwladys’ Church Hall. Initiatives like this are vital in these uncertain economic times, when it comes to supporting vulnerable people who are battling problems of debt.”
Caerphilly Mayor David Carter added: “I am delighted to support the churches initiative to alleviate poverty in the area. Poverty and debt are causing appalling social and health problems and every initiative to help people to live a debt free life is to be applauded. It is also particularly satisfying for me to see that the public, voluntary and religious sectors are involving themselves in the heart of the community and meeting people at the points of their need.”
• Islwyn MP Chris Evans has joined the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) to mark the 50th anniversary of the first credit union in Britain.
The 50th anniversary marks a milestone for credit unions in Britain, who now serve over a million people. At the end of September 2013, 371 British credit unions looked after £918 million in deposits, had over £64 million out on loan and had more than £1.1 billion in assets.
The Association of British Credit Unions Ltd represent around 70% of credit unions who in turn provide services to 85% of the British credit union membership.
Mr Evans, who has recently been re-elected as treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Credit Unions, said: “As treasurer of the APPG for Credit Unions I wanted to join in the celebration of their 50th anniversary.
“I have always been a strong advocate for credit unions. I believe that credit unions help prevent families being driven into the hands of illegal lenders or loan sharks. They are safe places to save money as they are owned and controlled by their members.’
“To find out more information about the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd then visit their website at www.abcul.org/home.”