Nearly 9 million people in the UK are struggling with debt
Living with problem debt can have a negative impact on mental and physical health, relationships, family life and employment. The vast majority of over-indebted people feel anxious, stressed and unhappy. Yet only 17% of people in problem debt are currently receiving advice to get help dealing with their debt and many wait until a crisis point before seeking advice.
As trusted institutions at the heart of community life, churches are ideally placed to signpost people to free debt advice or even set up their own debt advice centre. This page includes information about how you can signpost people to free debt advice, get debt help and set up a debt advice centre.
NEW RESOURCE: Guiding people to free debt advice
Would you know what to say if someone told you they were struggling with debt? Would you know where they could receive free help and advice? How can the church encourage people in our congregations and communities to talk about debt and seek advice?
Guiding people to free debt advice: a debt awareness and signposting workshop is a new 2 hour video based workshop for small groups developed in partnership by the Money Advice Trust. It will equip you to be a vital link between someone with debt problems and the professional advice and support they need.
The workshop looks at:
- The causes of debt problems
- Identifying when someone needs debt advice
- Responding appropriately when someone tells you they're in debt
- The types of advice available and how these can be accessed
- How to help someone prepare for debt advice
The workshop is designed to be run by a facilitator - no knowledge of debt advice is necessary. A comprehensive manual guides you through the activities.
The accompanying video includes important information and practical tips, as well as stories from people who have been helped through debt advice. Group activities and discussion give you the opportunity to reflect on the videos and apply what you have learnt. Click the button below to find out more and order the free resources.
More ways TO GET INVOLVED
National debt advice services
GET DEBT ADVICE
If you or someone you know is worried about debt, there are organisations that can help. The earlier you seek help the better, so don’t put it off until a crisis.
Follow the links above to access free, confidential advice online, by phone or face-to-face.
SET UP A DEBT ADVICE CENTRE
There are two main church based models of debt advice that are both worth exploring before you decide which, if any, is right for your church:
Some churches simply offer their building as a location for a debt advice drop-in run by the local Citizens Advice Bureau or other local agency. This could happen on the same day as a credit union collection point, food bank, community café or other community activity.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) provides your church with all the training and support you need to enable you to deliver a professional debt counselling tool that’s proven to help some of the most vulnerable people.
CAP does all the debt counselling centrally, allowing a local Centre Manager to focus on supporting clients spiritually and practically. Churches share in this cost and make a monthly donation.There are currently 270 CAP debt centres across the UK, and CAP would like to expand into towns that do not yet have this service.
Community Money Advice (CMA) has a network of over 140 affiliated debt advice centres. CMA provides support, materials and expertise to help establish and maintain a centre, including training to become a qualified debt adviser. Charges are kept to a minimum so that small as well as large groups can get involved in this work.
Read our story about St Andrew's, Clubmoor who set up a debt advice centre with CMA alongside a credit union access point, a money course and other services.