Archbishop welcomes training for churches to help people in debt

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has welcomed a new training resource designed to help local churches “play a vital role” in signposting people to free and professional debt advice services.

Guiding people to free debt advice: a debt awareness and signposting workshop is a two-hour video-based workshop developed by the Money Advice Trust in partnership with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings. It is available as a free online download or to order with a DVD.

The workshop is designed to help staff and volunteers in churches and church-linked community groups, identify and respond appropriately to someone who may be struggling financially. It also looks at the types of debt advice available, how these can be accessed, and how to help prepare someone for debt advice.
The workshop is not designed to train people as debt advisors or counsellors, but to enable them to act a link between people who are in debt and the free services that can help them. Of the nearly 9 million people in the UK who are struggling with debt, only 17 per cent are currently receiving advice to help deal with their situation.

Archbishop Justin said: “Helping people to get out of debt, and freeing them from the anxiety and exploitation that often goes with being in debt, is part of the Church's commitment to human flourishing.

“I welcome this new training resource to help local churches play a vital role in encouraging people to seek assistance earlier and to make use of the many free debt advice services that are available."   

The training resource was welcomed by the John Kirby, Founder and International Director of Christians Against Poverty, of which Archbishop Justin is Patron.
John Kirby said: “UK poverty can seem a giant of a problem but actually each of us has the ability to transform lives, without needing specialised qualifications. All that is needed is compassion and the information to signpost to the services out there which will do the complex financial work. 
This new resource provides some easy-to-follow information to help Christians feel confident in being that vital link in the chain.”

Notes to Editors
•         The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s initiative to create a fairer financial system focused on serving the whole community. It harnesses the national and grassroots resources of the Church of England to support the growth of credit unions, other community finance organisations, and local money advice services
•         The Task Group has launched the Church Credit Champions Network, with pilots in London and Liverpool, and is developing LifeSavers, a financial education programme for Church of England schools.
•         The Money Advice Trust helps people across the UK to tackle their debts and manage their money wisely: